Thursday, February 28, 2013

Romantic Bike Basket Contents

Peterboro Basket
Riding home from the grocery store today, I enjoyed a fine view of some leeks and potatoes in my basket. Looking down on them as I pedaled, I had one of those experiences where shopping by bike felt like an exciting and novel outing, even though I've been doing it on a regular basis for years now. The idea of carrying leeks and potatoes home on my bike, then cooking them, suddenly struck me as both romantic and funny. My mood lifted, I flashed a silly grin at cars and pedestrians as I passed them. 

Later this got me thinking about how often basket and pannier contents are used to illustrate the appealing nature of cycling. The bouquet of flowers. The French baguette. The fluffy bunch of leafy vegetables. I suppose these things make people think about picnics and outdoor farmer markets. But even beyond that, there is something about the sight of fresh food or flowers sticking out of a bike bag that makes errands seem like fun. I've even had comments about that from strangers on my way home from buying groceries "Oooh, vegetables in your basket - That looks like fun!" Loading said vegetables into the trunk of a car wouldn't have the same effect.

One thing I'd like to carry in a bicycle basket some day is mushrooms. My romantic fantasy is to ride to the forest, then walk my bike down a path strewn with pine needles, picking mushrooms (chanterelles and morels, with which the forest will of course be filled) and placing them directly in the basket. Cycling back, I'll be able to smell their earthy fragrance all the way home, before washing and tossing them on the frying pan with some sautéed onions...

Which reminds me that those potatoes and leeks won't cook themselves, so I better get to it. What's your idea of romantic bike basket contents?

57 comments:

  1. As a guy, "romantic" only means one thing, so the basket has to be big enough to carry my sweetheart.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Do chanterelles and morels grow in your neck of the woods?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If they do, she probably won't tell you exactly where...

      First rule about mushroom club is no one talks about mushroom club.

      Herself delivers warm scratch-made pies and beautiful custom quilts in the bedraggled wicker basket on the back of her loop-frame Raleigh.

      Delete
    2. No, I don't think so (honest!) : )

      Delete
    3. AH, to return home exhausted and battered from mushroom club to fresh PIE...

      Delete
  3. indeed! i shop every day on my bike and have for years. this shows the joy.

    http://vimeo.com/43167590

    ReplyDelete
  4. OK, it's not romantic, but I have been wanting to bungee cord a pizza to my bike rack and ride home with it. That just seems like it would be exciting-fun!

    ReplyDelete
  5. A picnic lunch when I'm going to meet my husband! On the other side, when you are biking home with 20+ pounds of peaches to can and towing a preschooler in the trailer, the romantic aspect is COMPLETELY worn off.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Picnic lunch and bottle of wine to share with my sweetie.

    ReplyDelete
  7. You have to know which mushrooms are edible and which are poisonous - or the romance might not last... One hint my parents taught me is to be wary of thin and pretty mushrooms that call attention to themselves; homely mushrooms in a cluster are more likely to be good:-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I feel comfortable picking mushrooms in Northern, Eastern and Central Europe, but not in the US. The mushrooms here seem trickier to tell apart, with lots of ambiguous hybrids.

      Delete
    2. My parents are Russian, so they learned in Eastern Europe...Russians love mushrooms (with sour cream!) Russians can also be found selling mushrooms at $100.00 an ounce to foodies at the Farmer Markets...

      Delete
    3. Reminds me of when my family went to the Czech Republic with my in-laws (my FIL is Czech and wanted to visit his family). We went 'shrooming with his best friend, Zbiniak, and his wife whose name I can't remember. Essentially my kids and I spent an hour wandering around the local woods and saw absolutely no signs of any wildlife. Turns out that Archduke Franz Ferdinand (the same guy whose assasination started world war I) had several hunting lodges (read castles) in the Czech Republic and was the most prolific hunter/animal killer in the world bar none. We deduced that he must have killed almost every animal in the Czech Republic and whatever rodents were left after his assassination were eaten during the communist occupation. Anyway, what we did see were very many trees and very few mushrooms. Further, I was given no hint as to what an acceptable mushroom looked like. Every time I picked one up it resulted in disdainful glares from Zbiniak and wife along with "neh, neh, neh, no gude". They, however, found several that met their stringent requirements, one of which was apparently that it could look nothing like a mushroom, and we ate them for dinner later that night.

