Our grocery store falls within the 3-mile radius of our house, which means it’s on my list of places to bike to. Originally I thought biking to do my grocery shopping was going to be a major ordeal. However, once I got in the rhythm, it’s actually been pretty uneventful. Below I’ve put a few of the lessons learned along the way.
Pannier it up.
Grocery shopping without panniers (bags designed to hang on your bike rack) is simply a bad idea (see right). However, there have been times where I just need to grab a few items after work and I forgot to bring them with. I purchased an inexpensive pannier for $20 on clearance that I can just keep on my bike at all times. Of course, I also have the big waterproof pannier that came with my Boda Boda – which is wonderful, but I make sure to take it off when it’s not in use. If you’re looking to grocery shop, make sure you have adequate panniers!
In addition to groceries you’ll have a wallet, a phone, and keys with you as well (not to mention a spare tube and pump if you decide to bring them). Find a backpack you can use for your bike grocery adventures that has plenty of space to be packed with groceries. Backpacks are also handy if you’re going to make a couple stops (if what you buy at the first stops fits in the bag).
Invest in bungee cords.
Not everything fits perfectly in a pannier and sometimes your panniers just fill up. Bungee cords come in wonderfully handy when you’re trying to strap on all sorts of odds and ends – especially boxed items. I always keep at least one bungee strapped
Think Through Your Route.
When driving, our grocery store trip includes a massive uphill climb over a bridge; this is a lot less enjoyable when weighed down with groceries. Know the route you’ll take back, not just figuring lights and stop signs, but climbs as well.
Grocery shopping by bike does not need to be a big deal – you may even find a few things you like about it. For example, I’ve found when I’m grocery shopping by bike, I am even better at sticking to my shopping list. (It’s worth noting that I’ve been told by other cyclists that when they’ve bought more than fits on their bike, most shops are happy to take the returns.) There’s also something about arriving on bike that causes me to make healthier decisions in what I pick – but that might just be me.
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