Easy Removable Milk Crate for a Bike




Introduction: Easy Removable Milk Crate for a Bike

About: Hi I'm Michael! I'm a dog owner, husband, writer, and mechanical engineer and I love getting my hands dirty building stuff. If you've enjoyed my work then I've love to hear from you! *I also do freelance e...

I love having a little extra hauling capacity that a milk crate provides for my bike, but there are also times when I don't want to have a crate cramping my style.

"Grocery Pannier" is the correct term for what I truly wanted. But I was able to make due with stuff I already had and the result turned out to be a simple tool that I really enjoy having.

This instructable is an easy one, how to build a sturdy yet removable milk crate mount for your bike. When you take the crate off you can use it as a shopping basket too!

This device is easy, cheap, and effective but I'm sure there are prettier/better ways to accomplish the same goal if you want to take this basic idea and run with it!

Step 1: Gather Tools & Materials

Essential Materials:

  1. Milk Crate
  2. Plastic Cable Ties (Zip Ties)
  3. 10' x 1" Cam Buckle Tie-Down
  4. Two rods of some sort. (You could also go with pvc pipe here. My rods were taken from old printers.)
  5. Waterproof foam sheet.


After moving to a larger city and biking more often, I realized that I needed to beef up my bike security. I went to a city wide event and the cops explicitly said not to use cable type locks because they can get cut so easily. They recommend solid steel U-locks. The products linked below are the ones I used in my pictures.

  • 1/2" thick U-Lock
  • Bicycle Carrier Rack (A rack of some sort is an essential material, this is just one option.)
  • Bungee cords can be nice to drape across the top of the basket, but I don't recommend using them to attach the basket to the rack because they aren't strong enough!

Step 2: Connect Rods to Basket

I put the zip ties on loosely to hold the rods roughly in place, then I put the crate onto the rack to get a better fit as I tightened up the zip ties all the way. The intent is to strongly attach the rods to the basket and have then very closely straddle the rack. You don't want any wiggle, no reason to be stingy with zip ties here.

Clip the ends of the zip ties when done then cover the inside bottom of the crate with the foam sheet to protect your cargo.

Step 3: Wrap the Strap on the Basket

Of the ~10' strap you don't actually need much of it. I didn't want to cut the strap and instead wrapped all up all but ~40" of it onto one side of the basket.

Step 4: Connect to Bike and Be on Your Way!

The rack holds the weight and constrains the basket base to the plan of the rack surface. The side rails constrain the basket's Z-axis rotation and lateral translation. The strap constrains the fore/aft translation and retains the basket against the rack.

See the video for how to mount and dismount the crate.



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    6 Discussions

    Great idea. I just tore down an old printer and retrieved the rods I need. They turned out to be a fair bit shorter than yours but shouldn't matter. Only problem I see with this setup is the cargo strap bows/bends the crate handles due to the tension. Probably just asthestic though as I don't think the plastic would be weak enough to break unless the crate was sitting outside in the weather for decades or something. (or you're unfortunate to have one of those flimsy piece of crap crates they sell at Home Depot).

    Thanks so much!

    thanks for sharing this! i finally got around to installing a rack, so my first thought was to put a milk crate on it. this is the only removable setup i could find, and it looks so simple. my one question for anyone who has made it - for the crate to be its most stable, do the metal rods need to have some rubber on it? i'm not sure I can find a spare printer to sacrifice for this project. my hardware store sells metal rods, but I'm not sure about finding rubber knobbies to slide onto it. thanks!

    Wow, this is a really good simple idea. I see people attach these in the oddest ways but yours is simple and clean.

    1 reply

    I appreciate the pictures and video. I have been trying to come up with a milk crate that's removable so that it works with other elements of my cargo system. I think this is it. I can mount a crate to stay in place easily, but then it's in the way of side-mounted units. This looks from the video to be much simpler than it reads.

    Waaay back in the day, when I had a bike, I did the same thing; wiring a case to the rear, and would make asset recovery sweeps of my 'hood. It was good for holding the usual finds like barely used cans of stain and paint, etc. By carrying a few bungee cords I found I could also carry longer stuff like lumber cutoffs and molding pieces, simply strapping them to the crate sides or top. A very handy accessory to have for an asset recovery specialist. ☺