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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 10-31-17, 09:47 AM   #1
TakingMyTime
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Carrying Groceries and more

Since retiring, I've wanted to start running some of my small grocery and shopping errands on my bike. I'm currently tearing down and lubing my Trek 7.4 FX and decided it's time to start looking for a set of fenders and some rear panniers or baskets to hold my grocery bags.

What I need help with is identifying a nice set of fenders and some rear baskets. I understand the fender size is contingent on the width of the tires I choose, so that will be taken into account when I make my purchase. I don't need anything "quick release". As far as rear baskets or panniers go, I'll leave that up to you. These will more than likely be permanent and I would like something that would accept an average size bag of groceries.

I'd like to buy something sturdy, but it doesn't have to survive a nuclear blast. I'm also not interested in spending a fortune.
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Old 10-31-17, 10:42 AM   #2
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Planetbike has a great variety of fenders. I prefer fenders which enclose the tire at the sides and come down on the back of the front wheel. So most water stays inside.

As for baskets I have different solutions on different bikes. I have a set of Wald folding baskets on one bike. These ones:
582 Rear Folding Basket - Waldsports

And I am using Ortlieb backroller panniers on another.
I personally prefer the panniers because:
- They have more volume than the baskets
- You can carry them in the store and load them in the store.
- They are waterproof.

But the Ortlieb panniers are expensive. But they are worth every penny. Mine are over 20 years old with no tears, holes or any other damage.

I also bought a cheap set of panniers for my wife at IKEA but she doesn't ride her bike often and has not used them much yet.

On the front of one of my bikes I use an Electra handlebar metal basket with quick release. A nice feature is that you can unhook it with the press of a button. This also allows you to take it inside the store.

And for the bulky items I have a trailer (Burley Travoy). And that trailer I take inside the store as well and use it as my shopping cart.
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Old 10-31-17, 03:54 PM   #3
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Ortleibs are great bags. We use them on our tours as to most people I see touring.


They are also used widely in Europe for commuting/shopping. In our tour there, it seem like every commuter shopping at the grocery had an Ortlieb.

Love to hear about people thinking bike first and car second when it comes to commuting!
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Old 11-04-17, 08:22 PM   #4
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My wife and I use Ortliebs for touring or around town when we want whatever we are carrying to be enclosed (out of the weather or out of sight). But for grocery shopping or other around town errands we use open top panniers like JANDD Shop Hopper Panniers (https://www.jandd.com/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=FRR-SH). I know other manufacturers (Giant) have a similar product. The advantage of these panniers is they can be taken into the store, and we just drop our purchase in and go (no need for a secondary disposable bag). I've carried some pretty heavey and bulky loads using 2 of the JANDD panniers.
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Old 11-04-17, 09:56 PM   #5
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Thanks for the suggestions. The ability to easily take them off the bike and carry them into the store and use them instead of paying for a bag is a huge plus.
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Old 11-06-17, 11:21 AM   #6
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My wife and I use Ortliebs for touring or around town when we want whatever we are carrying to be enclosed (out of the weather or out of sight). But for grocery shopping or other around town errands we use open top panniers like JANDD Shop Hopper Panniers (https://www.jandd.com/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=FRR-SH). I know other manufacturers (Giant) have a similar product. The advantage of these panniers is they can be taken into the store, and we just drop our purchase in and go (no need for a secondary disposable bag). I've carried some pretty heavey and bulky loads using 2 of the JANDD panniers.
The Ortlieb can be taken into the store as well. They easily disconnect from the bike rack.
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Old 11-08-17, 08:35 AM   #7
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Another option to the baskets or a rear rack and panniers is to get a 2 kid trailer and leave out the seats and belts.
I've used a kiddie trailer to haul groceries, laundry, and shopping home for going on 20 years now.
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Old 11-08-17, 03:13 PM   #8
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Single Wheel Bicycle Trailer for Cargo BCT-8002 | Discount Ramps

Cheap, easy to hook up and remove, and hauls a lot of groceries. Can't beat it for cases of toilet paper, laundry and other bulky items, plus it lets heavy stuff ride low enough to not be an issue.
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Old 11-08-17, 04:55 PM   #9
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Single Wheel Bicycle Trailer for Cargo BCT-8002 | Discount Ramps

Cheap, easy to hook up and remove, and hauls a lot of groceries. Can't beat it for cases of toilet paper, laundry and other bulky items, plus it lets heavy stuff ride low enough to not be an issue.
I like these kind of trailers but I think they would not work on my bikes as I don't have and cannot use quick connects on my 3x7 SRAM/Sachs hubs with the internal gears and the little chain coming out of the axle on the right side.
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Old 11-09-17, 11:04 AM   #10
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I use my Quickly released Ortlieb panniers and the checker puts the groceries in them without using any of the store carry-out bags.
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Old 11-10-17, 07:02 AM   #11
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I've used a pair of Nashbar Townie open top folding grocery bag panniers for two years, once or twice a week, often heavily loaded with up to a 20 lb container of cat litter or similarly heavy stuff. No problems. Quick and easy to use, mount and dismount, although I leave 'em on the bike. A standard paper grocery sack or similarly sized tote fits perfectly inside.