      Delete
    4. V - Indeed. Shrooming in the U.S. is far more risky than in Europe.

      Our fungi can be pretty inhospitable to say the least.

      Delete
    5. "spent an hour wandering around the local woods and saw absolutely no signs of any wildlife..."

      A few years ago we visited a nature reserve in Northern Maine. It was supposed to be full of moose and other interesting animals, but we didn't even see a single squirrel or bird. It was the strangest thing. That Franz Ferdinand sure got around!

      Delete
    6. Here in Australia quite a few Chinese visitors have died from mistaking death caps for Chinese straw mushrooms, in the wrong location the seemingly familiar may be deadly.

      Delete
  8. I had a similar moment but it was my brushes and other tools when I was a freelance house painter in San Francisco.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Maybe not quite romantic, but I'm building up an old Sears Tote for this Grocery-Getter challenge:
    http://undergroundvelo.proboards.com/thread/2240/work

    ReplyDelete
  10. Onions with shrooms? Garlic for me pleeze.

    A dog
    Burritos
    Stuffed pizza - special pizza rack
    Booze
    No flowers
    Had a flower box on it for awhile
    Always vegetables
    Bake my own bread now, so no more Jacques Tati biz
    Filigreed (ha!) wire
    Wood

    In Cali we have farmers' markets year round, so the sight of romantical chicas and hombres smiling ear to ear with the state's effulgent bounty is everywhere.

    Riding through a Chinatown outdoor mall during New Year is pretty exotic too. No monoculture here, no sir.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thermos full of hot cider, warm gingerbread, picnic blanket and book of poetry. Of course, my romantic cycling fantasy world is perpetually autumn.

    ReplyDelete
  12. A Beagle in a basket! Well, maybe a trailer. With picnic goods in the basket.

    ReplyDelete
  13. A dozen Brown eggs from the skeptical hens at the egg ladies house down the road. At their aesthetic best wrapped in stripey red dishtowels in a rusty 3 quart bucket toe-strapped to the bars. Take em' home and gently bake with sauteed ham and onions and the buttermilk from the Co-op that turns to sour-cream before the bottle gets empty.

    Blackberries dropping by the small hand-full into the same 50 year old bucket. Standing in the ditch on a hot July Tuesday morning on a day stolen from work, stretching to get the best ones way up the side of the bank where only the birds bother to go. Daydreaming about Tess Derbyfield wandering barefoot down the road but knowing it's just going to be the mailcarrier in her hotrod Cherokee with the steering wheel on the wrong side.

    Riding like mad with a half gallon of perfect berries, trying to beat a thunderstorm back to the house where the last of the ice cream you made on Sunday is waiting in the freezer.

    Yeah, I know what you mean... sometimes the bike helps make the difference between food and fuel.

    Spindizzy

    ReplyDelete
  14. My best memories of bikes and baskets are less romantic and more pragmatic. Making it to and from with stuff you never thought it possible to haul, yet did it....Any wonder I'm alone :) Fresh, aromatic, and visually lovely items to share with a loved one, transported via bicycle...sweet.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Great post, you really put your finger on it. There's something really romantic and satisfying about seeing your purchases tucked into a bike basket. My favorite bike basket contents are flowers, farmer's market produce, and books.

    This very fascination with the contents of bike baskets is what prompted me to start the Bike Basket Flickr group a while back. I still love peaking into other people's bike baskets. :)

    S.

    ReplyDelete
  16. There is nothing more pleasant to me in the world than going on a bicycle outing and finding mushrooms on the way. Biking is the right pace for foraging. I live in Maine, so it is a good place for it.

    My cousin, on the other hand, picks up road kill on his bike adventures...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "My cousin, on the other hand, picks up road kill on his bike adventures... " I know a fellow doing that. He uses some of the RK for his fly-tying. Does your cousin tie flies? ;)
      Yes, I'm from Maine as well ;)

      Delete
  17. That's it, I'm going to pick up my next Chow Locally box of colorful produce and photo blog it. Peacock Kale will look soooo pretty in my basket. With a boombox playing Carina Round.

