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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 01-04-06, 09:18 PM   #1
Djudd
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Grocery shopping w/ panniers..1st timer

Today I went grocery shopping with newly acquired "grocery bag" panniers from Nashbar. Early in the morning I made the 2 miler to the market and bought $70 worth of grub. That about filled both panniers. Before I go further I must point out that I am not a neophtye cyclist. I'm in my mid-forties and have been seriously cycling since I was 15 (had dreams of being a Euro-based racer then). I went through college and grad school as a bicycle courier. I have never stopped cycling and thus stayed in pretty good riding shape. Friends, let me confess, those groceries wore my butt out!!!! I have never ridden a bike loaded like that (I used my fixie commuter). Just when you think you know it all, along comes a totally new experience. My commute is 7 or 8 miles with a Carradice nylon Camper. Due to my racing past I am strict roadbike guy. I 've done weekend tours on a fixed touring bike...never "fully loaded" just a Carradice LF Nelson sufficed. This was new and rather exciting. I have a whole new respect for those guys riding loaded tourers all over the world. It seems one uses a different set of leg muscles when riding loaded (so to speak). The great thing is it's another reason not to use a car and have some fun.
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Old 01-04-06, 10:09 PM   #2
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I go to a higher gear and spin away when I have heavy loads in my panniers and or bike trailer and take my time
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Old 01-05-06, 06:33 AM   #3
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i was staying at someones house for a while and i had a tramping pack plus my laptop bag and the path would usually take me 20 minutes... took me 35 - 40ish it was good for my muscles though
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Old 01-05-06, 03:55 PM   #4
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Fixed gears aren't for everything.
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Old 01-05-06, 04:37 PM   #5
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I'm a little weakling, so... I don't buy $70 of groceries at once.

I'm lucky in that I'm single and live alone, so I can get away with it, but I get by better by going shopping 3-4 times a week and getting smaller amounts.
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Old 01-05-06, 05:30 PM   #6
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Your muscles will get used to it. I ride with a heavy backpack almost every day. I actually feel naked if I don't have my backpack now.

What kind of bike do you have your panniers on? Any trouble fitting them?
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Old 01-05-06, 05:54 PM   #7
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I'm a little confused by your narrative. Are you saying that you found a 2 mile trip (4 mi. loop) hard on the posterior? Why would it be harder on the rump than usual biking ... unless you usually stand up most of the way? I could understand if you were wearing the groceries on your back. I could also understand how $70 could be painful to the hind quarters if that's where you usually keep your wallet ;-)

I'm in your same age bracket, but without the history of athleticism. About 2x a month I make an excursion to the big city for groceries from a specialty store. 13 mi each way with hills. Usually only *one* pannier worth plus overflow in messenger bag. Plus a couple locks and other gear. Luckily the hills are mostly downhill on the way back. A semi-roadbike -- definitely with gears. Once I carried an entire grocery bag in the messenger bag as an experiment. Now *that* was hard on the posterior.
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Old 01-05-06, 06:01 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Roody
Your muscles will get used to it. I ride with a heavy backpack almost every day. I actually feel naked if I don't have my backpack now.

What kind of bike do you have your panniers on? Any trouble fitting them?
It's a bike I got second-hand from an LBS...Sterling Sportlight...the tubing is nice Tange double-butted..I stripped off the cheapo components and built into a nice fixed commuter...I have a Tubus rack on the back. The rack has a bar below the platform that is also further aft allowing the panniers to sit low and away for ankle clearance and low center-of-gravity.
A heavy backpack, I think, does not approximate the ride of loaded panniers. I was a courier and have ridden a lot with loads on my back. Having the load on the bike is a unique feeling. If you haven't, you should try it. It is really quite efficient (though challenging).
peace
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Old 01-05-06, 06:11 PM   #9
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I'm a little confused by your narrative. Are you saying that you found a 2 mile trip (4 mi. loop) hard on the posterior? Why would it be harder on the rump than usual biking ... unless you usually stand up most of the way? I could understand if you were wearing the groceries on your back. I could also understand how $70 could be painful to the hind quarters if that's where you usually keep your wallet ;-)

