Introduction: PVC and Milk Basket Bike Basket

Picture of PVC and Milk Basket Bike Basket

I needed a simple and cheap way to carry vegetables from our crop share this Summer. I really like my cruiser bike, but did not want to buy a basket. I made the following with some left over PVC and a milk basket I am borrowing.

Step 1: Get the Supplies

Picture of Get the Supplies

A basket, and some 3/4" PVC pipe & fittings. I needed about 6 feet of pipe, 4 "T" s, 4 "L"s, and 6 caps.

Step 2: Measure and Cut the PVC

Picture of Measure and Cut the PVC

The support for the basket is composed of a simple pair of mounts that screw to the existing hole in the frame by the axel. Most all bikes will have this hole pre drilled. On my bike the fender is attached to it. I obtained a couple of longer bolts from the HW store so that the 3/4" of the PVC could be connected. There are holes drilled through both sides of the pipe.

Cut the pipe so that there is not too much overlap such that the axel bolt gets in the way. Also, you'll need to measure the proper length of height, considering that you will be connecting a "T" to one end.

As you will see, the "T" allows an extended support to run towards the rear of the bike. The diameter of the "T" (and "L") just happens to be the right size to fit in the hole groove of the basket, but not through it. This is key. You'll see this in the next step.

Step 3: Fitting the Support

Picture of Fitting the Support

Note that the "T" and the extended "L" on each side fit inside the diamond shaped construct of the basket. Different baskets may be a challenge, but this worked great for me. One near the front and one at the rear allows good support of the basket. The other handy part is that a piece of 3/4" PVC will also fit through the "diamond" such that it can be locked in with a cap and a small piece of pipe.

Step 4: Connection to the Seat Post

Picture of Connection to the Seat Post

Additional support is obviously needed so that the basket does not rotate back behind the wheel. This is done by a simple construct that goes around the seat post. See in the photo - it's a simple boxe made out of 2 "T" s and 2 "L"s with small pieces of PVC in between them. It's not that important that it fit exactly or snug, as you'll see. Add two lengths of PVC to the rear facing outputs. These will be cut to the proper length as the basket is fitted.

Step 5: Final Fitting of the Basket

Picture of Final Fitting of the Basket

Caps and pipe are glued with pipe cement on the support side. The other connections are also glued of course.

The, you will need to measure the appropriate length for the PVC that is connected to the seat post. Cut it the right length and cap it with pipe cement.

This keeps the basket level.

Step 6: FInal Fit

Picture of FInal Fit

It should look like this. Adjust and swap out pipe size as needed.

Step 7: Some Pipe Insulation for Aesthetics Mostly

Picture of Some Pipe Insulation for Aesthetics Mostly

Done, now I can fetch veggies and other things.

Removal will be simple.

Unscrew screws and remove seat and lift off.

It's quite sturdy.


Databanks (author)2016-07-11

Hrm, good design and food for thought. A few very minor tweaks and my regular bike basket would fit nicely (the old mount had to come off - cheap steel and ocean winds do not mix well and it disintegrated). Thanks for the inspiration. Looks simple, sturdy and damn cheap - everything a broke bike rider looks for, right?

josuerojasf made it! (author)2015-04-05

Thanks for your instructable! I had to change your design because I couldn't get a milk basket, so I have to use a rack of a closet and hold it to the seat. Thanks again.

TnT101 (author)2012-02-08

you may wanna heat the PVC (heat gun/propane torch) and flatten, let cool, THEN drill hole to fasten to wheel (jes'sayin')

sjoobbani (author)2011-03-08

where does everyone get milk crates?

Yard Sale Dale (author)sjoobbani2011-12-17

You can get milk crates at a lot of places. Look on the sides of highways, in apartment trash dumpsters, and drive to a dairy trucking yard. They often have a bunch of them, dirty, old, maybe cracked or scraped up, that customers don't want to use. You can buy them or maybe they will give you one. Also look around where bums hang out a lot. They leave them everywhere.

wjp4140 (author)sjoobbani2011-05-11

outside of my corner store.... try late at nite

Tren509 (author)2011-11-05

Thanks, this looks good! But how sturdy do you think it is really? I plan to commute to and from school on it, which is about 6 miles; if I were to put about 8 - 12 pounds worth of text books in it, would I have to fear the basket falling apart mid ride?

rakejooney (author)Tren5092011-11-19

But i think if you go the DIY route its about as sturdy as you make it.. the PVC won't break until higher weights I dont think, more ti would be making sure the screws wont come loose(happened to me) or that you use a strong sealant

rakejooney (author)Tren5092011-11-19

if you are worried about that, consider purchasing a metal bike rack (~30$ for me) that has a high weight rating! I bought one that can do up to 35 lbs I think.. (I have a boombox that I strap onto it)

itobor2525 (author)2011-11-06

I don't like encouraging theft (alright 'borrowing') but these types of crates come in many shapes - square and rectangular- and can be bought cheaply from a local thrift store. If you have the means, buy them new from Staples, Office Depot or Office Max but please BUY THEM!!!!!