    ReplyDelete
  18. 21.X lb home today 6.3 miles from our local, discount Wild Oats copycat. 1 bottle cheap fizz, 1 bottle cheap red, 1 bottle Gordon's, 3 lg onion, 1 large bunch cilantro, 1 pkg fresh mint, 1 4.X lb container FULL DAMMIT FAT yogurt, 1 oz yellow mustard seed, 4X packages blackberries, 2 lb sliced and diced chicken thighs, 2 lg cucumbers, 1.25 lb each green and red lentils, tom paste, garlic, ginger root, 4 lemons -- mosta this to make Lemon Curried Chicken and Kheere Ka Raita (Madhur Jaffrey's recipes -- highly recommended) for dinner; tomorrow, dahl with the leftover yogurt and raita. All in a Rivendell Sackville Medium, but overflowing so that I had to lash extra plastic bags together to hold the overflow. My daughter (11 1/2 and vocal) ate it readily enough but did not ask for seconds. She did enjoy blackberries avec sucre et lait.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I'm all about picking mushrooms, but here in the Pacific Northwest you'd be hard-pressed to find Morels and Chanterelles in your basket at the same time. We find Chanterelles in the Fall and Morels in the Spring.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Same in the upper Midwest.

      Wild foraging by bike. Hmmm. Until this post, spring fever was staying inconspicuously in the background.

      Delete
  20. It is sweet how cute people think carrying produce on a bike is so fun and adorable. haven't got a basket but should get one for one of my bikes. It's either saddle bag, panniers or the not recommended bags tied to handlebars of late. I'm not even that much of a foodie, but I just love biking to farm stands and seeing how much I can carry on my bike at any given moment. This time of year the farm stands have only eggs and greens, but fully supported them spring/summer/fall into winter this past year. I prefer going to the stands instead of the farmers market because the same produce gets driven using gas etc, when I can pick it up fresh from the source. But this time of year I might be missing out on hidden goodies at the market. I always think flowers are pretty, my favourite was a 20lb fairy tale pumpkin! I have carried the daintiest fresh raspberries, strawberries, local chanterelles...wish I knew where a cow was and would carry home milk!
    I'd like to carry kittens in a basket which could be a disaster and would not attempt to take my cats for a ride,, but have carried animals to the wild life rescue by bike(that said cats sometimes have injured).
    There are chanterelles, morels and more where I live and could totally imagine picking mushrooms, covered with pine needles and carrying the earthy scent home.
    But, if you bike for transportation, of course you are carrying groceries on your bike-almost daily! It's nice that non cyclists think it is cute, but I'd rather see them on their bike too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "I'd like to carry kittens in a basket which could be a disaster and would not attempt to take my cats for a ride..."

      Ah yes...

      Delete
  21. For my technologists at the hospital - I carried two large boxes of about 48 donuts - almost perishing in the haze of a cloud of sugar and traffic. The donuts didn't balance too well.

    For my kids, ice cream.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I read recently on a forum about a guy who was taking Valentines day roses to his wife, carrying them in his messenger bag with the flowers sticking out the side, said that it was the most pleasant commute he'd ever done, cars gave him plenty of space and everyone was friendly to him, unlike his usual hostile encounters. Me, I get that romantic feeling you talk of when I carry a load of potted flowers home in my basket after visiting the plant nursery.

    ReplyDelete
  23. My idea of romantic bike baskets contents? A bottle of wine with cheese, crackers, and table cloth.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Somewhat envious of the posters here who manage to get their dogs into bike baskets.

    I shared 19 years of life with a very bright but cantankerous dachshund.

    The little dude did not like being left alone on weekends but had very strong opinions about modes of travel. I tried my darndest to get him on the bike with me. No matter how I cajoled he would do whatever possible to escape.

    While I like to think his time here on Earth was happy, when I see people riding with their dogs happily perched in a basket I can't help but wonder why he refused to give it a whirl.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pinging GR Jim....

      I never got my Dachshund on a bike. If I had gotten him when he was younger, I might have tried.

      Check out Burt on the xtracycle- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1ekCW2JUWo

      He's a little smaller than our guy was, but still easily 30 lbs.


      Delete
    2. Ah Burt.

      It's all about getting him in young...or out-stubborning a stubborn head.

      Delete
    3. Corey wonderfully romantic videos in the link.

      Dachshunds can be as stubborn a critter one can ever find. When they make up their mind to do something, they do it with such unique aplomb.

      Delete
    4. Oh. And I have to agree that a long tail is the perfect ride for a dachshund.

