The Art of Grocery Getting by Bike
Grocery shopping by bike is much easier and more fun than you would think! Al and I have turned grocery shopping into a social activity. We pick a route with light traffic, riding side by side, chatting and enjoying each others’ company.
We started shopping by bike to reduce our carbon impact but we realized that there are other benefits such as saving money.
We save money in two ways:
1) GAS MONEY If you don’t use gas to shop, you end up filling your tank less.
2) GROCERY MONEY Having less cargo space to work with than on a car forces you to stick to your list more closely–and thus your budget.
The things we were most worried about: ability to carry all the groceries home safely and extra time spent getting to the grocery store turned out to be fine.
It takes a little longer to get there by bike than car on days when the traffic is light; and on days when it is heavy, we get to the store faster than in a car. However parking once we get there is always a breeze. All our favorite grocery stores have bike parking up front.
When we started out we didn’t have any racks on our bike so we carried our groceries in backpacks and if necessary balanced bags on our handlebars. You’d be surprised how much stuff you can cram into backpacks! But backpacks leave your back sweaty and are heavy. It is much better to put the cargo on your bike!
We got a newsboy basket for Al’s bike and two rear folding baskets for mine. You can easily fit full cloth grocery bags in each basket plus we can strap additional items to our racks. Michelle even has a front rack! I like to put the eggs there, where I can keep an eye on them.
When getting ready to carry cargo on your bike remember the three Bs:
Bags: Reusable cloth bags are much stronger than their plastic counterparts. Double bag for really heavy stuff like gallons of milk and cans. The handles can be tied together loosely to keep items inside and then you can run the bungee cords through the loops!
Bungees cords: Bungee cords are essential to hold everything in place.
Balance: Finally when you place cargo on your bike, whether in racks, baskets or panniers make sure the weight is balanced evenly, otherwise you could topple over!
Here’s a list of everything shown on my bike:
1 gallon of milk
1 10oz container yogurt
1 half gallon of soymilk
bag of celery
1 carton of eggs
1 box of turkey lunch meat
1 package of cheese
1 pint of light cream
2 family-sized boxes of cereal
2 loaves of bread
1 clove of garlic
8 rolls of paper towel (made from recycled paper–naturally)
And honestly there was room for more!
This summer Al and I are participating in the Cliff Bar 2-mile challenge. The idea is that many trips people regularly make in their cars are under 2 miles and thus can be made by bicycle to save money, gas and the planet. Grocery shopping is great example of this. Use the free tool from 2-mile challenge to find out which grocery stores are within a two mile radius from your home. Another great tool is walk score, which rates the walk-ability of your town or neighborhood and maps out all the local business and services for you.
The 2 mile is a fun competition to log as many miles as you can for one of three the nonprofit organizations. The organization’s team with the most miles at the end of the summer will receive $100,000 in grants! I’m riding for 350.org! So far I have logged 217 miles and saved 199.24 lbs of CO2! Find out how much C02 you have saved by logging your miles today!