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Grocery Shopping on the bike

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Grocery Shopping on the bike

Old 03-22-20, 09:08 AM
  #1  
Juan Foote
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Grocery Shopping on the bike

Thinking ahead a bit...The local grocery store(s) are 3 miles away. I have a suitable bike to carry a few items on but haven't ever had need to do a full on family shopping trip from a bicycle.

I have:
A rear rack
backpacks
a bag with super small panniers
a milk crate

I will be unable to do anything with or about a trailer or bigger panniers for the time being. If I have a need to continue to use this method I will be looking into a trailer, later.

The milk crate would seem an obvious solution but leaves the load high and susceptible to falling out. Not exactly sure how I would go about attaching it to the rear rack in a sturdy but non permanent way. I am not 100% sure I can even get ON my bike with a milk crate on the back. I would have to check, lol.
Backpack is similarly a high load and IME uncomfortable way to carry items with weight on a bike.
The bag and pannier I currently have would be good for around a meal at a time approach. I am also uncertain that my heel will clear a bigger bag.
I certainly will not be using the "hold a couple of bags by the handlebar" approach.

What do you use to carry items?
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Old 03-22-20, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Juan Foote View Post

What do you use to carry items?
I use the much maligned Wald rear baskets and tote bags on my grocery bike. When they are full, that gives you a large flattish area to bungee a kit bag similar to this or really any duffel you can cram full with no worries of losing anything. I would imagine this would work just as well with your rack and panniers. No need for a milk crate.
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Old 03-22-20, 09:53 AM
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I have a non folding Wald basket attached to the side of my rear rack by stainless hose clamps. It's a bit banged up, but is a couple decades old. When I was doing more regular shopping by bike, I had a Wald basket on each side. My dad shopped by bike for years, and his preference was for a large front basket. Agreed about laying stuff on top of the baskets after they are full. I've also carried things like building materials that way.
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Old 03-22-20, 09:54 AM
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I just use a Skog A Kust BackSak. This the 25-liter size--there is a 35-liter one as well. You can see how vast it is next to a very large bunch of large bananas. It's enormous. Works great for me, but my commute is only 2 miles to store round trip.
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Old 03-22-20, 09:57 AM
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I like that. I've been looking for a new travel pack, since my old one has completely lost its waterproofing.
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Old 03-22-20, 10:03 AM
  #6  
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I've got a 2 wheel trailer. It's 10KG empty, but can fit loads of stuff in. It's a cheap metal thing I got off amazon, but it does the job when I need to re-stock my usual months worth of tinned goods or dare I say, get some toilet paper. You can either put your stuff in carrier bags to protect them from the rain or get a lightweight foldable crate to put them in. You just have to accept you can't go fast and just cruise. Some people use the child carriers that have a cover inbuilt that may be big enough. Where I live car drivers have enough sense to get past the bike and the trailer.

The trailer attaches to the rear dropouts.

The only problem with the trailer is you might need 2 locks so you can lock up the trailer and the bike. You know what people are like or use a nut and screw rather than the quick release a lot come with.

Even if it wasn't a pandemic I would suggest trying anyway. It can be more fun to use the bike when you have a reason to and a 6 mile round trip is honestly not that much. It would take about an hour. Scope out what your bike parking is like. I've found at my local I can attach the trailer and the bike to the railings where the trolleys are and not be too in the way of people pulling out trolleys.

The only other problem is that it can be tough to do the shop in the rain if you haven't got the right gear (especially for your feet) or anywhere suitable to dry your stuff when you get back. My aim when I need to use the trailer is to do the shop as early as possible so then I'm not trying to rush and you can just chill. The only thing you can't really do is cut traffic as most trailers are wider than the space needed to squeeze past cars.

I did some shopping today with my 40 liter panniers. but bulky items like bread and cereal really take the space. You can take the cereal out the box, but bread doesn't uncompress that well. Bagged spinach is also quite bulky. Compared to the trailer I didn't manage to get that much and you don't really want to be doing several runs as you'll spend all your day shopping and knacker yourself out.

