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Gathering Groceries

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Old 06-25-18, 04:04 PM
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Radical Rick
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Gathering Groceries

Hello everyone. This is my first post here. I've been reading a while, and I hope to be able to contribute to the forum in the future.

I've been riding my 20" bmx around campus for exercise. Conservatively 4-8 miles a day. Mostly doing tricks and what have ya, but also serious endurance type riding. Well about a week ago my truck broke. Parts won't get here for about five more days. So until I can fix my truck I'm using the bmx as my main form of transportation. Its totally awesome I feel like a kid again.

The only downside is hauling stuff around. I've gotten used to using my truck for all my errands. Now that I'm on the bike hauling stuff seems nearly impossible.

Does anyone have any tips for hauling groceries??? I've been reading about people who use racks and panniers, but I'm on a bmx. My last trip to the store seemed okay, but any tips will be greatly appreciated. I really need a good system because my bike runs on tacos. I have a grocery store about half mile away so distance isn't an issue. The problem is getting groceries home efficiently without ruining, or crushing everything.

Also, I plan to get a bigger bike to commute on, even after I fix my truck. I think I'm hooked on bicycle commuting. Its so much fun, and you get to see the world from a whole other perspective. I haven't used my bike for transportation since my first car. A car took cycling away from me, now in a way a car has given it back.

Last edited by Radical Rick; 06-25-18 at 04:07 PM. Reason: crushing
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Old 06-25-18, 04:09 PM
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In your case, backpack or a musette bag with a really long strap so it goes over your shoulders...the ones our local bike to work day give out are perfect.
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Old 06-25-18, 04:25 PM
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What about the crushing of the bread? I need to get it home in one loaf. What about carrying water? The tap water here really sucks. Last trip I was worried about spilling milk in my bag. The milk was fine, but I bruised some apples. Is it better to make a trip to the store everyday, or try to carry more at once.
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Old 06-25-18, 04:35 PM
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Do you have more than one bmx bike? Although you probably don't have any eyelets designed for attaching a rack there are options to attach racks to the hub axle, seatpost, and/or seat stays. One of the bikes I use for touring and grocery shopping is my folding bike with 20" wheels using a standard Blackburn rear rack and full size panniers. But I could see how a rack on your bike would interfere with some typical bmx maneuvers so this would be more feasible if you had multiple bikes and could designate one of them for utility-type trips.
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Old 06-25-18, 05:14 PM
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Nah man, only one bike right now. I have a 26" mountain bike but its 4 hours away. My truck is out of commission right now so I'm stuck on the 20. Soon I will be building up a commuter for running errands. I'm realizing all the fun I've been missing out on not commuting by bike.
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Old 06-25-18, 05:46 PM
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With the grocery store half a mile away, I would definitely just take frequent trips and buy a few things each time. You can also consider walking if you're buying bulky but not heavy items. I walk to my grocery store that's half a mile away year-round (granted, don't need to buy water and Seattle weather is much milder than most places).

Lastly, consider buying a water filter (Brita or PUR) so you don't need to buy water all the time?
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Old 06-25-18, 05:52 PM
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Get a child trailer.
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Old 06-26-18, 09:10 AM
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Yup, a child trailer would be great for you. Are you in a bike-heavy area? Most bike commuter folks are pretty friendly and mellow (from all the riding and fresh air!). If this is a short-term situation, I'd see if someone had a trailer, or a bike, to lend you for a few days. Never hurts to ask, maybe find a local bike board (c-list?) and put a posting on there.

I use a bike for everything, since I really don't like being in a car, sitting in traffic, waiting for lights, or dealing with aggressive drivers. I have a dedicated commuter bike with a rear rack and panniers. I absolutely love using a bicycle for everything, from groceries, to getting to my office, to biking my son around, to getting some exercise.

Good luck!
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Old 06-26-18, 09:23 AM
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BIG backpack, or large rucksack. Don't hang shopping bags from your bars. I know, you probably will and I have myself, but bad idea.

Bread, and fruit goes on top of the bag, or hanging on the handlebars if you must.
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Old 06-26-18, 10:18 AM
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A half mile? Do what we do here in NYC. We walk, often much more than a half mile, and often with four bags or more. Yes, our arms get tired. If you walk briskly, you'll get exercise, especially if you hold the bags up higher than you need to. I'm crazy, so that's what I do. I've hauled plenty of groceries on bike, and I've decided it's better to walk.

Bread is the trickiest, much harder than eggs. Eggs almost always survive. Bread is often crushed.

I would give you suggestions for carrying stuff on your bike, but it really is tricky on a BMX.

