Introduction: Make a Rear Bike Rack From Scavenged Kitchen Materials

About: I feel like Instructables tapped a vein of creativity I never knew I had. Both of my grandfathers were great tinkerers and makers of all kinds of stuff, and I wish they were around to see the things Instructa…

I've been wanting a cargo rack for my bike for awhile, but didn't have the cash to buy a manufactured one.  Then my eye fell upon the beautiful pot rack I made a couple of years ago, and it occurred to me that some of that wire shelving might be just the thing I needed.  There was some trial and error, but in the end, I put together a functional rack.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

My primary motivator here was "cheap".  This cost me a grand total of $1.75 because I had to buy a bag of cable ties.  Everything else I had in storage.  Obviously, if you don't have what I have, you'd have to buy it.

1 Bicycle (mine is a GT Vantara I got from a Craigslist seller recently)
1 Wire Basket
2 Steel Shelf Supports
Cable Ties
Non-Stranded Wire

Slip-joint pliers
Needle-nose pliers
Wire cutters
Allen wrench (4mm in my case)
Flashlight ('cause I did this at night)

Step 2: Prepare and Dry-fit Uprights

The shelf supports were designed to be screwed into a wall.  I needed to bend the tab at the end until it was parallel with the rest of the support.  I did this by wedging it into the space between two decking boards.  Voila!

There are two rack-mount points on the frame.  They have Allen bolts in them.  I don't need those, because I'll be using cable ties at the top.  However, I'll be screwing the supports into the lower mount points by the hub, so I'm moving the screws.  They were a bit rusty, but I'd had the foresight to add a drop of 3-in-1 oil to each one the night before.

I wasn't sure if the mount points were the same thread, so I checked it cautiously.  Then I attached each support with a washer on the screw.  Didn't tighten everything up, because I needed to check for fit.

Step 3: Rethink, Then Assemble Basket

Originally, I had the supports attached to two pieces of shelving, and planned to have them go up inside the basket and hold everything together with cable ties.  This would add strength and the shelves would act as fenders if I have panniers on the bike.  Unfortunately, the angle wouldn't work right.  I ended up reversing the supports and attaching them directly to the basket.  It shouldn't be difficult to add the fenders later if I find I need them.

These supports have plastic clips that attach directly to the wire of the basket, but I'll use cable ties to reinforce them.

Step 4: Secure to Frame

During the dry fit, I used some wire to briefly hold the basket in place.  Could have used a cable tie, but why waste one?  The wire is reusable.

Once I had everything where I wanted it, I secured it to the frame with the cable ties.  The ones I used were 8", so I had to double them.  On the top, I put one around the seatpost and attached two more to it, pulling in from the sides.

On the bottom of the basket, I secured it to the crosspiece where the rack mount points are.  On each side I used two cable ties connected chain-fashion.  To get the cable ties really tight, I pulled on the end with the needle-nose pliers while pushing on the clicky part (what the heck do you call that thing, anyway?) with the slip-joints.

Finally, I snugged up the screws on the bottom.  Because they were originally in the long mount points above, the screws are longer than they need to be.  It was important to make sure the one on the gear side didn't interfere with the gears or chain.  If it had, I would have needed to add more washers, cut down the screw, or *gasp* buy a shorter one!

Step 5: Test

This is an as-yet-untested design.  My front tire has been damaged, so I can't take the bike for a spin with the rack on it.

I expect it will hold fairly well, especially if I'm careful distributing the load.  I'm planning to keep cable ties in my ride bag for replacements.  When I'm flush with cash, I may spring for some perforated metal strip to make the upper mounts more secure.  I also want to move the rear reflector, which is currently under the basket.  Suboptimal.

If anyone has other suggestions, please let me know.  This was a fun build that took me less than an hour.  If you have similar parts and a similar need, give it a try!