There are several similar models by other makers but at $20 the Nashbar Townies are the best buy in this style bag. That's half the former full price and when I got mine two years ago I waited for the sale price at $25 each.
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Old 11-10-17, 05:54 PM   #12
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I have a milk crate on both my rides and id does nicely for small grocery runs. If I need anything more, I have my knapsack for additional carrying space. I'm going to see if it's possible to attach my panniers to said milk crate. If it's doable, bonus points for the extra carrying capacity.
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Old 11-11-17, 07:04 PM   #13
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I have Saddleman saddlebags on my (avatar) Rollfast, a full set of paperboys and front basket on Rosa my 60s Rollfast and another pair of motorcycle saddlebags bought and coming to adapt.
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Old 11-11-17, 07:05 PM   #14
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PS I used to torture my '95 Schwinn with the loads I carried, even long lumber...but no more.
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Old 11-12-17, 01:14 PM   #15
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I've used a pair of Nashbar Townie open top folding grocery bag panniers for two years, once or twice a week, often heavily loaded with up to a 20 lb container of cat litter or similarly heavy stuff. No problems. Quick and easy to use, mount and dismount, although I leave 'em on the bike. A standard paper grocery sack or similarly sized tote fits perfectly inside.
I've done heavy stuff in panniers, but with dodging potholes and such, if I'm planning to carry more than the laptop and a couple days' groceries, I hook up the trailer to keep the load low.
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Old 11-12-17, 01:28 PM   #16
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Yeah, the heavily loaded panniers can be tricky on my lighter weight rigid fork hybrid. I prefer the heavier comfort hybrid for hauling groceries. The weight, especially the heavier suspension fork, and longer wheelbase help stabilize the load. And the comfort hybrid has a compact frame and sloping top tube, so I can hoist a leg over the top tube more easily.
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Old 11-16-17, 06:31 PM   #17
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Old 11-17-17, 06:36 PM   #18
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Linus canvas rollups on my Raleigh Sports. They snap on and off a standard rack easily. Takes some coaxing but I can fit a 2/3 full paper grocery bag in each.

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Old 11-18-17, 10:50 PM   #19
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And the comfort hybrid has a compact frame and sloping top tube, so I can hoist a leg over the top tube more easily.
Anything higher than a true step-through, my old knee injuries keep me from swinging over the tube unless I nearly lay the bike down first. Same reason I can't mount from the right. OTOH, I can kick over a 2 gallon gas can with nozzle bungee'd on top of the rack.

As for the panniers, the Nashbar Rear Touring Panniers are on clearance now for $50. I caught them at an additional discount a few months ago, so paid $65 total for them and the now-discontinued front low rider rack. (They're way too big for the front rack, but it's perfect for my Axiom 20L pair.) Hard to beat the value for the size; I carry two laptops in one side fairly often, and either will hold a cold weather sleeping bag. When empty, they stay pretty flat against the frame, so not a lot of unnecessary drag.
Nashbar Rear Touring Panniers - Nashbar

Even still, hooking up the trailer for a grocery run is just good planning; I'd hate to get to the store, find a great deal on something too bulky for the panniers (like a huge pack of my preferred brand of toilet paper 50% off - that happened before I got the trailer, and more than once I've put other stuff back after realizing it would be too tricky to carry on the bike) and not have it with me.
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Old 12-06-17, 06:55 PM   #20
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this picture looks like my old bike (not the one in the garage I am about to replace but the one I owned 20+ years ago and had to give up after having no indoor storage and the weather got to it one winter), it had baskets front and back and a cross piece between the back baskets I could strap something to... I used it for groceries and school stuff and basically life... 2 years without a car of my own and then even when I had a car but couldn't park it at the building I lived in... but had to park it blocks away.. the bad part of living in a college town before I could afford a house or moved further out. The bike in our garage got used a bunch but not that way as we didn't have a grocers close enough to make it feasable and then I got sick. I am getting a trike to get back into biking (vertigo attacks meant a nasty fall the last time I rode, even though they are more under control now, I am afraid of biking) and part of my plan is to use the trike for things like groceries- debating if the one basket in back is enough or if I should get another in front? Also I'll probably eventually be commuting 2 days a week on it... so it can't be TOO big or I won't be able to park it in the office.
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Old 12-06-17, 11:06 PM   #21
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I recently got a burley travoy and am now a huge fan of this option. I can ride my bike without the added weight of racks/bags and when I want to shop, it's a 10 second click and off I go. Unclick at the store and roll the travoy in, load up, go back to bike and click on and go. There is NONE of the balancing and repacking business, none of the reattaching full grocery bags and the bike tips over, etc. Wish I had done this long ago. My bike is my car and I do all my shopping by bike.
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