As you probably know by now, I am very interested in simple solutions that work so well that transforms your life in way. I am not talking about big changes, just small things that make you a tiny bit happier because they truly work and make a small difference in your everyday life. The plank, is one of the these. A very humble trick that can transform a bike to a truly utility vehicle.
I first found out about the plank thing when I started to carry my girlfriend on my bike (you can read about this here). I wanted to make the rack more ass-friendly thus I used to put a magazine or a book strapped under a bungee cord on the rack. But then I found in my parent’s house few planks from a tuna crate my father found in a trash bin. I tried one of them on the rack and it felt like it was meant to be there. It have been working brilliantly for carrying people around ever since.
But the plank have more uses. I discovered that a simple plank like this, wider than the rack, strapped under a bungee cord works amazingly for carrying things! You just have to cover it with a big plastic bag to protect it from the rain and you leave it on your rack. You also need to keep a piece of rope in your saddle bag. The combination of rope, wider base and a bungee cord enables you to strap almost anything on your bike (its good to have a big heavy duty plastic bag in your saddle bag to help you contain the load) without having to carry around any gear (like rack panniers, basket etc).
The way to do that is by using the rope to attach your load on the saddle and then the bungee cord to stabilize it on your plank. You can also use the rope to strap a big crate on your plank as I did in the photo bellow and then the bungee cord for the load inside.
I have been running errands on bike for many years, but lately I buy all the groceries of the week(s) in one go. I used to use rackatabla for that, but I found out that it took took more time to prepare it that it should take for an everyday thing. So the plank was a great replacement. To load all these groceries in few simple moves on my bike and stay there for many kms feels great every time (more sensitive stuff -like eggs or soft fruits- goes on the handlebars or on a small backpack)!