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First car-free grocery trip

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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.

First car-free grocery trip

Old 09-24-08, 09:56 AM
  #1  
Hobartlemagne 
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First car-free grocery trip

I had put it off too long. I had the time and was desperately in need of a small
number of critical ingredients for some upcoming cooking. My only worry there
was was how I would transport the food home since I don't have a rack or panniers.
I brought a small, nylon luggage strap with clips on each end with me. I bought
only enough that would fit in a grocery bag. I had the checker double-bag it, and
I attached my luggage strap to the handles, creating a makeshift messenger type
bag. It worked really well, the whole trip taking only 45 minutes. I'm not afraid anymore!
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Old 09-24-08, 10:16 AM
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congratulations! It only gets easier from here! Very ingenious idea for turning a grocery bag into a messenger bag. I might actually give that a shot as ive got two nice cloth tote bags, with no convenient way to attach them to my bike. Cheers!
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Old 09-24-08, 11:53 AM
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The value of a basket on the front ,or grocrey panniers on the rear, can not be overstated!!
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Old 09-24-08, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Hobartlemagne View Post
My only worry there
was was how I would transport the food home since I don't have a rack or panniers.
I brought a small, nylon luggage strap with clips on each end with me. I bought
only enough that would fit in a grocery bag. I had the checker double-bag it, and
I attached my luggage strap to the handles, creating a makeshift messenger type
bag. It worked really well, the whole trip taking only 45 minutes. I'm not afraid anymore!
You need to get something a little more permanent if you are going to continue transporting your food with a bike. Plastic bags (it sounds like you were using those...) are a terrible idea, but the main thing is that you need something solid when you are on the bike. A good system that can take 30-40 pounds when you need to. I recall having a few nightmare trips with jury-rigged bags before I got real panniers... almost lost a wheel ... or worse.
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Old 09-24-08, 06:36 PM
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I keep two velcro straps twisted around my seat tube. If I ever need to carry something unexpected, or just dont care to bring a pannier, it works great for strapping stuff to the top of my rack. Many times I have carried a handle of liquor (plastic bottle) to a party where I didn't want to keep up with a pannier, or used them to secure extra groceries when I get too many to fit in my pannier. Even without panniers, racks are very useful. And cheap. Nashbar has some on sale for $15.
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Old 09-24-08, 07:26 PM
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When I was car free, I walked to get my groceries because it was 2 km round trip. I just used a large backpack, and only bought as much as I knew I could carry 1 km.
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Old 09-25-08, 10:15 AM
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i don't always ride with my panniers unless i know i'm gonna be picking something up, and sometimes i don't have my bag with me (very rarely) but i always have a bungee cord hooked up to my rear rack incase i need to carry something comes in handy! and yes panniers can be a life saver esp when you don't own a car! i usually carry a few changes of clothes in mine since i don't always crash at my house and need clean clothes for work
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Old 09-25-08, 10:57 AM
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Well done. I'm going to be making my first grocery trip with my Xtracycle this weekend.
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Old 09-25-08, 11:15 AM
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My wife and I have been doing the grocery thing on our bikes this summer. She has 2 panniers designed to hold brown grocery bags. The rest, I pull in the trailer with my son. This is the first bike she's owned as an adult and hasn't had any issues with the extra weight of the groceries. I'm very impressed and proud.
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Old 09-28-08, 08:31 AM
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You people are using bikes?

That's overdoing it. Just walk, like I do.

(it helps that my store is on the next corner )
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Old 09-28-08, 08:41 AM
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When I was in undergrad, I walked and used a backpack/hands to carry my groceries. Now I use the bike + the backpack for anything that fits, and the car for anything that doesn't.
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Old 09-28-08, 12:08 PM
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Shopping on my bike isn't a chore, I like shopping on my bike. It forces me to be more strategic about my shopping. I generally don't buy more than I need, which results in things being eaten rather than going bad. The down side is that ice cream melts. I have to pick up ice cream after grocery shopping and the ice cream store is further away than the grocery store, which means I have to ride to the ice cream store with my groceries. It's all worth it once I get to eat the ice cream though.
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Old 09-28-08, 01:23 PM
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Just came back from a grocery run. Fit a 12-pack of tissue paper AND a quart of butter into the backpack. Tight squeeze, but it worked. : D
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Old 09-28-08, 02:50 PM
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Hmmm.