As for water, you'll save a lot of money and the environment if you get a filter for your tap. As bad as your water tastes, it's probably safe, and a filter will make it taste better and may even make it safer.
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Old 06-26-18, 09:05 PM
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Water is a must here. Its over laden with fracking chemicals, and fertilizer run off. Most everyone I know around here drinks bottled water, they don't even like to cook with the city water.

I may try walking for larger purchases. Its been averaging 103 here so the bike is more comfortable than walking.

Even for the size of this city CL is almost unused. The folks that use it have been trying to sell the same stuff for over a year. I look about once a week and there is only a few new items. Being optimistic I put up an add looking for a bike anyway, and some pushy wack-job keeps trying to sell me a rusted Walmart bike that needs tires and tubes for only a hundred dollars.

I made a run to the store today and biked home with a gallon of water, vegetables, English muffins, and a few other things. I was able to make it home without crushing anything.

I'm starting to enjoy this more and more. I feel like I should have been doing this all along. Parking lot navigation is a breeze, hop a curb and I'm at the front door.
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Old 06-26-18, 09:39 PM
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I use a solid military style day bag to carry my stuff to work every day.

It's roomy, comfortable, and doesn't cause a ton of back sweat.

Mine is made by orca tactical, and was about $35.

If you have never had a military style backpack brit, GET ONE. They are very handy and last for years.
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Old 06-26-18, 09:56 PM
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Get to a goodwill and get a backpack. Pack the breakable/crushable stuff there. As far as the other stuff ask the market for a plastic milk crate. Figure a way to strap it to the handlebar and Shazam your good to go.
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Old 06-26-18, 09:57 PM
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A jansport backpack has an awesome warranty if it gets damaged. So you may look for a new one as well.
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Old 06-27-18, 10:08 AM
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Wow, you have challenges I haven't considered. But good work. You will get better with practice!

Long ago, I lived on the 4th floor (three flights above ground floor) of a building with no elevator. I used my bike for everything. I had a big milk crate on the back of my bike. When I had a heavy load of groceries, I sometimes carried the whole darned thing up the stairs, and I sometimes made two trips. Neither approach made it easy. But I got strong. I didn't carry water, but I did carry cat litter, also heavy.

And speaking of that, I live on the 4th floor now, and major elevator renovations start tomorrow. We will be elevatorless for the rest of the summer!

Here is another tip: always take stairs two at a time. That's what I do, even when I'm carrying heavy stuff. It builds strength. I took a few years away from the bike, and when I got back on, I was still strong, because I was climbing a lot of stairs two at a time. But you live in Texas. Do you have stairs?
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Old 06-27-18, 04:11 PM
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Lately the goodwill stores around these parts stared selling, new, low quality Chinese backpacks for profit. They quit selling used ones about two years ago. They have the occasional pack come through but they are usually torn up. I think they do this so you will buy the new ones.

I have been thinking of getting a military type bag. I've been pondering on this for about a year. I may go ahead and make a purchase.

For whatever reason I've had really bad luck with Jansport packs. All through school I had one, and the zippers always broke. Also, the straps would give me problems. This is weird because I know someone who had the same Jansport for over 10 years. They used it heavily, and had no problems whatsoever.

No stairs at my house. No stairs at school. I really feel bad because I have to sit nearly all day long. Usually from 8-4 I sit in a chair, and I don't get to do much walking around. I have never sat this much, not even in my high school days. I decided to attend college, and all I do here is sit. I sit at school, I sit at home to do homework. Its really annoying. I get a ten minute break every hour, and an hour for lunch, but it doesn't seem to help. I'm not liking this sedentary schedule, but I will graduate in December so I will be free from sitting all day. When I do happen to find some stairs I either jump down about seven, or bunny hop up about two. There are stairs around here, but I don't ever walk em. I bike em.
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Old 06-27-18, 04:22 PM
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A study came out recently that showed that your lifelong fitness might depend not as much on how much you exercise but how much you sit. More sitting is worse health. A lot of people are getting standing desks and desks that can be cranked up and down. Sitting is death. I should know. I needed back surgery from sitting too much when I was 27 years old. I'm 57 now and doing better but still sitting too much.
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Old 06-28-18, 07:11 AM
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I like the idea of a kid trailer. I think that would hook on the bmx no problem and keep the weight and stuff off your back in the heat.
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Old 06-28-18, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
A study came out recently that showed that your lifelong fitness might depend not as much on how much you exercise but how much you sit. More sitting is worse health. A lot of people are getting standing desks and desks that can be cranked up and down. Sitting is death. I should know. I needed back surgery from sitting too much when I was 27 years old. I'm 57 now and doing better but still sitting too much.
You speak truly - I think that study showed that sitting 8 hours is detrimental enough to totally counter the health benefits of daily moderate exercise ( 30 minutes of it IIRC). Fortunately getting up and moving around every hour or two remedies it ... which made me wonder if the guys that take 15 minute smoke breaks every hour are getting a health benefit from it that we've been missing ...
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Old 06-28-18, 07:50 AM
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Water, I hated hauling that. My wife used to load me down with one or two 32-bottle packs to strap on my rack and then canned goods on top of that I think I'd rather take multiple trips if it's a short distance.
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Old 06-28-18, 07:54 AM
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And it might be worth looking into delivery service for water and other heavy items. I don't know if it's available, but you could check. It may not be expensive.

