This instructable shows you a surprisingly easy way to make a rear bicycle basket that expands in length to accommodate longer loads such as an exercise mat, baseball bat or, um, French baguettes.

The problem:
This was inspired by and created for my beautiful wife Jodie, who is a yoga teacher, and really enjoys riding her bike to the community center and to the yoga studio and area churches where she teaches.

She has an extra thick, extra large yoga mat. I would call it instructor-sized. t took along time for us to find a bag that it fit in. Also, she frequently has to carry CDs, handouts, text books, straps and more in this bag. I've slung it over my shoulder and it's pretty heavy and would cause excessive sweating were I to ride my bike around with it on my back.

Finally, on more than one occasion we realized she couldn't stop at the grocery on her way home to pick up an item or two as she didn't have a good way t carry the parcels.

The solution:
I resolved to find a bicycle basket that would expand to fit her mat, but retract when not hauling long cargo. Also, I needed it to be reasonably priced. But after extensive searching online and at area bicycle stores, I didn't find anything that satisfied me. Not even close.

So I decided to make my own.

Step 1: Things You Will Need...

There is a variety of things you will need for this project. Obviously, a bicycle, preferably one with a rear rack. If your bike doesn't have a rear rack, you will have to install one.

Do not use the seat-post only rear rack. Instead, use one with supports that attach near the reear wheel hub. These tend to run between $20 and $40 at bike shops, although when online bike suppliers like Bike Nashbar start clearing out their inventory at the end of each season, you can find then for $10-$15. I paid $12 for Jodie's.

You will also need a sliding under-cabinet wire basket. I used one by elfa that I bought at The Container Store - a two runner easy glider that was 12-7/8" x 16-7/8" x 8-1/2" h.

Finally, you will need a drill with bits for drilling metal, zip ties, wire cutters, two wire-lock pins and four small bungee cords (4").
I did something similar to add a milk crate to the back of my bike and I have an important warning. I had about 4 pounds worth of stuff in the crate and that was enough to throw off the equilibrium off the bike. I fell twice, the last one, injuring my knee and almost getting run over in the process. I have been riding for about 30 years and am an avid mountain biker. I think that it is safer to either wear a small back pack or saddle bags where the weight is further down in the center of gravity. Be very careful. Good instructable though, thanks for offering it.
to help keep smaller items in the basket, when you're not carrying the yoga mat, you could keep the cut-out end, trim off the "poking-out" bits, and re-attach the bottom with zip-ties... fold it down and in so it lies flat when you want to carry the yoga mat, and flip it up and secure with bungees (weaving in and out) or something else, when you want to carry groceries, etc.
I love it! Been looking for a rear basket and can't find anything that's not made of wire that's close to the flexibility of string, or not uber-expensive. Will implement this asap!
This excellent idea will be very useful to me. Much appreciated. Vic
awesome rack :)
Well done. I never thought of the wire cart business. That was very innovative and to the point. Trailers are bulky and take away from the quick parking advantage of cycling. I use to live in a bike city, and had the option of carrying the premier chain lock or the premier U-Lock. Both cost nearly $100, and the chain was more flexible solution. But it was a pain to carry. And it seem to take forever to lock to something. I used the U-Lock, which was no slouch in both weight and protective factor. It was very quick to lock the bike. The point of that diatribe is that convenience is one of the best parts of biking. I love trailers, but finding a place to park a bike attached with one is problematic at times. Your solution is efficient and elegant.
Fantastic! I agree with rocknroll, please take on the project of a trailer. I would like to see what you would come up with. They are way too expensive to start with. I have found a kit to start with, but I can't decide where to take it from there.<br/><br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.wicycle.com/trailer.htm">http://www.wicycle.com/trailer.htm</a><br/><br/>Good luck and great build.<br/>
one more idea for even more stuff! make a trailer for her! i have two designs on here and they are awsome, but your basket i like more than my rack on my bike and its cool how it expands. but is there a way to do it without buying a brand new rack for scrap?

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More by peterwbrown:The Expanding Yoga-Mat Compatible Bicycle Basket The Wind-up Headboard Reading Light 
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