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Utility Cycling Want to haul groceries, beer, maybe even your kids? You don't have to live car free to put your bike to use as a workhorse. Here's the place to share and learn about the bicycle as a utility vehicle.

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Old 05-06-07, 12:47 AM   #1
Cosmoline
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My Shopping Setup

This is my current shopping setup, from a photo taken today. I picked up the big paniers off craigslist. The don't exactly fit the bike, but they work fine wedged into the existing back rack, with an automotive hose clasp of all things used to secure them. The tension of the load forces the basket to ride more securely and it hasn't fallen off or come loose yet after a several dozen loads. The beauty is I can remove the whole thing by simply taking off the hose clamp and lifting it off the back rack. I think almost anything can be secured on a bike with hose clamps, brass shims and duck tape. A brass shim has been keeping my shifter in one piece for months now.

The paniers carry a ton, plus I can use the back rack to carry more if needed. Between that, the front basket and my backpack I can haul more on the bike than I ever did in a car. And I can carry the whole vehicle including groceries right to my door.




Last edited by Cosmoline; 05-06-07 at 01:00 AM.
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Old 05-06-07, 04:58 AM   #2
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Cosmoline - that looks like a durable and convenient setup. I like the fact that you can quickly remove the panniers if needed.

I'm thinking about using my kid trailer as a grocery trailer. I think it should work, but I might need to use an elastic cargo net to keep stuff from shifting around too much . It's about a 4 mile ride to the closest grocery, but I'm thinking about also riding a bit further (8 miles each way) to the bigger grocery store which has a slightly better selection of stuff.

Great pics! How far is your ride to the store? What do you do about perishable items while your riding? I'm thinking of bringing a cooler and some ice packs to carry stuff like dairy, meat, etc..
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Old 05-06-07, 05:02 AM   #3
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Interesting mounting system there...but as long as it works Need to find you a "Newsboy" front basket then you would be set Years ago my cargo bike was a monster single speed Chicago built Schwinn Heavy Duty with the biggest rear saddle basket and front basket Wald makes. I got to use to do my paper route, but it sure came in handy for those trips to the grocery store, and to return deposit bottles to the depot I did have a "sport" bike for those Sunday afternoon dates

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Old 05-06-07, 12:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cynergy
Great pics! How far is your ride to the store? What do you do about perishable items while your riding? I'm thinking of bringing a cooler and some ice packs to carry stuff like dairy, meat, etc..
This being Alaska that's not a huge issue most of the year. But certainly I could rig a small cooler on top of the back rack if needed. My full load shopping runs range from two miles round trip to about six miles.
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Old 05-06-07, 01:25 PM   #5
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Most people I know carry frozen and cold food in their car for 30 minutes or more with no issues... I do have a soft-side cooler that I use to carry frozen items to work (just under an hour ride)

I can carry frozen groceries from the nearest three stores to my house with no problems at all.
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Old 05-07-07, 07:36 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wahoonc
Interesting mounting system there...but as long as it works Need to find you a "Newsboy" front basket then you would be set Years ago my cargo bike was a monster single speed Chicago built Schwinn Heavy Duty with the biggest rear saddle basket and front basket Wald makes. I got to use to do my paper route, but it sure came in handy for those trips to the grocery store, and to return deposit bottles to the depot I did have a "sport" bike for those Sunday afternoon dates

Aaron
Yes, my first thought on seeing the pic:"With a bigger front basket it would look like a paper delivery bike from my youth."
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Old 05-07-07, 05:21 PM   #7
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The paper delivery bike was probably the last utility bicycle most Americans owned.

But keep in mind the Rat will carry upwards of 500 lbs., so it's not exactly a little Schwinn.
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Old 05-07-07, 07:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cosmoline
The paper delivery bike was probably the last utility bicycle most Americans owned.

But keep in mind the Rat will carry upwards of 500 lbs., so it's not exactly a little Schwinn.
Neither was the Schwinn Heavy Duty. It was built specifically for newspaper carriers and I loaded the crap out of mine. I bet my load topped 200# on a Sunday route. I would have all baskets packed full and a full shoulder bag sitting on top of the rear baskets. It rode like a loaded pig on Sundays and you didn't want to have it fall over

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Old 05-07-07, 08:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cosmoline
This is my current shopping setup, from a photo taken today.
A most elegant set-up of cleverness and practicality.
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Old 05-08-07, 07:56 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wahoonc
I would have all baskets packed full and a full shoulder bag sitting on top of the rear baskets. It rode like a loaded pig on Sundays and you didn't want to have it fall over

