Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Basil Memories Bottle Basket.

Since I rejoined the bicycling world I've been trying to acquire Basil brand carriers for the Schwinn. Basil is the accessories arm of Royal Dutch Gazelle and though they are not the cheapest bike accessories, the few products I've seen in person are well designed and constructed. Sadly they are also hard to find in Perth. Over the course of several bike shops I'd managed to see some of the more restrained (Black or grey) Basil panniers in double and single form but rarely a patterned one and no baskets were to be found despite the Basil Australia online catalogue being full of portaging delights. After moving to Tasmania, Ginger and I quickly decided upon our preferred local bike shop in Ulverstone. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable but more importantly the shop display featured upright bicycles as prominently as it did road bikes. After a chat about different bicycle brands I discovered that despite not stocking them as standard equipment, the Ulverstone shop was absolutely willing to order in any Basil products I wished to buy. I knew I could purchase Basil online but I wanted to support my local economy so I ordered a couple of the cheaper Basil baskets, the wire framed Basil Memories Bottle basket. I'd really wanted the cool-toned turquoise mint colour but that was not available in Australia, I contemplated a clashing green but eventually went for a contrast. I'm rather glad because they are an incredibly jolly shade of yellow.

Basil Memories Bottle Basket in yellow.
I suppose that the Bottle basket is so named because of the milk bottle shapes on the outer side, presumably because the whole thing is reminiscent of a milkman's basket? The Memories Bottle is thick and sturdy powder coated metal with a finger shaped 'comfort grip' on the handle. I wanted something that could potentially carry groceries or other medium heavy items. I imagine a standard reusable shopping bag would line them quite neatly. The baskets attach to any rear rack via built in hooks. I simply slipped them onto my bike and trusted them to stay in place. They did, even when faced with some hefty curb drops. The other advantage of the hook attachment is that when my bike is in storage the baskets whip off with no effort and sit neatly stacked on a shelf while the Jenny cosies up to our other bikes all nice and tidy.

You could easily elastic strap them to a semi-permanent attachment or even
cable tie them if you are very cautious but they seem well designed to stay.

I took the baskets out for a 15km group round trip on a mid-summer day, jettisoning my usual wicker front basket. Being the one with most carrying capacity I was inevitably charged with taking the bike lock as well as my large camera case and a big beach bag I was using as a handbag.

I was very pleased with the baskets and did a spot of grocery shopping on the way home. If I'd been buying more than one item I would have simply plucked a basket from the rack and carried it around the supermarket. The Bottle Memories did not present any problems in terms of back wheel real estate, I carefully noted the distance between my heel and the basket corner - ample room as pictured and that was with the basket not as far back as it could be. I did kick one the first time I pushed off but my poor bike handling skills do not count as a design defect. The only real difficulty I experienced was forgetting that my bike suddenly had a different rear width, I scraped the left basket against a low stone wall as I was cornering but upon inspection the powder coating remained perfect.

If only the full range of Basil baskets was available in Australia, I'm so satisfied with the Memories mix of utilitarian practicality and whimsy that I would gladly go Basil Memories Bonkers on the Schwinn and get the front transport basket too. It's definitely got me planning my next Basil purchase, anyway.


  1. I've just ordered two of these for my old upright...this was so useful to see them in action from all angles and read a little about usage. I think they will work really well for my work, I dispatch things to the post office. luckily we have good access in the UK to Basil stuff...but it is pricey! happy riding.

    1. Thanks for commenting :)
      I've had them for long enough now that I can say they definitely pay for themselves. Good and sturdy and yes, re-useable shopping bags line them pretty perfectly!

  2. These looks gorgeous! May I ask how much theywere? I'm in Sydney and I'm trying to suss out the best price :)

  3. Thanks for writing this very entertaining review on these baskets. That final photo is great, too - I hadn't realised just how wide the baskets actually were and it really helps to see them from that perspective. I think you may have convinced me to purchase a pair for my new bike!

  4. They are on for $50