Saturday, May 22, 2010

Purchasing Power

The economy is terrible, but my purchasing power has just undergone a significant increase. How, you ask? Ah, keep reading!

Yes: a set of Wald folding baskets - filled with enormous grocery bags, the contents of which I could never have fit into my previous set-up. We passed a bike shop today that happened to have the black Walds in stock, and I ended up buying them. Now that I no longer have the front basket on my Pashley, I needed something ASAP - at least to tide me over until I can get panniers.

Well, the Wald baskets did not disappoint! You can't quite tell from these pictures, but the grocery bags are very full, with the level of the contents extending far beyond the brims of the baskets. Technically, it is possible to haul more than twice the volume of each basket. We tied the handles of the bags together on top, so that the contents wouldn't bounce, and had no problems at all.

The bicycle remained just as stable with the grocery bags inside the baskets as without.

Just as easy to maneuver, too.

As we were about to head home from the grocery store, we ran into Biking in Heels. Talk about a sense of community! We compared notes about panniers and tires, as I eyed her rear rack with longing (I've been looking for a suitable rack for my vintage Raleigh DL-1 with no success).

I was a bit nervous about what it would feel like to cycle with so much weight in the rear of the bike, but once we took to the streets it was effortless. Mind you, I am cranky and picky when it comes to carrying stuff on my bike - so when I say "effortless", you can take me literally. When I carried groceries in a front wicker basket, I had to lower the gearing on this bike in order to cycle comfortably. With these baskets I happily remained in the same gearing as without the groceries.

These passers-by are clearly envious of my amazing baskets and of the abundance of groceries I was transporting.

Can't say I blame them - this is great!

35 comments:

  1. Hooray! I'm so glad you found them! I was actually about to let you know I'd spied a large pile of the baskets over at Quad Bikes (where I impulsively bought a 30% Batavus Fryslan- squeee!); but you beat me to it.

    And the Pashley is looking so sleek and sporty without the front basket!

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  2. And hello-- Eustacia's tires have gone blonde?! I knew something else was different! So chic!

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  3. The baskets are great for grocery getting. I've had a pair on an old schwinn beater for a while now, and I find them easy to balance with even the largest of loads. It just seems easier than a front mounted basket that is full. Having the weight on the back, closer to the center of gravity, is much more easy to control than having it in the front affecting your steering. They also just seem to have a more "continental" look about them. At least in my opinion.

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  4. Wald baskets are amazing values. Way underrated for their construction. They could probably charge 2x what they do, and people would still pay it.

    I love Nitto rando, Cetma, and Paul porteur-style racks, but very little is ever said for the nobility of the Wald. Of course they're heavier than a feather, but they're remarkably well constructed, and very fairly priced.

    Three cheers for supporting inexpensive, durable bicycle accessories that cost less than an arm and a leg.

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  5. When I was setting up my old Bridgestone xo-2 for commuting I put a $20 craigslist set of Wald folding baskets on her until I could choose a set of nice panniers. That was two years ago and those folders are still on her. I absolutely love them! She's also my grocery getter and those baskets are awesome. I do one car trip to the store per month, all other weeks are done on the bike with those baskets, for a family of four.
    Those are the folders, in my icon.
    I've been very impressed with Wald accessories overall. I have a front basket on one of my mixtes and a back rack on another mixte. I especially like their racks. They are very simple and classic looking and you can't beat the price!

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  6. I just read your other post regarding panniers and see that you'll be carrying your laptop. While I can't blame my Walds directly, my laptop did get a crack in its case about three months into using them. It may have been from the lack of padding in the baskets, maybe not, but I now keep a piece of foam rubber in the bottom of one basket and my computer has been fine since. It also serves a nice padding for wine, beer and eggs. :-)

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  7. M&G - Do you mean to say that you kept your laptop directly in the basket?... My laptop is in a padded compartment inside a stiff leather handbag, which I then place in the basket. There is lots of padding. Plus my laptop has a solid state drive rather than a hard drive, so vibrations and shaking are much less of an issue.

    margonaute - Yes, she went blonde : ) More on this in the next post.

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  8. Turns out if you bleach Marathon Plus tyres they turn blonde. Well, first red, but, eventually, blonde.

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  9. It is interesting how great carrying a load on the rear (esp on a long bike like the pashley) is, as opposed to the high swinging weight in a basket or front bag. Barely noticable. Although I have a low trail porteur bike that I love (and am in the midst of organizing another one) carrying more than 10 lbs definetly is better at the back down low in panniers. Weight as close to the axle as possible.

