In short, quaxing is just shopping by bike, walking or transit. The unusual term was coined after a New Zealand politician made a snide comment, assuming that shopping by bike is unlikely or impossible. For more details & photos, check out Hilary Angus' story on Momentum, How #quaxing Became a Rallying Call for Everyday Cyclists.
I love that shopping by bike has become a 'thing' & how has a name. It's something I've been doing for ages, more than a decade before I ever got a cargo bike & it's really not all that hard to do. So in case you're new at quaxing, I thought I'd share some tips with you that I've learned in my 15+ years of shopping by bike:
- Rack it! You really don't need a whole lot of special gear to shop for a few things by bike. However, a rear rack is a good idea & not expensive. It'll increase your capacity by a lot.
- Bungees for the win! Keep a bungee cord or two on your rear rack, that you can use to strap down large items like 15-roll toilet paper packages or bags of kitty litter.
- Bags in back. It is possible to hang one or two shopping bags off your handlebars, but unless you're only going a couple blocks on a very quiet street, it'll really affect your steering, so I wouldn't advise it. Tying the bags to your rear rack is a more stable option.
- N+1 bags. Always have an extra reusable shopping bag with you, ideally one that has handles long enough for you to slip on your shoulders like a backpack in a pinch. If you end up buying more than you intended to, you can still get your stuff home.
- Grab a box. A bungee can also be used to secure a cardboard box to your rear rack if needed. The sturdy fruit boxes that have holes through them in several places are perfect for this & will hold bulky items like milk jugs or bags of potatoes. Most stores have extra boxes in a bin or will give them to you if asked.
- Skip the bags. If you do have panniers or baskets, bring them into the store with you & pack your purchases directly into them at the till. Heavy items on the bottom, lighter on the top & take care to keep items with corners away from your fruit to avoid bruising.
- Kid control. If you're shopping with young children in tow, plan how you'll keep them from running amok while you load up your bike. If you've got a cargo bike or a child trailer, you're golden! Just load them in first. It's still doable to shop with kids on a regular bike, however. At the grocery store, I always use a shopping cart, even if I only need one or two items, because I can keep the kids in there while I load up the bike so they don't run into the parking lot. Bringing a lightweight carrier can work in stores where you wouldn't have shopping carts, so you can keep a baby or toddler on you until you're ready to strap them into their seat. Sometimes I ask my four-year-old to help me load up or unlock the bike to keep him occupied or just get him to hold onto the bike frame.
- Get the word out. Wear your helmet into the store or mention that you're shopping by bike. We need to make sure that business owners realize how many of their customers arrive by bicycle so they'll add racks when needed & support cycling infrastructure improvements around their stores.
Hope these tips are useful for you. Have you got any to add--write them in the comments below--I'd love to hear from you!
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