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Thread: Groceries?

  1. #1
    No one carries the DogBoy
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    Groceries?

    I'm trying to ride more/drive less, and lately I've been getting the groceries with the bike. I have a few questions from the pros...

    First, I'm using a single kid trailer with a 75 lb limit. This doesn't seem to be a problem until you put 20 lbs of kitty litter, cat food, 2 gals of milk and a few 2 liters of soda in it.... I had the thing busting at the seams with just 1 week of groceries for a family of 4. Do you folks just use larger storage capacity (bikes at work trailer/xtracycle etc?) or do you just go more frequently?

    Next, if you do use a trailer, how do you secure it? My grocery store does have a rack and I lock my bike, but unless I totally undo the hitch and lock the trailer to the bike or rack there is no way to secure it. I've been just taking a chance that I'm in a low crime area and it will be there, but I'm nervous about it. Does anyone have any good ideas about how to secure a bike and a trailer without having to undo the hitch?

    Lastly...I commute, and have not problem riding on roads, but my commute speed is about 15 mph. Loaded down with a trailer and 100 lbs of groceries I can only do about 7-8 mph without strenuous effort. I find myself using the MUP instead of the road, even though this causes me some nervousness when crossing the freeway onramps. Do you ride the same (ie on roads) even when loaded? I'm thinking I'm going to do that next time, but for some reason I think 7-8 mph vs 40 mph is much worse than 15 mph vs 40 mph.

    Thanks for the input.

  2. #2
    gwd
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    Quote Originally Posted by DogBoy
    Next, if you do use a trailer, how do you secure it?

    Lastly...I commute, and have not problem riding on roads, but my commute speed is about 15 mph. Loaded down with a trailer and 100 lbs of groceries I can only do about 7-8 mph without strenuous effort. I find myself using the MUP instead of the road, even though this causes me some nervousness when crossing the freeway onramps. Do you ride the same (ie on roads) even when loaded? I'm thinking I'm going to do that next time, but for some reason I think 7-8 mph vs 40 mph is much worse than 15 mph vs 40 mph.

    Thanks for the input.
    For securing a trailer. When I borrow one and need to park it in a high crime area I take an extra cable lock. I don't worry about a pro bike thief taking it but I want to make sure that I'm not being negligent with a friend's property.

    For riding on the road: For me, when I'm hauling an awkward load I feel that car people should obviously be able to see that I'm using the bike for transportation not recreation so I expect them to be more considerate. Is it fantasy on my part?

  3. #3
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Sounds about the way I did it...I used to go to the store every week, every other week was to purchase staples, those were the heavy weeks, the other two weeks were for fill in stuff. I tried to think far enough ahead to make the heavy stuff spread out over all four weeks. That way I wasn't over loaded on any given trip. Consider maybe adding a front rack to the bike for some of the lighter stuff. I used my tour bike or "city" bike for my store runs and both of them were equipped with racks front and rear. Another thing is to pick stuff up from the store on the way home from work if it is convenient. As far as locking the trailer I used a loooong Krypto cable available from places like Lowe's or Home Despot. IRIC mine was a 7' cable and I just ran it around the trailer frame thru it's own loop and the other end went to the U lock. Not the most secure, but it would slow down an opportunistic thief. The cables are available in various lengths and diameters.

    When riding fully loaded with a trailer I personally would prefer the MUP over a crowded higher speed road. I had a similar issue when going to and from the store, so I would take a slightly longer side route that would keep me off the main roads when towing the trailer.

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  4. #4
    CRIKEY!!!!!!! Cyclaholic's Avatar
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    I find that cagers tend to give me more room when I'm towing the trailer.

    At the store I secure the bike but just leave the trailer hitched up. I'm not too worried about it because it draws heaps of attention! I always come out of the store to a small group of people looking at my trailer, to most of them its like I landed from another planet.
    There are 10 types of people in the world - the ones that can count in base 2, the ones that can't count in base 2, and the ones that didn't expect this to be in base 3.

  5. #5
    winter is comming BenyBen's Avatar
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    1- I do 1 week's worth of groceries for 2 1/2 (my little one is 9 months) in one trip with my burley nomad, but I usually end up going another time during the week for the extras we forgot. If I know I won't have time to come back that week, I bring a backpack with me and put the big bag of kitty litter in there. I also fill my sadle bags with the liquids to take a load off the trailer.