We ride because carrying is harder - even if it is 500m or so.

Of course we do pick up a bushel of tomatoes at a time. Can them for the winter. Converted kiddy trailer works great.
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Old 09-29-08, 02:24 AM
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I've carried stuff in all sorts of manner, from double-bagged plastic grocery bags on the handlebars, to the backpack fully loaded to panniers for my now-regular 30-mile round-trip grocery run. I've even stuffed stuff into the back pocket of a jersey (most recently, a half-litre carton of milk on Saturday), or even under a shirt tucked into my trousers.

If you haven't got panniers, the backpack is the obvious way to go. The one I have can be stuffed into its own pocket and strapped under the seat if need.

Next time, HLM, what about a pillowcase?

People are afraid they are going to damage food when transporting it on a bike. The classic concern, of course, is eggs. I have found them to be a lot tougher to break than at first thought. The last dozen lot came home over 25km this past weekend in a bag on top the rear rack that also contained three loaves of bread. Not a problem! Even with 25C tyres at 80psi and some roughish bitumen.

I've also found that unless the temps get up to 30-plus deg C, chillled and frozen goods will do quite nicely packed together in a pannier and travelling for around 90 minutes before being tossed into the fridge at home.

So fear not anymore. Grocery shopping really is a cinch by bicycle
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Old 09-29-08, 03:11 AM
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Originally Posted by uke View Post
When I was in undergrad, I walked and used a backpack/hands to carry my groceries. Now I use the bike + the backpack for anything that fits, and the car for anything that doesn't.
I have Wald baskets all around for Germaine...Front and paperboys.

I saw later on that I did not get the largest paperboy size they make but then again I got them back in a trade so oh well.
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Old 09-29-08, 03:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Nightshade View Post
The value of a basket on the front ,or grocrey panniers on the rear, can not be overstated!!
I tend to overload a bit (30+ lbs maybe) and roll home slowly and steadily when I shop as I try to get as much as I can and combine my trips.

I strap long loads like lumber from the head tube back and use my rack space when I can.

I probably resemble this:
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Old 09-29-08, 07:48 AM
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My first grocery run actually happened before I was even a bike commuter. One evening I had a craving for chili, but I had nothing to make it with. I had a truck then, but it was nice out so I hopped on my MTB, rode to the store, and came back with supplies dangling from my handlebars in a bag. It was a revelation. Next thing you know I'm hauling 60 pounds of groceries and loving it.
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Old 09-30-08, 03:00 AM
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Food has more value when you haul it home. Amazing transformation.
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Old 09-30-08, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by wheel View Post
Food has more value when you haul it home. Amazing transformation.
Exactly! Item's other than food do as well. Especially the extra large laundry detergent, or Costco sized box of granola bars, or really anything that is bulky and/or heavy. I have a hard time hopping curbs if I've got a watermelon in my panniers.
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Old 09-30-08, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by wheel View Post
Food has more value when you haul it home. Amazing transformation.
You are so right!

Every fall I take a ride out in the country on a warm sunny day. I stop at a farmhouse where they sell tomatoes. They have a scale and a tacklebox on the table, and you leave the money there on the honor system. I buy an entire backpack full of red ripe tomatoes.

I go straight home and dice the tomatoes, then fry them in olive oil with just some salt, pepper and the basil. I put individual servings in baggies, then freeze them all in a freezer bag.

All winter I have delicious homemade tomato sauce that I use on pasta, rice, or vegetables. The sauce not only tastes great on a cold day, but every time I eat it I'm reminded of my last warm and sunny ride in the country.
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