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Commuting Cargo and Bike Choice

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Commuting Cargo and Bike Choice

Old 03-22-22, 11:04 AM
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SierraBravo
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Commuting Cargo and Bike Choice

Hello! I have narrowed my bike choice down to two bikes - a "normal bike" with 27.5" tires (Moustache Samdi 27) and a mid-tail cargo bike with 24" tire (Benno Boost) - both are electric, but that's not my question I intend to use the bike as a commuter and for errands either on my way home from work or within 10km of home. Where I am stuck is the ability to carry things. While I am leaning towards the "normal" bike, I know that stopping to pick up a bag or two of groceries on the way home from work may be challenging.

From you experienced commuters - how do you handle picking up and carrying extra things? Is it something you plan for or are you able to be spontaneous? Do you run errands by bike? Tell me all the things

P.S. I have commuted by bike in the past (10+ years ago), and never found a great solution for this other than a lot of pre-planning. I'm trying to make things as easy for myself to be successful at this.

Thank you!
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Old 03-22-22, 11:40 AM
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with either one you need a way to carry the stuff. if you dont always have the bags on the bike you cant be as spontaneous(maybe a little more so with the cargo bike).

For a grocery pick up on occasion a "normal" bike is totally fine. If you are planning on picking large stuff get a cargo bike. I think I personally would lean cargo even more so since both choices are electric.

get whatever panniers they offer for the bike you choose. I just use one pannier and a basket with bag and I rarely run out of space.
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Old 03-22-22, 11:40 AM
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I both commute and run errands. However, stopping off for something unexpected on my commute is limited to at most 2 bags of groceries and a light bulky item. Normal commute bike is steel touring setup, and normal grocery getter is a 90's steel rigid mountain bike.


Normal commute mode. I can carry 2 bags of groceries in panniers and carry mesh net and bungee cords to carry bulky items (e.g. toilet paper) on top of the rack.

Dedicated grocery run, large.

Dedicated grocery run, small.

Shipping.
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Old 03-22-22, 02:29 PM
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Up to two bags of groceries? "Normal" bike with a couple panniers will handle it. Leave the panniers off, and you've got a bike you can take for a fun ride some evenings and/or weekends.

Need a large load of groceries like flangehead, I'd guess you'd be between a medium and large cargo bike. And, for my money, you won't enjoy a ride over maybe 5 miles very much, but YMMV.
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Old 03-22-22, 11:40 PM
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Gotta pre-plan a bit. I like to travel light so I won't bring my pannier bags unless I know I might use it. I've been caught in situations before where I've wanted to pick up some takeout on the way home, but those wouldn't have fit well inside my pannier bags, anyway. Consider getting a front pizza rack or cargo box if you carry stuff often. I personally would hate riding such a bulky bike unless I'm hauling stuff but I have a buddy who has a cargo box up front on one bike and always rides with double pannier bags on the back of another bike. I think it's overkill but he likes to be prepared (packs different layers, gloves, hoodies, etc in the panniers). I don't even do casual rides with him anymore when he's on those slow bikes. I pack what I need and go as light as possible. It makes me less prepared for the unexpected but come on we're just cruising around town, not bikepacking.
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Old 03-24-22, 09:58 AM
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Thanks so much for your thoughts and help! I appreciate it
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Old 03-24-22, 04:36 PM
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Example On-Commute Errand

I happened to get a grocery order on my way home so example of my reasonable ďunexpected errandĒ capacity:



Before groceries.



With groceries.
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Old 03-24-22, 04:49 PM
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The options aren't limited to what is available but what your bike can take. Collapsible pannier bags like those from Axiom or metal baskets from Wald/Bontrager all work. They collapse down to the sides and are out of the way but add weight and that "look". However, they are awesome for spontaneous shopping loading. Removable pannier baskets of course can be stolen.easily, but the bontrager one has a handle so you can bring it along into the supermarket.
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Old 03-28-22, 04:40 AM
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In european fashion I shop every day/every other day, when I get back to the states I plan to pick up a Surly Big Easy to make shopping/errands a bit easier.
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Old 04-03-22, 08:25 AM
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I usually just ride my longtail cargo bike to work. I had a standard frame commuter but found that I'd have to run errands after work and it really limits what I can pick up on the way home. So I just started to ride the cargo bike every day and havent looked back.
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Old 04-03-22, 09:00 AM
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For cargo bike: get matching luggage. That's an easy one. That's the whole marketing pitch of the one you posted.