    As others suggested, try to pick some of your stuff when coming back from work to spread the load over more than one ride. If you pick a store not too far from home, you can put lots of weight in a backpack without being too uncomfortable (short ride)

    2- Try just rolling the trailer into the store and use it as a grocery kart. That's what I do. I get a couple of weird looks, but I don't have to worry about it being stolen. That way when I'm at the cash I can simply throw the stuff in there without using any bags at all. It saves a lot of time too, since I only need to pack once. The store manager might not be too warm about it though.

    3- I just use the same streets as usual. I try not to roll by the cars waiting at lights, but simply stop behind the line of cars (unless it's gridlocked), that way there is no awkwardness when you speed up from stops. When I ride, I ride a good distance from the sidewalk, so that people give me more space when passing. Try putting a slow moving vehicle sign at the back of your trailer if you can find one
    Last edited by BenyBen; 12-12-06 at 09:11 AM.

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    I use a burley nomad for shopping trips and post office runs. With the holidays and an increase in my mail order business the trailer has stayed attached for over two weeks now. Last night I took ten decent size boxes to the PO, and bought a 40lb bag of food, 300oz of laundry soap, two tubes of caulk, TP, tape, and a couple of 8' 1x's. I've found the coolest route home from the grocery store: Cross an old rr bridge, ride through a factory, through a city park, and then straight up hill to my house. It doesn't hurt that all my shopping is within .75 miles.

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    I pretty much never lock up (benefit of living in relative ruralia maybe?). I push the trailer through farmer's market using it as a stroller for the kid(s) so I get that kind of cover anyway. Of course piling kids in w/ groceries cuts into that 100# capacity. I do tend to make lots of trips here and there, but I have toted, along w/ the kids, 20# of apples, 2 gal milk, a turkey, and other stuff yet. Use panniers as well as trailer for really big runs.

  8. #8
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    Shop once a month for most of what you need and either have it
    delivered or use your own car. Use the bike for perishables such
    as milk & bread.

    With a trailer make sure you have a 'slow moving" vehicle sign
    on the back of the trailer. You can find them at farm supply
    houses.
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    Originally Posted by krazygluon
    Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?

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    GATC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tightwad
    With a trailer make sure you have a 'slow moving" vehicle sign
    on the back of the trailer. You can find them at farm supply
    houses.
    I need to get one of those. I also don't take the same routes w/ laden trailer that I would just on the bike (try harder to avoid heavily car-d roads), though it took me longer than it should have to realize the wisdom of that.

  10. #10
    Senior Member likeakidagain's Avatar
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    I just did my big load yesterday..
    I guess I am blessed to have a store that has a indoor lobby..and I lock the bike to the indoor cart corall..which is at the exit..opposite the checkouts..
    No I do not lock the trailer.
    As far as the weight I load it up about 4 bags. I am looking at putting webbing rope..to keep the bottom from dragging, which it hasnt yet..but if I go over a bump.
    I am quite hard with the trailer sometimes and it amazes me, it takes the bruises very well.
    I use a yellow blinkies..
    I also do a few smaller trips during the month..with the tranist grocery panniers..
    Amazon.com grocery has some good deals if you buy in bulk..
    online deals...http://www.dealtaker.com
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  11. #11
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    If you want to use a bicycle as your primary means of transportation, you have to figure out how to get the groceries home. Distance and shopping frequency will dictate how you do it. If you can make frequent trips, you probably don't need a trailer. I don't have panniers, but I do have cloth grocery bags. They hold quite a bit and with snap hooks you can secure them to racks. Seems like you've already figured this out...

    If you make less frequent grocery trips, a trailer is the thing. It can take almost as much cargo as the trunk of a small car.

    All of the logistics is pretty straightforward. The hard part is getting in the habit of doing it regularly. It's like commuting by bike. The first months are a little difficult. Then it becomes easier... as it becomes a habit.

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    I used to have a 2-children trailer; I now have a Burley Nomad. Strictly speaking, the child carrier has more cargo volume inside than the Nomad (it's higher), but getting bulky items through the door is more problematic with the children trailer. And small items might push on the door panels.

    Tricks.

    - When I used the children trailer, I sometimes attached compression straps through the doors to prevent boxes from pushing the door open and falling on the ground.

    - If the floor seems thin, double it up with thick canvas or a sheet of Coroplast.

    - If your bike has racks and panniers, you could use them too.