@wphamilton, I truly believe the smoke break offers a certain health benefit, though I won't claim that it's better on balance to get up and smoke than to sit and not smoke.
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Old 06-28-18, 10:03 PM
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Luckily I have given up smoking a few years back. Aside from the yearly stogie or two I don't want to start that again. I have often wondered if there is a health benefit of some kind from smoking. When I was younger I used to ride my bike about five miles just to bum a smoke off a friend. I once pedaled about 20 miles to go party. In terms of this there were a short term benefits. But in the long run I got hooked on smoking a pack a day. I've heard of old timers living past 90 smoking over a pack a day. Also stories about cigs curing pneumonia. There are just too many variables when it comes to the pros and cons of smoking. Plus I don't think those old timers smokes had all the additives.

My fuel pump arrived today, I installed it as soon as I got home. I made a trip to buy a bunch of water. It was 105 on my thermometer in the truck while I was out. I started feeling terrible because I saw two different bike commuters out in the heat. This is just to hot for me, but I felt bad about driving while they were pedaling. I thought to myself that I should be the one pedaling. I guess some people are just ultimate badasses. Once it cooled off I went for a pretty good ride.

Even though I fixed my truck I'm planning on riding the bike tomorrow morning. It just felt weird driving after using the bike as my main transport. Parking in the truck was somewhat stressful. I've been just casually cruising through parking lots on the bike. With the truck I feel like I have to watch out for everyone. Oddly enough I feel safer riding the bike. I feel like I have a better connection with the road, and my surroundings.

I'm devising a plan to use the truck to go places I can't pedal to in a reasonable amount of time. Also for greater distances.

In about a week I'm making a trip to get one of my other bikes. I'm going to build a commuter bike up, and use the bmx for exercise. Whats a good setup for a commuter? Should I be shooting for a more upright stance, or leaned forward. Or is it just personal preference. Only reason I ask is my whole life I have mostly used a bmx bike. I've never really known what to look for in a geared bike.
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Old 06-29-18, 08:26 AM
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We don't have many 105 degree days here, but we do have a few bad winter days, and I avoid riding in them. I think it's fine to avoid the bike on the worst weather days, whether they're hot or cold. Don't feel bad for using the right tool for the job.

The evidence is out. The pros of smoking are vastly outweighed by the cons of smoking. Smoking is bad. On the other hand, cycling is good. You might get killed on the road, but cyclists live longer and healthier than inactive people.
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Old 06-29-18, 11:03 AM
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Its reasons like these that Gods invented hand and feet.
Walk to a store, fill your backpack with heavy items, fill shopping bags with fragile things.
Go shopping more than once a week, less food waste.
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Old 06-29-18, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Radical Rick View Post
In about a week I'm making a trip to get one of my other bikes. I'm going to build a commuter bike up, and use the bmx for exercise. Whats a good setup for a commuter? Should I be shooting for a more upright stance, or leaned forward. Or is it just personal preference. Only reason I ask is my whole life I have mostly used a bmx bike. I've never really known what to look for in a geared bike.
You don't need a geared bike, you can commute on fixed gear and single speed. Having said that, commuter bike preference is very personal. Some go for tough, tank-like stability with bags mounted everywhere, while others go for light and nimble. Coming from a BMX, you might feel more comfortable on a more agile bike? Like a drop-bar gravel/adventure bike that you can swap out tires depending on terrain, so slicks for going fast and treaded or wide for off-road for a good balance without compromising much.

If you don't want to carry stuff on your back, it's a lot easier to manage with a bike with some rack mounts. Lots of bikes have those now, so it doesn't limit your options too much. If you bike in the rain, fender mounts are also handy though not absolutely necessary because there are a lot of attachment options.

You could start out with a cheap and/or used bike, just to get a sense for what your preferences are, then upgrade later when you have a clearer idea of what you need.
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