Last edited by JayKay3000; 03-22-20 at 10:09 AM.
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Old 03-22-20, 10:09 AM
  #7  
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I use a wire basket - probably smaller than your milk crate, but the same concept - in conjunction with an insulated tote bag that fastens closed on the top. The basket is fastened to my rear rack. At the store, I wear the bag while I shop and place my items directly into the basket. At checkout, I hand them the bag and then unload the basket. They put the groceries in the bag, which I then put in the basket. I can fit only one bag of groceries in the basket, but that's OK for me. I would get those collapsable wire shopping panniers if I needed to buy more per trip.
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Old 03-22-20, 10:13 AM
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Baskets

I've been hauling large grocery loads on the rack for over 10 years without any problems. I do inspect my rack and connections, and I avoid heavy shocks (chuck holes, curbs):


Heavy load in baskets and light materials netted across top.

I've got baskets that just hook on to the rack, but you could attach the milk crate and something else (bucket? waste basket?) to the other.


Baskets on each side.

I found an elastic net but some bungee cords could work as well.

With a little practice I found I could carry substantial loads. For heavier/larger loads I have converted a kiddie trailer to a flatbed, but that is out of scope for you for now.

Last edited by flangehead; 03-22-20 at 10:18 AM. Reason: It didn't save right.
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Old 03-22-20, 10:23 AM
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I have a rear rack, moderate size panniers, and an elastic net to strap things onto the rack. Works pretty well for me, but there's only two of us to shop for.
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Old 03-22-20, 10:48 AM
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Wow, thanks so much for the replies so far.

I am going to try to utilize Amazon for some of the bulky stuff. The wife can't eat (regular) bread so we typically don't buy it. Cereal either. We already have to order some of our staples online in order to find them. I am not sure what the toilet paper landscape will look like for trying that...lol. Either way though there are items I will have to go to the store for. I think I can keep myself down to few bag trips every couple of days for a bit.
I will probably try to modify something to work along the lines of what you posted flangehead, however I am not sure my heel will clear a basket or pannier that size. I think I have a couple of "half crates" I could try something like that with.

I have all day to do the 6 mile round trip. I can actually make it FAR easier on myself in regards to a bad ass hill on the direct route to both stores by adding about a mile on a flatter back way in.
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Old 03-22-20, 11:02 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by flangehead View Post
For heavier/larger loads I have converted a kiddie trailer to a flatbed, but that is out of scope for you for now.
I constantly kick myself for missing out on a wonderful trailer at the local second hand store. It was designed as a child carrier, but had a flat plastic and aluminum frame as the major bottom support. Would have made an excellent cargo trailer. I hesitated and when I walked back around it was headed out the door.
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Old 03-22-20, 11:35 AM
  #12  
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@flangehead has a good set-up. Looking at that, you can see that with enough bungees he could build a structure three feet tall on top of what he's got.
@FBOATSB 's idea of the duffel over the rack is along these lines. I used to haul laundry in a bed cover---made a bundle out of a 6x8' bed cover and load in all my laundry at once. Huge bulk, lowish weight, I could strap it on top if a normal load and it didn't add much burden. Obviously almost anything could be carried this way.

Bread can be tough but you can put it in a bag and secure the ends of the bag with crossing bungees without running the bungees across the bread.

A large part of bike-shopping is planning and accepting that you might need a few trips to get everything. Most people can get a week's worth of groceries in a car, but weight alone makes that tough on a bike. Liquid goods like dish soap, shampoo, drinkable liquids, cooking oil, all weigh well, as much as they weigh. Six or nine pounds per gallon? Canned goods are heavy. fresh fruit is heavy. Yogurt is fairly dense, and sometimes I eat ten quarts a week.

Some weeks you might have to go three times. Not many ways around it. But if you have room to store some stuff, you can buy two or three of a lot of heavier items .... or arrange with a friend to go shopping in a car one every six weeks and get all the non-perishables and weighty stuff..
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Old 03-22-20, 11:56 AM
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For large trips, I found that a messenger bag - a very large one, like actual bike messengers use (Chrome Metropolis, Timbuk2 XL, etc.) was a good option.

Compared to a backpack, there is a bit more flexibility as far as arranging items - it's okay if some larger items stick up a bit, as long as the flap can still be closed. Creative uses of the straps allow one to hook bulky items (bulk packs of papertowels...brooms and mops) outside the bag. Same with squishy items like bread; your choice of a plastic bag or a reusable bag can be hooked outside, so bread/eggs don't get squished by heavier groceries.