    That said re front loading, low rider panniers are great in the front too, IF you have a low trail bike; the difference is very noticeable, once you get back on a "regular" trail bike, though it's a very subtle thing; it's akin to using a great tool vs just an adequate one, once you use the great thinbladed super sharp knife, it's hard to go back to the wedge shaped stainless steel blade. Also, the convenience of stuff in a basket or handlebar bag is very nice.

    And re that handlebar bag, it's important to fasten it to the front of its support rack, none of them have the provision for doing so (ie the fancy Berthoud or VO or Ostrich ones); I've been using a document clip and grabbing the bottom of the canvas bag and the bottom of the rack; but fastened the clip to the rack with a loose zip tie, all of which cannot be seen under the bag (no zip tie = potential of metal clip into spokes).

    But for heavy loading, rear panniers cannot be beat; they do not have to as evenly balanced as panniers on the front (though it's nice when they are). And you can lash a bunch of stuff across the tops of them as well.

    I find I leave my panniers on all the time, sometimes strapped flat against the sides, as one never knows when stuff needs to be picked up.

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  10. Great baskets. I've seen them on some bikes myself, but whenever I went to a shop they didn't them. Probably a good time to order some on internet...

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  11. Velouria - So, do blonde bicycles have more fun?


    MDI - Over time, with touch-ups at the roots, they'll start to get frizzy. Just don't let her go swimming in chlorinated water. They'll turn green! :

    :)

    I have been thinking about getting a set of the Wald baskets for about a year now. I've been back and forth between those and panniers, milk crate, saddle bags (equine, not motorcycle) and making my own (which I may still try, just to satisfy the curiosity). The one thing that's been holding me back from any of these was worry about how the bicycle would handle when full. So I'm glad to hear that you haven't had any problems getting around with the Walds! Now I just need to get brave enough to cross the 4 lanes of traffic to get to my grocery store.

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  12. Veloria - I carried my laptop in an only slightly padded laptop bag which was really more geared towards style than actually protecting the machine. Doh! I now carry it in a better bag in addition to the foam in my basket.
    Sounds like yours will be just fine.

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  13. I used to have those baskets on an old bike of mine. I found them to be far too heavy and add too much weight to my bike. They were terrible when I needed to lift my bike up and down stairs to take the subway and whatnot. They do hold a lot but there are wonderful panniers out there that will hold more, and more securely too. Unfortunately they will happen to be like 6 times the price of those baskets.

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  14. I suspect those passers by were instead enchanted by the smell of those stinky french cheeses you were bringing home, but I didn't see any baguettes sticking up out of either bag. ;-)

    Seriously, if I didn't have Frankenbike, I'd be regretting taking the rack and fenders off of my commute bike for the summer! I shall look into Wald baskets further...

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  15. For your DL-1, you should give North Road Bicycle Importers a call, their website is terrible, but last time I called, they did have rear racks for Roadsters.

    http://www.northroadbicycle.com/index.php

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  16. Nice to hear the inexpensive solution is an elegant one for you. How do the racks feel and sound when folded? Are you still finding that acceleration seems better when fully laden, versus your experience with the front basket?

    I noticed Eustacia's new shoes immediately.
    I have a set coming for the Roadster here too,
    (still waiting to learn his name) and am looking forward to the change. They seem a little cushier than the stock (now 30-year-old) Raleigh tires. Plus, they visually set off a dark bike like nothing else.

    Corey K

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  17. congratulations to the baskets!
    now your pashley looks like jaqueline, or is it other way round?
    they are really useful and look good

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  18. PS (and this really doesn't need to get posted)(it would actually be a little embarrassing if it did) (although I do really want to share!) The new Bat has inspired me to make a little blog of my own! Check it out if you get a chance:
    http://zomgbicycles.blogspot.com/

    I'm just so excited by my new lady!

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  19. A possible alternative to folding walds are folding grocery panniers made of black mesh with stiffeners; they fold flat as well, with snaps to keep them flat. Much lighter than the Walds, though around $30 each, so 60 for a full set. You can take them into the store with you and load your groceries right into them. Attach a cargo net and you can load them over the top. I leave one on my bike folded flat, and on the other side I have a "regular" pannier of about the same capacity. Usually a grocery run will fill them both.

