Monday, May 13, 2013

I♥Biking: Grocery Shopping

This morning I headed over to the quiet aisles of the 9:30am grocery store after dropping Sprout off at daycare. Parking was a breeze--got a spot right outside the door. Headed in, loaded up my cart with what I suspect was my weight in groceries (seems like just the heavy stuff was on sale like watermelons, big jars of pickles & canned beans) then brought the cart outside to pop it all in my... panniers.

Yup. I do a lot of my grocery shopping by bike. It's WAY easier than walking or taking transit--faster too. I'm pretty sure that there are few things in life I hate more than walking with bags of groceries for several blocks. If you've got a couple of panniers (those saddle bag thingies that strap onto a rear or front rack, to the uninitiated) it's pretty doable to bring home half a shopping cart worth of groceries. I also stash things in the child seat on the front--makes for a more balanced load. Sometimes I will strap light but bulky items to my rack too. Today that was a grocery bag full of corn on the cob & a bag of onions. Some days it's a couple of multipacks of toilet paper.

Here's what I bought today:

big jar of jam, 2 jars of peanut butter, honey, 3 cans of beans, 1 kilo of chocolate chips, 2 big jars of pickles, dried dates, 2 cans of soup (I get cravings for the Campbell's stuff, though I know it's horribly high in sodium), mustard, 3 organic romaine lettuce hearts, 3 lbs of organic onions, 1 whole seedless watermelon, 6 ears of corn, 1 lb butter, 3 bottles of Perrier (I just like fizzy drinks & this is the healthiest option. Also: on sale), 2 loaves of bread (I didn't actually buy these, the delivery man from Oliver's Bakery handed them to me as I was loading up my bike. I think they're day-olds, but hey: free bread!)

You might think it's hard work riding back up the hill home, but it's really not. The bike holds the load for you & as long as you go a normal speed--not too slowly--you won't wobble with the weight. Obviously it's a bit more work than riding home unloaded, but you just gear down a bit (I recommend mountain bike gearing if you live in a hilly area) it's fine. I've done Costco trips with my bike before (& Sprout).

Of course, if you have a bike trailer, this whole trip is even easier. Our trailer--without Sprout in it--can carry a huge amount of groceries with the added benefit that we don't have to balance it on the bike. That's my excuse for the crappy photos, by the way--I was holding the loaded bike with one hand & taking a photo with the other.

A basket on the front of your bike would work, or even a big backpack. However, when the groceries are actually strapped to you rather than the bike, it really feels like more work for some reason, so if you can--get them on your bike! However you carry your purchases, grocery shopping by bike is pretty doable if you live within a few kilometres of your grocery store. It's a bit of exercise, a nice way to get outside, enjoy the wind whipping through your hair & the greenest way to travel: no carbon emissions at all!

Do you go grocery shopping by bike? Got any tips to share? Leave tips or questions (I love questions!) in the comments below...

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  1. I LOVE grocery shopping with my bike!
    For some reason I only started doing it last year and I kicked myself for not starting sooner.
    With no car (and no license) I totally relate to your hatred of lugging groceries home.
    I was thinking about getting a Costco membership but worried about getting stuff home...but I guess it really wouldn't be anymore difficult than my trip from BuyLow - just a little farther! ;)

    1. Costco--the one downtown--is totally doable. It's probably 4 km from your place--15 minutes there, maybe 20ish back in granny gear? The only time I really noticed the weight of my Costco haul on my panniers was when I came up to bike lights to press the button. I needed to work just a tad harder to keep the bike straight up. However, you've got a trailer still, right? That would make the trip super easy! Just make sure to lock it up with your bike when you're inside. :)

  2. I honestly can't imagine grocery shopping by bike! Our store is not too far, but it's quite an uphill battle to come home. And I'd have to be pulling a bike trailer with 70 lbs of kids in it too. I pick up 6 jugs of milk each week (there's 60 lbs), plus usually a heaped cart of food. It boggles the mind how much food we go through.

    1. Yeah for your neighbourhood you'd want a longtail e-bike, I think. That'd have room for all the groceries & be able to get you up the hills with less effort. The cargo capacity of a Yuba el-Mundo is 200lbs, so I'm pretty sure you could get all the groceries & the girls on it, maybe without the trailer. :)

  3. Nice Blog! Well most of your content and image is original and informative. /many thanks for sharing this, cheers.Russell


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