Shopping on a Bike

Peddled over to the Co-op Tuesday to forage for dinner before picking up The Boy. I was pleased to discover that the new buckets hold a canvas bag of groceries each with a minimum of juggling. While there I ran into a friend who has a huge garden --really, it's a small homestead, last year he was selling his surplus at the farmers market. Remembering how much he enjoyed the eggs I used to get from my ducks (before their sad demise), I mentioned that I was going to have poultry again and would love to barter my eggs for some of his produce, an idea he was very amenable to. One more step towards sustainability!

With National Bike Month coming up (May), I have been thinking about writing a series of posts on different aspects of utility biking, but in the case of grocery shopping, it just strikes me as so simple. But here are some tips:

Handlebar baskets can hold a limited number of essentials, for example, a box of rice milk, a bag of pasta, jar of sauce, and a roll of TP. Basically one meal. Too much weight in the basket can complicate steering and handling of the bike.

One grocery bag will fit in:
a back pack
a bike bucket
When loading any of the above, take care that heavier/ridged items are at the bottom, while lighter/delicate items are at the top. I don't frequently buy a lot of frozen items, but when I do, I try to have the cold items together in one bag, or together at the bottom of the bag, to keep each other cold.

Someday I hope to add a FreeRadical from Xtracycle to my rig, allowing me to do big shopping trips like the woman in this photo. They just got a nice write-up in the local paper as part of an article on inventions created by collage students. I understand that these racks can hold 4+ fully loaded grocery bags on either side, plus theres that wooden platform over the rear wheel that can hold more gear -or even a kid!

Bikes At Work offers a wide varriety of sturdy, versatile bike trailers that will allow you to haul anything from a tub of groceries to a refrigerator (seriously)

Shopping by bike is quite possibly the easiest example of utility cycling: no worries about deadlines, or professional appearance as or anything like that, so why not give it a try?

Tuesday's Ride: 4 miles
Cumulative Bike Miles Since Febuary 1st: 148
Cumulative Cycling Expenses: $36
Cumulative Cost per Mile: $0.25
Subverting the dominant paradigm: Priceless

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