kz1 (author)2011-11-05

A borrowed milk crate, eh? Sounds like my kid when she told me, "it's not called cheating any more, Daddy; it's called team work." : >]

bluelego99 (author)2009-04-25

I'm always riding my bike to my Granny's down the street to get cooking stuff for my mom. This will be perfect!

kz1 (author)bluelego992011-11-05

Don't take that short cut through the woods! There's wolves out there. : >}

vov35 (author)2011-11-04

This would be awesome if I weren't a dairy clerk now who hates milk crates.

wawee (author)2011-10-11

does this bike rack happen to swerve? i buillt a similar model before you probably created this but mine was created out of wood and wiggled side to side when i put heavy weight but mine was built for heavy weight so i can put all my fishing equipment and groceries in it. that was probably the only problem i had with mine im just wondering because i could probably make one similar to this one but without any swerving any ideas?

bonedoggie (author)wawee2011-10-14

Only a little "swerving". I've filled it up with veggies and not had a problem.


josieisacoolcat (author)2011-03-04

This is also a great tutorial for college students with lots of stuff that wouldn't fit well in a bookbag

kironbutterfly (author)2010-10-04

Thank you sooooo much! I CAN DO THIS And my great grandkids won"t laugh at it

mastermakoko (author)2010-06-12

nice cruiser bike.....

gennyman (author)2009-07-28

Thanks for such a great idea. I adapted this for my son's bike, combined with another Instructable: Rack From Electrical Conduit. I found I could slide a PVC Tee fitting down over the seat post, and attached the rest of the rack to that. It was slightly rattly so I threaded a bolt through the side of the tee to snug against the post. Thanks again for a really eye opening idea!

bonedoggie (author)gennyman2009-07-28

Excellent! I'm glad I could help and am happy you could adapt it to your own need. Jon

theburn7 (author)2009-07-24

I used the same concept months ago for a "leprechaun catcher" for the elementary kids because of a program they have, and I got first pick from it because the other people only had drawings and models of the trap, but mine had dual milk baskets on the front, and a line to open and shut the doors on it. It was awesome.

crimson sausage (author)2009-07-15

That is such a sexy bike.


CMKJubilee (author)2009-07-08

Groovy bike, G! I wonder if Home Depot sells milk crates. Perhaps a purple one to match my bike? lol

nibbs_fosho (author)2009-05-01


SureShot (author)2009-04-03

Right on, this is cool and quick too! Ya know you could hit it with some Krylon plastic paint to make it look a bit nicer also. I'm going to mod this for the front of my bike:-) Thanks a bunch for a good instructable.

bryandhispup (author)SureShot2009-04-18

I would love to see that instructable, I have a rear rack and I am having trouble with a fron one, because of the whole turning handlebars thing...

silverhawk319 (author)2009-04-09

Just how much weight can you load in?I want something that i can carry my 10lb dog in.

bonedoggie (author)silverhawk3192009-04-13

Have not tested it, but it should hold 10lbs. I wouldn't carry a live animal in it though. Jon

Phil Dodd (author)2009-04-04

An excellent design. I've done something similar, but instead of attaching the pannier part to the saddle post, I've taken a bar from the front of the pannier down to the strut coming from the back-wheel centre to the seat post. Doing this means that I've been able to angle the pannier slightly further back, giving more room to sit well back on the saddle. Also remember that a triangle is the strongest shape that there is, so if you want to carry heavy items, it may be worthwhile putting an extra support from the wheel centre to the back of the pannier. You've pioneered the use of plastics for rear carriers though - mine's metal - you've ncouraged me to try plastic next time. Excuse my UK spellings ! Well done with your design and thanks ! Phil

bonedoggie (author)Phil Dodd2009-04-04

Thank you for the comments all. I considered the triangle, but was limited by the PVC available. Also, I don't plan on very heavy items at all. Having live in London a while, I didn't think twice about the spelling. Cheers!

SinAmos (author)2009-04-03

Simple and effective. Good work. Where does one find a bicycle?;)

Yerboogieman (author)SinAmos2009-04-04

Dumpster, party, behind dumpster, outside safeway (don't steal, ask and push down, well, maybe not that) ditches, behind big stores, that's where i found my red bike.

stephenniall (author)2009-04-03

WOOOOWW Thats a great idea and will work Great But im more intrested in your bike lol Its really nice It looks great (ur bike and ur cycle Rack)

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