      Delete
    5. ... which you will never do with a terrier. :-)

      Delete
  25. Delivering my wife's fresh blueberry muffins to the local cafe, enjoying the wafting smells of still warm goodness on a cold morning.

    And trying to bike v e r y gently so as not to damage such precious cargo.

    ReplyDelete
  26. A child in a seat on the back, a portacrib on the handlebars, our overnight articles in a Boy Scout canvas pack on my back, my wife on her bike with our 8 week-old son in a backpack carrier and a ferry to Martha's Vineyard. It was quite some time ago but I fondly remember every detail.

    I ride the same bike now but, alas, the child seat is long gone. The frame has been retained and modified with a shelf for commuting panniers and farm share pickups.

    ReplyDelete
  27. What a bunch of poetic romantics we have here! I knew that bicycles bring the best out in people.

    I especially liked that Sweetpea film... hopefully the flowers won out. I thought that flowers always won out in any kerfuffle - the flower cure-all.

    Since I'm an old married guy and my spouse doesn't ride I guess my dream basket is what I carry every day. Every day I hop on my trusty blue vintage Fuji with a side basket and head out for the Burke Gilman trail in Seattle. I carry along a satchel with a home-made muffin (that I baked) and a banana and a teabag of lemon tea.

    Then I through the woods and up to dramatic large fountain that overlooks Mt. Rainier, where I sit to contemplate the dreaming spires of faux Elizabethan architecture and ponder life's mysteries. Then I drop by a cafeteria where I read, sketch, write and enjoy the quiet - knowing no phone will ring - no upsetting teenager will intrude and for a while I escape the padded cell of my home office.

    We cherish our bicycles to escape.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like your life.....It's so true, riding a bike and pausing now and again brings meaning and perspective. Kudos!

      Delete
  28. Colorful things that make my honey happy! In the most recent instance it was a couple of bunches of gerber daisies and a purple-and-cream box of local chocolate truffles.

    ReplyDelete
  29. If I had a basket, how about a skull and roses.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Biking down to the neighborhood beach by the bay, and filling my basket with beautiful striated rocks and seaglass.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Spending some time with some friends in France, their cat took to me, as he seemed to be not getting much attention from them. When I commented on how sweet he was they explained he was pusseo non grata as he had used about 400 euros worth of mushrooms they had collected as kitty litter.

    ReplyDelete
  32. My mandolin! I liked the image so much I even used it on an album cover.

    http://baroqueandhungry.bandcamp.com/album/live-at-mannions

    ReplyDelete
  33. Using bike for running errands has always been my dream! Fixing that nice looking basket would be so much fun. Unfortunately I live in a city which is not so bike friendly. I would love to carry a Baugette and my fantasy to carry a cute Labrador puppy in that basket. I don't know how ill manage once the puppy grows up ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  34. I don't have a basket at the front, but I have a milk crate at the back which I'll sometimes use to carry home groceries, or gardening supplies to my garden plot.It doesn't look as romantic! Anyway, I know a place where lilac bushes grow. I would like to go there in the spring to break off some pieces, put them in the basket and let the smell waft over me as I ride home, all the while thinking of which room to put them in. Maybe I could stop and buy a bumbleberry pie, too. And stop at the video store to rent a movie.

    The other day I saw a man balancing a case of beer between his bike handles which I thought was great!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Flowers in a basket is the most romantic look. I also like to see little dogs. :)

    ReplyDelete
  36. I'm clueless when it comes to romance! I've never been good at it. But I guess if I were to carry something in my basket to make other people smile, or make carrying something in a basket look fun, it would be something along the lines of a blanket and knitting project (haven't been able to figure out a good way to carry the spinning wheel. Yet.) or this.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Arf! I recently tried to persuade my very lovable but high-strung Chihuahua, Nico, to accept the fate of carriage in a Timbuk2 doggy carrier backpack (my wish being to carry him on a bike with this bag). No go. Even though I tried to ease him into familiarity by tossing into the bag various savoury morsels (he would whine, approach the bag fro every angle, and finally build up enough courage to dart in and grab them), and left it under his blanket in his basket for two or three weeks, it was definitely panic time for him when, basically with brute force, I crammed him into the thing, attached the leash to his collar, slammed the lid down, and Fastek'd it shut. I am glad TB2 have a 30 day return policy.

    ReplyDelete