Aaron
I loaded my Raleigh like that occasionally when I'd sub for another carrier. I'd run two routes at once. My sunday route would fill both rear baskets and the front basket, two routes required all baskets stuffed tight plus two shoulder bags. When it fell over I had to unload and reload to get it back up. Once I made the mistake of throwing the front basket with the rears still loaded with the shoulder bags on top, hit a bump and went over backwards. After that I brought weight forward as I emptied the front basket. Too bad I didn't take photos, to post when some car person whines that you can't carry a bag of dogfood on a bike. I was 11 years old when I began carrying papers like that.
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Old 05-12-07, 04:34 PM   #11
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Cosmoline - I braved the suburban streets around southern NH today and did a shopping trip today. My wife and I are far from being car-free (yet) but we are trying to drive a lot less and ride a lot more.

I hooked my kid trailer to my Schwinn Sierra comfort bike and rode to the larger grocery store. Round trip, the ride is about 16 miles. It was quite pleasant, especially with the beautiful weather that we had today (60's, sunny, low humidity). I like using the bike trailer to haul groceries. Motorists seem to be more cautious when they see me riding with the trailer. They assume that I'm hauling my kids, but today I was hauling groceries.

Here are some low res pics of the setup

Bike & Trailer...


Trailer contents


Notice the black and tan soft cooler in the front. I brought the cooler and some ice packs along to store the meats, dairy, and ice cream during the ride home.

It was a lot of fun taking this trip. Going by bike has the added benefit that it makes me think twice about impulsive purchases. Before I put anything in the shopping cart, I thought about how much it weighed and how bulky it was. I only bought the things we really needed today.

I was a little conservative today and didn't buy too much food. I guesstimate that I had maybe 40 or 50 pounds of stuff. I had to buy some canned foods (tomatos) and meats (we're having a mother's day meal for my wife's family tomorrow) and these items were the heaviest components of the load.

Normally when I tow the trailer, I have about 76 pounds of kid in the back (48 lbs + 28lbs) so pulling the groceries wasn't too hard to do. Next time I go, I'm going to buy a little more and see how that goes.

The soft cooler worked well for me. When I got home the ice cream, frozen fruits, and other items were still nice and cold.

Higher res versions of the setup can be found at the following links,

http://home.comcast.net/~cynergyou/shopping1.jpg
http://home.comcast.net/~cynergyou/shopping2.jpg
http://home.comcast.net/~cynergyou/shopping3.jpg

The next thing I gotta do is figure out how to pack up my over/under shotgun and equipment bag to ride over to the skeet range to shoot a few rounds of skeet! Cosmoline, any tips on riding to the range? How do you transport your long arm safely?
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Old 05-21-07, 05:40 PM   #12
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Cool! The weight on most of those kid trailers is about 100 lbs. But I believe you can increase that considerably with some modifications. I've got one in pieces currently that I'm hoping to turn into my mega hauler. If you poke around there are some other threads in this forum about experimentations with these trailers.

Quote:
The next thing I gotta do is figure out how to pack up my over/under shotgun and equipment bag to ride over to the skeet range to shoot a few rounds of skeet! Cosmoline, any tips on riding to the range? How do you transport your long arm safely?
I either tie the long guns to the back rack in their bags or sling them in a scabbard on my backpack. It works pretty well. Ammo has been the only real problem. I have to be careful to break up the stack and distrubute it evenly between me and the various racks and baskets or the bike can get off-balance. There is a new Swedish army bike designed to take a fully loaded ammo can on the front rack, but mine's not that strong. With an over/under you should be able to simply break the shotgun down and pack it in a backpack or on the rack.

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Old 05-21-07, 09:02 PM   #13
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A most elegant set-up of cleverness and practicality.
Or, put differently:

That bike is hawt, Cosmoline
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Old 05-24-07, 06:48 PM   #14
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Thanks! I do get a lot of positive remarks about it.
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Old 05-24-07, 11:15 PM   #15
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I am really hesitant to post these... but this what I ride to the supermarket.




Click to enlarge.

Last edited by Juggler2; 06-06-07 at 11:25 PM.
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Old 05-25-07, 12:29 AM   #16
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Very nice, Juggler2! Those rear baskets are fantastic. My housemate has a pair and she found some rafting drybags for really cheap that fit them perfectly.
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Old 05-25-07, 06:04 AM   #17
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+1 I found a set of those at the local thrift shop for $4. I'm putting them on my backup bike, an MTB. It may become my shopping bike. I'm using panniers for now.
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