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  20. Hoefi - Yes, as soon as I tried these on Jacqueline, I was amazed at how useful of a system it is. The baskets I got are identical to yours - which surprised me, because I did not think Wald is sold in Austria.

    rural 14 - The thing is, that I need a system for carrying not only groceries, but also (mainly, actually) photo bags and my workbag with laptop. The Wald baskets secure in a way that makes me comfortable cycling with these things inside them, but no removable/click-on/etc single pannier system I have seen so far seems to provide the same degree of (bolt-on) security. Removability is not very important to me, but I need to feel confident and relaxed that the attachment points are sufficient for my needs.

    Re the comments that the Walds are heavy: Yes, they are. I would say perhaps 3.5-4lb for the pair. But the wicker basket + Carradice bag + wheeel lock (which I have removed) + Marathon Plus tires (which I have since replaced) that I used to have on this bag were even heavier - so overall my bike is now lighter.

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  21. Corey - I have seen the racks with the drop-down kickstands fitted on DL-1s, and for whatever reason, they are not an exact match: When attached, there is a slight but noticeable downward lean to the rack. If at all possible, I'd like to try and find a "native" rack. I do have a couple of leads now (thanks people!), so fingers crossed that it might work out!

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  22. I use reusable grocery bags that fit the Wald Folding baskets. The bags we have came from Reusable Bags

    Aaron

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  23. Aaron - Thanks! I was wondering where I could get tall reusable bags for these!

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  24. love the last picture! Weeeee!!!!

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  25. I like these folding baskets. They have a huge load capacity when needed and can be "hidden" when not in use. They are also cheap and permanently attached, therefore theft is not a worry (as it would be with some panniers). I had one in my bicycle that I used for grocery shopping, and lately to my daily 30 km round trip commute to college, with a load of about 10 kgs. It over lasted my bike, as its aluminum frame cracked by the top of the seat tube due to several factors including an incorrectly hooked up rear rack (connected to the seat tube), bumpy pavements and the need to use an oversized seat post because of my height.
    Inspired by this blog, I ended up buying a Pashley Roadster Sovereign with a rear basket on top of the rear rack. I will eventually go back to this solution as the basket looks a little bulky.

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  26. Wow!!! The Walds look really great on Eustacia...I had been getting recommends on getting the Wald folding baskets but I never really thought they were too "styling" until I saw them on the Pashley. Colour me impressed!! I think I'll be tweaking my Pashley quite a bit when I finally get her in the near future ::fingers crossed::

    Fiona

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  27. Thanks for reviewing these! I was planning to get them for my commuter bike so I can carry groceries and my dudes' gear, like jackets, swimming suits and towels, etc. I just have make sure the Trail-a-Bike can clear them.

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  28. i'm thinking of getting a set of these for my Princess as well, but am wondering - did you have to remove the wheel lock in order to accommodate the new folding baskets or was that an unrelated decision?

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  29. I use rear bags on my Pashley (I opted for a couple of Basil shopping bags rather than panniers and they take quite a bit of weight) and know just how smooth and easy it is to cycle with a load over the rear wheel. Unless you're going up a hill you don't even know your shopping is there. I was grinning when I read your post- welcome to my world :-). The Pashleys are so steady with a rear load and more manoveurable than with a front basket full.

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  30. genevieve - No, I removed the wheel lock because I found it useless over the past year and it is quite heavy. But good question re the clearance; I will investigate.

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  31. genevieve-- No, the wheel lock would not interfere with the baskets. We removed it some time ago for other reasons. See this picture for an example of clearance, the Axa lock goes where the hole is (behind the seat stay). The basket is further to the right on the rack.

    The Princess has a nice rack, to be sure. :)

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  32. thanks for answering my question, Velouria & MDI. i didn't think it would be an issue, but couldn't tell for sure from the pictures in this post.

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  33. "When attached, there is a slight but noticeable downward lean to the rack"

    For my DL-1, I decided not to go with the Pashley type rack for other reasons (cost partly, and I didn't want the fold down stand either). I went instead for a very inexpensive flying pigeon rack, which also has a bit of a downward slope, which you may be able to see in the photo here:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/7811784@N02/4610634406/
    It may not slope as much if attached at the axle, but I did not want to try to put it there. The pigeon rack works well for me, and I like the mouse trap it has, it holds my mini U lock perfectly secure. Incidentally, these racks tilt even more on their native steeds as well:
    http://www.joe-bike.com/bikes/city-bikes/flyingpigeon/

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