|Milk crate, pannier, bottle basket|
I've found the crate is a good general purpose mode of transporting things. It's very secure, and can carry a lot--more than any of my other options, actually. In addition, I don't have to worry about leaving the crate on the bike, whereas I'd have to carry the other options with me wherever I went. The main disadvantage is that because of where it's positioned, putting too many heavy things changes the center of gravity of the bike. So, my primary use for it has been for running quick errands. I can throw a purse and a sweater in there and go to the market to pick up a couple of odds and ends. It gets a bag of vegetables or a box of pastries home very nicely.
I got this bag mainly so that I could carry my laptop and papers into work. I found that putting these things in my regular backpack in my crate made my bike more likely to "take off" (it's heavy high in the back, so the front wheels tend to lift off the ground a little). This bag is just big enough to hold my work things, and even gym clothes if I plan appropriately. It has a rubber bottom and a rain cover, to keep things dry in various conditions. An added handy feature is that the straps convert to back pack style. It's actually so compact, and I can hardly feel it on the bike even with my laptop and clothes in it--sometimes I look back just to see if it's still there!
Perhaps the least necessary of my cargo options, the ideal use for this basket is carrying tall, heavy things that I wouldn't feel comfortable transporting in my crate, e.g. cartons of milk or juice, other things that throw off my balance. I suppose I could carry some of these in my pannier, but this basket feels more secure: it has two arms that hook on to the rear rack, and I use a bungee as well since I travel some very bumpy roads. It's less fussy to get on and off, as there's no messing with clips and tucking away straps and flaps. It's also roomier than the pannier, which can't really take a full load of groceries. Of course, the real added value of this bottle basket is that I can hang it on one side of my rack while hanging my pannier on the other. So, if I wanted to load up on heavy and tall items as well as a regular load of groceries, I wouldn't be limited to choosing either my crate or my pannier.
One thing that might limit me is the 10kg max load on my rack; otherwise, I might attempt this:
|Something I'd never actually do|