    - Depending on how your trailer is shaped, you could attach items on top of it. Think of bulky but not too heavy items like toilet paper or baby diapers.
    Michel Gagnon
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  13. #13
    Senior Member wheel's Avatar
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    Change what you eat err drink.
    Buy subsitutes example frozen concentrate oj rather than OJ
    Plan your meals out to cordinate loads.
    If I had a dog, I would take him to the store so he can haul his food home.
    Put the famila to work give em some panniers or something.


    Myself I shop every week or every 3 days depends on how much I want to shop versus haul.
    A bag of rice, oats,potatoes, flour, sugar can last a long time.
    I myself just plan and use a back rack with trunk and back pack or just painers.
    2 breads, 2 bags of corn tortilas, 4 soups, 2 jars of somethin. 1 bag above, and room for two additional small items.


    I would use a trailer if I lived farther.
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    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    lucky I live close enough to the village market it is even walkable. I just go back and forth once/ twice a day for our needs. Guess, when doing a big shopping, a car or taxi is pretty unavoidable. I like the idea of shopping locally and not totally supporting the big chains. Besides, here the butchery is better quality food anyway. that plus the twice a week farmers market. Many get used to the idea of shopping daily for the days' needs.

  15. #15
    I'm made of earth! becnal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezealot
    lucky I live close enough to the village market it is even walkable. I just go back and forth once/ twice a day for our needs. Guess, when doing a big shopping, a car or taxi is pretty unavoidable. I like the idea of shopping locally and not totally supporting the big chains. Besides, here the butchery is better quality food anyway. that plus the twice a week farmers market. Many get used to the idea of shopping daily for the days' needs.
    Don't you just love living in Europe!

  16. #16
    Live Deliberately. davidmcowan's Avatar
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    Ummm...Is this as simple a solution as I think it is? :

    Kill your cat.

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcowan
    Ummm...Is this as simple a solution as I think it is? :

    Kill your cat
    .
    Soup! Or make catsup out of it.

    Actually I shop more like a European. I shop almost every day. I buy bread at the bakery, meat at the butcher shop, produce (and eggs, cheese, grains, dairy, and much more) at the farmer's market or at the City Market. I also was smart enough to move 1/2 mile from a little shopping center with a Kroger and a hardware store. The bakery, butcher shop and City market are directly on the way to work. (I planned it that way when I moved!) The farmer's market is across town, but once a week it's a fun trip--buy food from people who actually grow it, listen to music, buy prepared food and eat with cool people you meet there.

    Advantages to frequent local shopping:
    support local businesses,
    eat better quality food for little difference in price,
    food is always fresh,
    you can make several quick stops instead of one long shopping expedition,
    stick it to Walmart and other big chains
    and no problem carrying your purchases with a backpack and/or panniers.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by DogBoy
    I'm trying to ride more/drive less, and lately I've been getting the groceries with the bike. I have a few questions from the pros...

    First, I'm using a single kid trailer with a 75 lb limit. This doesn't seem to be a problem until you put 20 lbs of kitty litter, cat food, 2 gals of milk and a few 2 liters of soda in it.... I had the thing busting at the seams with just 1 week of groceries for a family of 4. Do you folks just use larger storage capacity (bikes at work trailer/xtracycle etc?) or do you just go more frequently?

    Next, if you do use a trailer, how do you secure it? My grocery store does have a rack and I lock my bike, but unless I totally undo the hitch and lock the trailer to the bike or rack there is no way to secure it. I've been just taking a chance that I'm in a low crime area and it will be there, but I'm nervous about it. Does anyone have any good ideas about how to secure a bike and a trailer without having to undo the hitch?

    Lastly...I commute, and have not problem riding on roads, but my commute speed is about 15 mph. Loaded down with a trailer and 100 lbs of groceries I can only do about 7-8 mph without strenuous effort. I find myself using the MUP instead of the road, even though this causes me some nervousness when crossing the freeway onramps. Do you ride the same (ie on roads) even when loaded? I'm thinking I'm going to do that next time, but for some reason I think 7-8 mph vs 40 mph is much worse than 15 mph vs 40 mph.

    Thanks for the input.
    My Burley Flatbed can hold quite a load of groceries. I secure a large Rubbermaid container to it with bungees and I've got waterproof food transportation. I even found a way to mount a Cateye Blinkie directly to the Rubbermaid bin, along with reflective stripes. The Flatbed is also 10 lbs. lighter than the D'lite trailer I got for my nephew and probably can hold more cargo.

