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The Wooden Porter Crate

Submitted by on July 9, 2011 – 9:25 pm11 Comments

Ok, this is not France so I’m not going to call it a porteur crate, instead we’ll call it a porter crate.  To be more precise it is a wine crate made of pine that I have attached to a front rack, and it’s cool as all get out. The back story:

So I installed the Soma Mini Aloy Front Rack on my Trek a while back, it’s sturdy, well made and a great value.  The problem for me was it did not suit the purpose I had in mind very well.  I wanted to carry a soft shell camera bag on the rack but when I used a cargo net or bungee cord the bag would get smashed down onto the tire.  Not good, but dang I really liked that rack and didn’t want to replace it.

Later I found the joy of the Velo Orange Porteur rack, which was more like a basket where I could just throw stuff on top and not worry.  I debated replacing the Soma rack in favor of the VO, but that’s a spendy proposition and in spite of the Soma being less than ideal for my intended use, I really like it.

Fast forward to the Beloved Cycles collection I saw at Mellow Johnny’s during the NAHBS 2011 show.  They had several with these vintage Pepsi crates being used as porter racks. I found my solution:  I would attach a wooden crate on top of the Soma rack, which would be cheaper than replacing it and also give me a new experiment to conduct.

Beloved cycles at Mellow Johnny's in Austin

Beloved cycles at Mellow Johnny's in Austin

So I decided Pepsi and similar crates were just too wide, I’m not handy like Jason at BFOC (he made his own porter crate), so I searched Ebay for anything suitable.  I was especially interested in finding a vintage ammo box but it seemed everything I found was too wide or too beat up.

Then I started looking at wine crates and somehow found my way to a company called Wine Pine which sells, well, wooden wine crates from various wineries.  The come in an assortment of styles and it’s a bit like buying wine, the upper shelf brands cost more than the low end stuff, the more decorative the crate the higher price. I think they start at $25 or so and you can spend well over $100. I spent $35 and picked one that had a hinged lid:

Brunello Di Montalcino wine crate with lid from Wine

Anyhow, It’s about 13″ x 10 ” x 7″.  The intended purpose is to store wine and not be opened and closed often, nor was it designed for outdoor use, so the hardware is not terribly robust.  I might elect to remove the lid later so I can carry taller loads.

First I coated the crate in Tung oil to help water proof it, when pine gets wet it’s going to split, so waterproofing is good.  Then I bought some hardware from Home Depot to mount the crate onto the Soma mini front rack, it was a pretty straight forward procedure as you can tell in the photos.  Oh, and I put some brass corners on the lid as well.

Bottom line I’m thrilled with it and a big thanks to Patrick from Wine Pine for picking out a nice crate for me.

The wine-pine-crate-come-porter-rack-on-an-urban-bike-Trek-thing,  just one more thing you might see, if you’re biking in Dallas.


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Chris started riding a bike again when he noticed the Preston Ridge Trail being constructed across the street from his house. Since then he co-founded Biking in Dallas, has gone through countless Craigslist bike projects (some better than others) and can be found pedaling around town on a Electra Ticino with a camera in tow.

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