IME, this setup becomes increasingly uncomfortable as one moves to a more upright riding position; in a more aggressive position, most of the heavy stuff lays flat on the back, which is not too bad. A combo of a trailer and delivery services for heavy items is preferable; but, I managed to supply two adults for ~6 years in the days before I had access to either one of those.
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Old 03-22-20, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Juan Foote View Post
Thinking ahead a bit...The local grocery store(s) are 3 miles away.
What (or how far in the future) are you thinking ahead about? I assume you're talking about some need to stop using a car and instead having to use an alternative means to grocery shop?
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Old 03-22-20, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
What (or how far in the future) are you thinking ahead about? I assume you're talking about some need to stop using a car and instead having to use an alternative means to grocery shop?
Yup, like (edit) May when/if things don't return to normal I am going to eliminate (among other things) my car insurance to cut bills down to survival mode.

Last edited by Juan Foote; 03-22-20 at 02:32 PM.
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Old 03-22-20, 02:56 PM
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https://www.walmart.com/ip/Rage-Powe...MaApqdEALw_wcB
Wally has a Bob knockoff for $115. Sure not as good but by the time you buy racks and desent panniers that may or not work, $115 ain't bad.
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Old 03-23-20, 12:19 PM
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Trailers can just carry so much stuff and they're so harmless to handling, it's obvious... unless you have a style aversion, which I wouldn't fault you for.

I would NOT get a Walmart kid trailer if you can afford the real thing. They are pretty junky. They have no floor and sometimes have plastic wheels that don't roll straight, and the tent wears out quick. No specific info on that one above though.
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Old 03-23-20, 04:55 PM
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Cargo nets are da bomb!

And this Schwinn(!) cargo trailer seems pretty awesome for $99.
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Old 03-23-20, 05:46 PM
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I use Ortlieb grocery panniers and front basket along with a Burly Nomad that has a Wald basket mounted atop the optional cargo rack. I can honestly bring home an entire SUVís quantity of groceries.
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Old 03-24-20, 09:49 AM
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I've been following this thread with interest. The one thing I need to be careful of is when I go inside the store. My bike may be securely locked, but any panniers, bags, removable lights etc stand the chance of being taken. I like the idea of having a small pocket on a bag that I can throw my computer, lights and tools into and carry them into the store with me. There is always a homeless guy or two outside most of the markets I frequent and most of them are on beat-up bikes. Anything not bolted down runs the chance of disappearing.
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Old 03-24-20, 10:22 AM
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I take all my bags, all my lights, and anything else which might be shiny and attractive off my bike when I go inside. I put the bags and panniers in my shopping cart, and all the accessories go in the top pocket of the right pannier.
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Old 03-24-20, 11:53 AM
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When I get to the store, my bicycle becomes my shopping cart.
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Old 03-24-20, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by TakingMyTime View Post
I've been following this thread with interest. The one thing I need to be careful of is when I go inside the store. My bike may be securely locked, but any panniers, bags, removable lights etc stand the chance of being taken. I like the idea of having a small pocket on a bag that I can throw my computer, lights and tools into and carry them into the store with me. There is always a homeless guy or two outside most of the markets I frequent and most of them are on beat-up bikes. Anything not bolted down runs the chance of disappearing.
My panniers have a 54 liters capacity. They have a tall rear pocket, a zip-closure outside pocket and a mesh outside pocket. There's also another pocket on the top flap of the pannier and yet another pocket on the inside of the flap. I can put anything that normally lives on the bicycle inside those pockets.

Cheers
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Old 03-27-20, 05:37 PM
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Eat less, and take more trips(rides) to store!
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Old 03-29-20, 07:14 AM
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I use a pair the tried and trued Wald folding baskets with liner bags. Carries a weeks worth of food. The metal baskets keep the grocery bags (flimsy plastic these days not paper) secured and the liner bags make it easy to bring everything in. All for around $60 for the pair (basket and liner bags). There are a couple nylon soft sided "grocery" panniers out there but they're much more expensive at one pannier for the price of the Wald pair (with liners). Only downside is that they're noisy when empty.
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