    I simply lock up my bike wherever possible, which is sometimes annoying as the bike/trailer combo is a lot less manueverable than a bike by itself. I don't bother locking up the trailer as it's hardly a target for theft. I do worry about high school vandals but they could damage it regardless of locks. Someone dumb enough to mess with someone's utility trailer probably isn't smart enough to figure out how to unhitch it either.

    As to riding slowly on higher speed roads, it can be annoying. Of the three different ways I can get to my favorite grocery store 3 miles away, only one way allow easy passing of me by faster moving vehicles. But, I'm on a busy 45mph, 2 lane each way road the whole time. At least going home I'm going downhill. Another route has me a one lane each way road for about 2 miles but it's often just busy enough that people are often stuck behind me for significant lengths of time while I putter along at 10mph. The third way avoids the busy roads for the majority of the time but my trailer is too wide to use the paths. I'll only use that way if going with my girlfriend for a few small things as she prefers staying off the major roads. My conclusion from using all three options is that the smoothest way to go is the 4 lane road as there's always a passing lane. I'm much more likely to get honked at going that way but no one gets slowed down for very long, so overall I feel better about it.

  19. #19
    Crankenstein bmclaughlin807's Avatar
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    I do all my shopping on my commuter bike. I have a rear rack and grocery panniers.

    I tend to make two trips a week, and occasionally stop at the store on the way home from work for smaller or special items, or things I forgot.

    One of the things I've done recently is posted a permanent shopping list on the fridge. (Need to get a white board, it'll work better) ... My wife adds stuff she wants or need, and I look at it every day, and if I'm going past the store I grab things we need, and mark them off.

    Obviously, some things are more important than others, but just by seeing the list every day, I can tell what we need, and what would be nice to get, and I can tell if I really need to go today, or I can take a day off and hit the store tomorrow.

    It is kinda fun to have people stop and stare when I bring out a cart full of groceries and start loading them on my bike.
    "There is no greater wonder than the way the face and character of a woman fit so perfectly in a man's mind, and stay there, and he could never tell you why. It just seems it was the thing he most wanted." Robert Louis Stevenson

  20. #20
    gwd
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmclaughlin807
    It is kinda fun to have people stop and stare when I bring out a cart full of groceries and start loading them on my bike.
    Good idea about the fridge list.

    When I lived in the suburbs a woman behind me in line saw my bike helmet and questioned that I could get all the stuff on a bike. She stopped on her way out to watch me load it all in my grocery getter paniers topped by a case of beer and then some stuff on top of the beer. When people stare it might be a teachable moment. Maybe we should try to tell them how and why we're loading it up the way we do. If a person is interested enough to stare they might be receptive at that moment to learn a little about how easy it is to live car free. I myself only talk to people about car free if they say something first but if you are a more outgoing type of person talking to starers at the store might be a good way to educate the public.

  21. #21
    Senior Member wheel's Avatar
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    On back packs with compression straps you can hang your bags.

    I got 6 rolls of tp
    1 roll of paper towels
    1 bag of cereal
    2 loafs of bread
    and some banging tortilla chips.

    I say 5 miles or more would have been tough. I still could hang them from my rack.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by becnal
    Don't you just love living in Europe!
    I sure do like the idea of fresh vegetables taken at a local market, supplied by farmers living adjacent my village. yes.But, France. You run out of milk at 8 pm , you are out of luck. My understanding Unions won't allow stores to stay open abnormal hours. I think the rest of Europe, stores might at least be open until 8:30 PM. ? Here it is usually 7:30 PM. And Sundays, half a day, during the Summer only. Sort of difficlut to get used to. At least the pastry shops open at 7 AM. But, the best result of shopping at local farmers markets is - quality, and how, ironic it costs far less.
    Last edited by cyclezealot; 12-14-06 at 02:06 AM.

  23. #23
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody
    I also was smart enough to move 1/2 mile from a little shopping center with a Kroger and a hardware store.
    Living close to grocery store sounds to me like a wise decision. What do car drivers who move to remote surburbs do when their cars break down? How do they get to food? If you aren't within walkable distance, it sounds pretty precarious to me. I know that most folks around here who live in 4000 sq ft mansions all have about 2-5 cars per household... some of that excess is so that they have a backup. Seems pretty unwise to me.

  24. #24
    Urban "Dirtbag" chennai's Avatar
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    Tightwad's delivery idea is a good one. I used it when I lived atop a hill in San Francisco and had only panniers. Not for everything, but for the very heavy and bulky stuff that I didn't buy that often, it was great.

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    good for about 50lbs of groceries, store is 1.5 miles away

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