bike 101: grocery shopping by bike

Groceries by bike {ingredients bought to make this yummy dish}

Ever since I’ve added the bike trailer to my repertoire, my eyes – in terms of hauling stuff – have been opened. I can carry so much more stuff now than I could before. And this with just a trailer and the front basket (such simple and relatively inexpensive additions to a bike, especially when purchased on Craigslist). The front basket is just the right size to carry my U-lock with my purse dumped on top of it. That leaves the Burley to carry my daughter and anything else picked up to and from home. Like the above-pictured grocery and yarn store haul, which easily fit the back “trunk” space of the Burley:

grocery shopping by bike

And on days with more stuff to haul, the leg room within the trailer can hold another bag or two. (C. doesn’t seem to mind). On another recent errand, after stopping at the park, we picked up some flowers, groceries, and a few thrift store goodies before heading home. The flowers fit in my front basket (and rode just fine for the two blocks between my house and the store) and the rest went once again in the Burley.

groceries by bike

When unpacked, my haul amounted to this:

groceries by bike

And, if we’re going to get precise here, to this PLUS a toddler:

Groceries by bike

I know that this isn’t anything ground-breaking and it’s not even that much stuff compared to what people carry on their bikes (think furniture, other bikes, more people than just one kid, etc etc), but it’s pretty significant to me. I always biked to work when I worked on campus and would also ride to meet friends, shop for one or two items, or use my bike to pick up library books, but I never gave grocery shopping by bike a lot of consideration. But adding another passanger to my bike has really pushed me to consider how much and how well I can carry stuff beyond just myself by bike.

And I love the freedom this affords our schedule. The same trip to the park can become a quick stop at the store to get stuff for dinner or even a few days worth of food.

Thus inspired, the trailer was no longer enough. I soon made my way to our local bike shop and added a grocery pannier to my rear rack:

Biking in November

Biking in November

Between the Burley’s trunk space, the extra leg room around C’s feet, my front basket, and the spacious Jandd grocery pannier, I’ve got a surprising amount of cargo space to work with. What was I thinking? Why didn’t I do this sooner? Like I said, I mostly love the freedom this provides me: freedom from having to drive on a nice day just because I have errands to run on the way home. Freedom from having to skip a stop only because I’m by bike and may not be able to get everything home. Freedom from changing my plans and feeling limited.

And I also love that biking about 10 miles round-trip per day while pulling a toddler, a trailer, a gallon of milk, a stack of library books, and whatever else may find its way unto my bike means that I can consume all the chocolate and carrot cake and and ice cream my heart desires. And that’s another kind of freedom I also love, making the cost of that grocery pannier money well spent.

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About simplybike

{Bikes, a new baby, and the story of us.}
This entry was posted in Bike 101, Biking with Kids, Daily Commute, Food and Home, How-To Posts, Vintage Peugeot and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to bike 101: grocery shopping by bike

  1. I rarely take the trailer off, whether Lila is riding with me or not! It’s too convenient for a quick trip to the store or library! And when I do take it off, I have to seriously reformulate how I pack my stuff. Glad you’re enjoying the trailer so much.

  2. anniebikes says:

    Ah, your last comment is a real motivator for me. Eat, eat, eat, bike, bike, bike. Welcome to the world of lots more exercise. It’s a vicious cycle too. The more you ride, the more you eat, the more groceries you need to haul…

    Have a grand time with the trailer. Freedom at last.

  3. Miss Sarah says:

    I know, the trailer isn’t “pretty” like a bakfiets, but it’s significantly lighter. Sporty? Yes. Practical? YES. I know lots of people complain that the kids are behind you and too low, but like anything bike-related, all you have to do is become accustomed to it. Now that we have the double trailer for biking with both kids of very different ages, I don’t think we’ll need to get a bakfiets after all. By the time this next spring rolls around, Alice will be sitting up and able to enjoy the Madsen along with Dexter so… the car seat on bike days will be behind me!

    You keep on pedalling with your beautiful baby:)


    • simplybike says:

      Ha! You hit the nail on the head with this! I often feel like a bike blog fraud for not having a prettier bike set up or a nicer cargo bike like a bakfiets or Madsen but in all honestly, the trailer works and works quite well. And it works with out one-income family budget. I’m still thinking that I’d like a longtail bike once we move on to the next stage of family biking but for now I’m happy with the Burley and the iBert. And I’m amazed how well the trailer handles and how much cargo space it affords me.

      Also: since it’s not an open space, I leave a ton of things in there while parked and just shut the cover, which actually has tinted windows, and I feel pretty comfortale with leaving things in it and not thinking that someone would walk by and take off with them. Of course, our area is pretty low crime and low theft but I think the fact that the items are somewhat hidden and it would take unsnapping the cover to even see if there is something inside means that most people won’t go through that in borad daylight.

    • Isn’t pretty!? You DO realize that you have a yellow bike with a blue pannier hauling around a yellow and blue trailer right? I think your little bike-truck looks awesome!

      I was given a nearly-new trailer with green fabric (my favorite color, yay!). I added homemade ribbon streamers and panniers of a colorful flower fabric with matching green in it and other happy colors. I even covered my helmet in the same fabric. I love my bike, even scratched up and baged around as it is, because it is unique and very “me”.

      That helps me not drool over the shiny new machines laying around on the bike shop floor.

      I wish I got to use my trailer more… I’ve decided to try teaching my dogs to ride in it so we can go places. I added a plywood floor, but now I’ve realized I can’t fold the trailer flat anymore. /sigh. Also, it’s very hard for me to motivate myself to go outside and try to teach an excitable Beagle and deaf grumpy Jack Russell to ride nicely. The beagle HATES the idea of me on a bicycle, though he doesn’t seem to mind me walking beside it all day long. We’re a work in progress.

      I’m glad you’re having so much fun!

      • simplybike says:

        “I think your little bike-truck looks awesome!” – Ok, I think you may just be my favorite reader! ;) I think your bike set up sounds awesome too with all that lovely green. And I completely agree: it’s perfect when it’s personalized and a little unique even if it’s not the state of the art bike we might be lusting over. I was actually thinking about writing a post about “pretty vs. practical” bikes and you’ve given me some good stuff to think about.

  4. Rachel says:

    Nice! You really did manage to pack quite a lot of stuff in there! Where I am, lots of people have front baskets, some have panniers but very few trailers because it’s a rather large university town. I find that I am able to manage grocery shopping fairly well with just a front basket and a backpack. The flexibility of being able to swing by the shops and pick some things up without having to trek 20 minutes in not very pleasant weather is amazing!

  5. Pingback: Link Round-up | Week Wrap-up | Nov. 10-16, 2012 | Liz Cares About

  6. Casey says:

    YES! THIS is why I love our Burley! We have the Bee, so room for two with only one kid means twice the space in the back for everything and I have front and back racks so with double ortlieb panniers front and back and the trailer and the kid and her dolls, we have tons of room. SO FUN!

  7. Christina says:

    It is definitely pretty! I love the yellow! I tend to think the trailer concept like you have done (and I used to do the exact same setup!) also have a major benefit from the more “expensive cargo bikes” … it is more lightweight. :) Here’s a photo from my Flickr of my setup. I still use it for some grocery hauls or putting the dog in if she wants to go along to Grandma’s house. My kiddo rides on her own now, but the trailer still has so many uses. And it is quick to detach and I’m back to my regular bike whenever I need.

  8. Rita says:

    :) particularly enjoyed the final argument!

  9. Pingback: bike basket culture » Simply Bike

  10. Pingback: Link Round-up | Week Wrap-up | Nov. 10-16, 2012 | Eliza Everyday

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