For regular bike: No matter what you get you will be able to work what you've got into your daily plan, or vice versa. I tend to like the tail bags with fold-out panniers. They have space for lunch and a change and can fold out for shopping on the way home. I've used them myself and was happy enough. But they are much smaller and they may not hold up as well as paperboy baskets or those big Ortleibs to daily fillings. Right now I'm in a kid hauling mode, taking truck to daycare then riding from there to work, and getting groceries is not really in the plan at all. So I'm using a backpack and only have little frame bags on my bike for the bike stuff.

I also see plenty of people riding with plastic grocery bags hung on their handlebars. But you probably won't find anyone on a bike forum to tell you it's a good idea. Here in California's elbow they lately implemented a 5cent bag law to encourage people to use totes. But ironically it's not expensive enough, and at the same time people don't want to get ripped off for their nickel, so they sell us plastic bags that are much sturdier than the old ones.
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Old 04-04-22, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
For cargo bike: get matching luggage. That's an easy one. That's the whole marketing pitch of the one you posted.

For regular bike: No matter what you get you will be able to work what you've got into your daily plan, or vice versa. I tend to like the tail bags with fold-out panniers. They have space for lunch and a change and can fold out for shopping on the way home. I've used them myself and was happy enough. But they are much smaller and they may not hold up as well as paperboy baskets or those big Ortleibs to daily fillings. Right now I'm in a kid hauling mode, taking truck to daycare then riding from there to work, and getting groceries is not really in the plan at all. So I'm using a backpack and only have little frame bags on my bike for the bike stuff.

I also see plenty of people riding with plastic grocery bags hung on their handlebars. But you probably won't find anyone on a bike forum to tell you it's a good idea. Here in California's elbow they lately implemented a 5cent bag law to encourage people to use totes. But ironically it's not expensive enough, and at the same time people don't want to get ripped off for their nickel, so they sell us plastic bags that are much sturdier than the old ones.
Back when I was a Taco Bell manager and an anti car zealot I did the plastic bag on handlebar thing. Then one day a Burly trailer showed up on Craigslist for $60 so I rode over and bought it. That cheap trailer made my life and zealotry feasible not only could I do American style shopping but I could also do my laundry and do light furniture shopping
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Old 04-06-22, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by SierraBravo View Post
Hello! I have narrowed my bike choice down to two bikes - a "normal bike" with 27.5" tires (Moustache Samdi 27) and a mid-tail cargo bike with 24" tire (Benno Boost) - both are electric, but that's not my question I intend to use the bike as a commuter and for errands either on my way home from work or within 10km of home. Where I am stuck is the ability to carry things. While I am leaning towards the "normal" bike, I know that stopping to pick up a bag or two of groceries on the way home from work may be challenging.

From you experienced commuters - how do you handle picking up and carrying extra things? Is it something you plan for or are you able to be spontaneous? Do you run errands by bike? Tell me all the things

P.S. I have commuted by bike in the past (10+ years ago), and never found a great solution for this other than a lot of pre-planning. I'm trying to make things as easy for myself to be successful at this.

Thank you!
Watches cost more than clocks, and cargo bikes with 24" wheels cost as much or more than cargo bikes with 26" or 700c wheels. Unless you have a really good reason (short inseam) I would look again at the established products. Likewise, the 'normal' bike. Was there nothing from the 'Big 3' that would work for you? I already had plenty of 'normal' bikes so for a cargo bike I bought a Mongoose Envoy and put a TSDZ2 mid-drive on it. Everything new (incl 52V battery) for just about $2000. Easily compares to a Surly Big Dummy with OEM e-assist.

Even with a bike like that, true spontaneity is impossible. You really need two bikes, and that really kills spontaneity, but if it were me and I could only have the one, it would be the Boost. If the saddlebags are not included, they are probably worth the money. The front rack, also a must. I always keep at least one of the two saddlebags my Envoy came with but if I am on the Envoy at all it means I am on a shopping errand. For you it might not but you would have that ability to be somewhat spontaneous.
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Old 06-23-22, 12:13 PM
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I've found that keeping a Topeak trunk bag on my regular bike works well for most spontaneous "pick this up on your way home" stops. Those fold down side bags hold a surprising amount. For dedicated shopping trips I've found the Burley trailer works better for me than taking the big pannier bags. The trailer locks up to the bike more easily and it can take a lot more size/weight.
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