I'm in your same age bracket, but without the history of athleticism. About 2x a month I make an excursion to the big city for groceries from a specialty store. 13 mi each way with hills. Usually only *one* pannier worth plus overflow in messenger bag. Plus a couple locks and other gear. Luckily the hills are mostly downhill on the way back. A semi-roadbike -- definitely with gears. Once I carried an entire grocery bag in the messenger bag as an experiment. Now *that* was hard on the posterior.
Not hard on the posterior (fortunately those days have past...I ride with most Brooks saddles and have been riding long enough) but the nature of riding, sans experience, with loaded panniers seems to engage different leg muscles or use them in a different way. The visual of a wallet in a back pocket while riding on Brooks saddle just made me shudder.
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Old 02-10-09, 07:46 PM   #10
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$156/67 Pounds of Groceries

I just bought $156.00 and 67 pounds of groceries from WINCO, and hauled it all back on my Townie!!! Had my backpack stuffed full, and a two pound block of Tillimook cheese in my fanny pack. And I don't have any panniers on my Townie, just a funky old wire basket, with stuff bungied together in a pile!!!

I will be buying a Long Haul Trucker and need to find some heavy-duty, huge panniers, so I can haul at least 80 pounds of groceries in the front and rear panniers, and another 15-20 pounds of food in my backpack.

Any suggestions what would be the best panniers for my needs?
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Old 02-10-09, 10:33 PM   #11
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A heavy backpack, I think, does not approximate the ride of loaded panniers. I was a courier and have ridden a lot with loads on my back. Having the load on the bike is a unique feeling. If you haven't, you should try it. It is really quite efficient (though challenging).
peace
Panniers do kind of turn the sports car into a utility van. If you're used to leaning hard on turns with a messenger bag, for example, doing the same with panniers is probably a little disconcerting. A few things do help. One is simply to balance the panniers well, so that you have a roughly equal mass on each side. Another is to arrange it so the panniers aren't too far back on the rack, which reduces fish-tailing when you stand up to crank on hills. And it's also a good idea to remember that, when your panniers hold 100 research papers, a sack of carrots, a six pack of beer, a loaf of bread, twelve bananas, and a gallon of milk, it's not a good time to pretend you're in the Tour de France. At that point, regardless of your skills or your pedigree, you're a Fred, and proud of it.
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Old 02-11-09, 12:25 PM   #12
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The OP points out two of the great joys of cycling:

-It makes dreary trips fun
-There's always something new to experience and enjoy
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Old 02-11-09, 12:53 PM   #13
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There's no doubt that riding a loaded bike is different and I wouldn't think of hauling my groceries on my fixie. Years ago I did a cross country tour with 40-50 lbs of gear on my bike depending on how much food I was carrying. It was so stable under that weight that you could practically pedal out of the saddle with no hands on the bars. After a month or so of that I remember taking a rest day in some place where we could store our panniers for the day and heading out to explore unloaded. I almost lost control of the bike. It was so responsive to input, compared to being loaded, that it would practically shoot out from under me.

I like grocery shopping on my bike, however, my aging knees demand the mechanical advantage of gears for such journeys.

cheers,
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Old 02-11-09, 01:50 PM   #14
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You want it to get more fun fast try some of that pebble paved stuff (all over the campus here) with loaded panniers in the rain. I always slide a little on it and your front wheel skids and just basic easy turns can be tough. I will admit it was really different when I started using my first pannier on one side. Now it makes no difference to me at all.
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Old 02-11-09, 02:24 PM   #15
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And it's also a good idea to remember that, when your panniers hold 100 research papers, a sack of carrots, a six pack of beer, a loaf of bread, twelve bananas, and a gallon of milk, it's not a good time to pretend you're in the Tour de France. At that point, regardless of your skills or your pedigree, you're a Fred, and proud of it.
What exactly is a "Fred"? Is that a transportational cyclist or your 3 weekend per summer cyclist or what?

I notice that different bikes handle differently under loaded panniers. My touring bike seems much more stable under load. The city bike is OK because it has a very stiff rack. Other bikes with those aftermarket racks that bike shops sell get sketchy under heavy loads. It feels like the load flexes the bike shop rack. One thing to do is keep the loaded items secure. My REI grocery getter panniers allow the stuff to slide around or even hop out when I take a speed bump. The Ortleibs let me cinch things down better.
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Old 02-11-09, 04:21 PM   #16
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What exactly is a "Fred"? Is that a transportational cyclist or your 3 weekend per summer cyclist or what?
A fred is
1) A poorly dressed tourist who can blow any other cyclist off the road, or
2) A roadie poseur.

