The Wooden Porter Crate
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.
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:
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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Tags: beloved cycles, Bike Rack, front bike rack, mellow johnny's, nahbs 2011, porter rack, porteur rack, Soma Mini Alloy Front Rack, velo orange porteur rack, wine pine, wine rack, winepine.com, wood rack