Many people seem to want to know about using a milk crate to carry stuff on abike. Small wonder. Here in Chicago, milk crates are readily available for free, and even a store bought milk crate look-alike is a heck of a lot cheaper than a set of bike panniers.
You do not need any special tools to attach the crate to your bike, however, you do need a pre-installed bicycle rack. You will also need a bunji cord.
Your goal here is to thread the bunji in a criss-cross pattern through both the milk crate and the bike rack, and tighten enough to achieve good stability. I assure you that this can be accomplished with only two hands, although at times it seemed like it would be helpful to have a few more. It took me alone about five minutes to complete this task, without injuring myself, and resorting to only a handful of unrepeatable words. Ready?
- Lean the bike to support it in an upright position (or use kickstand, or friend)
- Place the milk crate on top of bike rack.
- Thread each end of bunji cord downward through opening in the crate that are closest to outer edges of bike rack. If this seems impossible, trust me, it can be done, by feeding the pointed end of the bunji hook in first, and letting the rest follow.
- Cross two ends of the bunji underneath the rack, and feed back up through the crate. Feed them one at a time. Hook the one you're not working on onto something to avoid having to start over.
- Hook the ends of bunji together to secure. Alternatively, stretch them a little more and hook into openings in the crate.
You can also accomplish this with zip-ties, but while it might be easier to attach the crate that way, you'd need new zip-ties every time you want to reattach it.
A milk crate makes a great all-purpose bike carrier, and the only drawback I can think of is that it tends to hit your hind end a little as you ride.