Beatrix’s New Basket

Back at Christmastime, I told the love story of Beatrix and Leopold, two reunited British roadster “project” bikes that had come into my possession via The Dark Lord. You may (or may not) have been wondering what progress has been made, and the simple answer is not much. But the lovely weather on Mothers’ Day did inspire me to bring Beatrix out of the verandah for a good cleaning. Equipped with man-gitch, biodegradable chain cleaner and the hubby’s toothbrush, I went to work cleaning dear Beatrix in areas she probably hasn’t had fondled in years.

Leopold however underwent the slightly more invasive procedure of having his crank removed. Ouch! Poor Leopold.

While Leopold will require a good many “new things”, like a paint job, wheels, tires, crank, saddle, fenders, grips and handlebars, Beatrix really just needed a basket. I did some surf-shopping and found these very fancy scandinavian baskets from Design House Stockholm.

As pretty as these baskets are, I decided they were way too doily-ish, so elected to get something more utilitarian and British-y. Which brought me to this little number from Beg Bicycles of Cambridgeshire, England, where British people go to learn how to be more British.

While I was impressed with its honest and raw design, I was less so with its ridiculous price tag of 85 pounds ($130) plus international shipping. They know it’s just a crate, right? For that price it better come with one of the Queen’s tiaras in it.

One was too frilly, one was too plain. But this one was just right:

This simple wire basket I found right here at Gooch’s is the perfect mix of form and function – a versatile yet humble schlepping apparatus just as at home carrying a bottle of aquavit and stet strömming (fried herring) as a six pack of Newcastle and chips. It is also the perfect size to hold one medium-sized house cat, a burlap sack, some rope, and three bricks.

In addition to being reasonably-priced to begin with, it was a birthday present from my Mother (thanks Mom!), and therefore free. But before you get the mistaken impression that I am one of those “practical girls”, I should mention that I also ordered some cool vintage roadster handlebar grips from the Old Bicycle Company in Essex England, the cost of which, including shipping via Her Majesty’s Royal Mail, makes them the most expensive part of the bike. And suitably British-y.

Stay tuned for updates on Leopold’s makeover (the hubby hates it when I call it that), and pictures of Beatrix’s fab new grips, which I am expecting, packed in crumpets, any day now.

Until then, Cheerio!