Two opposite definitions, I don't know why. But I think I know the inspiration for #1. Freddie Hoffman.
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I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
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Old 02-11-09, 07:45 PM   #17
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Fixed gears aren't for everything.
They'd work well if your grocery store was uphill from your house. If it was the other way around, I'd be walking that thing home.
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Old 02-11-09, 09:31 PM   #18
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Friends, let me confess, those groceries wore my butt out!!!! I have never ridden a bike loaded like that (I used my fixie commuter). Just when you think you know it all, along comes a totally new experience.
You should try my Bikes At Work trailer. That would definitely be strange with a fixie.

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I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
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Old 02-11-09, 09:31 PM   #19
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They'd work well if your grocery store was uphill from your house. If it was the other way around, I'd be walking that thing home.
Not sure I'd want to wear out cartilage slowing down 75 lbs of groceries going down a steep hill

Seriously though, I habitually rode 12 km to the discount supermarket and returned with about 50+ lbs of groceries. Honestly it wasn't that much harder, except for handling and uphills.
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Old 02-11-09, 10:58 PM   #20
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I'm a little weakling, so... I don't buy $70 of groceries at once.

I'm lucky in that I'm single and live alone, so I can get away with it, but I get by better by going shopping 3-4 times a week and getting smaller amounts.

You can't take advantage of buying staples in bulk, then, or buying things on sale and freezing/canning/otherwise preserving what you can't eat right away.
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Old 02-12-09, 08:01 AM   #21
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A fred is
1) A poorly dressed tourist who can blow any other cyclist off the road, or
2) A roadie poseur.

Two opposite definitions, I don't know why. But I think I know the inspiration for #1. Freddie Hoffman.
Oh. In the olden days, when I hung out with bike racers they called me a "geek". I guess calling me a Fred would have been either an insult or a compliment, I couldn't blow them off the road and I wasn't trying to be like them either.
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Old 02-15-09, 12:11 PM   #22
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... Friends, let me confess, those groceries wore my butt out!!!! I have never ridden a bike loaded like that (I used my fixie commuter). Just when you think you know it all, along comes a totally new experience. ...
peace
I have to laugh at this... I started off this winter thinking that I would get studded tires for my fixed gear and use it when it snowed or was icy, then my other bike when it was nice... HOLY #$*!@, I only have a 7.6 mile commute and I though I was going to die!!! Most of my commute was downhill, which saved me. On the flats it felt like someone had tied a 60lb bag of cement to my seat post on the end of a 100' rope.... it was both comical and the most miserable biking experience I have had.... I have ridden that route many times on my fixed gear and it was no problem, i then put studded tires on my geared touring bike and had no issues what so ever.... just goes to show some bikes are not good at everything.... (Honestly my gearing is a little tall on that bike, but it has to be other wise i look like a 200+ lb egg beater coming some of the hills in our area....)
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Old 02-18-09, 04:50 PM   #23
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Having a fixie can't have helped much. For heavy loads on any vehicle, gearing is essential. I've hauled upwards of 600 lbs on bicycles and trailers. Some tips:

--Find a nice slow pace. PUTZ, don't race. Think like an ox, not a racehorse.
--Plan your route ahead carefully. Don't expect to be able to jump curbs or zip through narrow gaps.
--Lower your seat a little bit. This always seems to help, maybe because it lowers the center of gravity a notch. I don't know.
--Make sure you can put fut a terre or dismount quickly if you need to. That means free feet!
--Plan for wide turns.
--Watch yourself downhill, and have very good brakes. The extra weight makes it that much more difficult to stop. I calculated my force loaded with groceries coming down hill at top speed was nearly 20,000 ft. lbs. That will kill a person easily.
--Pack center of gravity low if possible.
--Never, ever be afraid to get off and push. The Viet Cong did it all the time.

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Old 02-18-09, 04:58 PM   #24
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My grocery store also is about 2 miles. The road is so bumpy, i usually don't totally overwhelm my panniers. I go back twice.
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Old 02-18-09, 05:48 PM   #25
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How many people are using BOB's? I couldn't be car free without mine.
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