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Grocery Getter Build

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Utility Cycling Want to haul groceries, beer, maybe even your kids? You don't have to live car free to put your bike to use as a workhorse. Here's the place to share and learn about the bicycle as a utility vehicle.

Grocery Getter Build

Old 04-13-21, 07:47 PM
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Grocery Getter Build

I am friendly with the guys at our town recycling center. They work for the town, and I also do some favors for the town road crew, who is also in charge of setting out the floats and rafts at the town beach every year. They know I'm a diver, and if anything gets dropped and they can't get it with a grappling hook, they'll ring me up and I go get it for them. Its a symbiotic relationship, because I also look after their kids' bikes and so forth and so on. When a decent bike shows up at the recycling center, they'll set it aside for me. Such was the case for this 820, which I've decided to remake into a sweet little ride-into-town-bike. What I've done is to take two Wald baskets, dremel off the extra bits, and make some of my own bits that make the racks ride lower and even save some weight. The front rack especially is cute.



Here it is mocked up. Don't mind my sloppy paint job with the huge drips. Its actually spray bedliner. The struts are actually from another front rack that was so wicked heavy! I kept the struts and tossed the rack. The black part, which I made from 1" x 1/8" steel bar stock, fits the front basket nicely and is perfectly level. I'm still waiting on a set of tires and tubes.


With this setup, the front basket sits so much lower than the stock Wald configuration, plus I will bet I carved at least a pound off it by doing this.


The rear is an old Blackburn rack with the Wald baskets fitted to it. I trimmed off all of the extra bits and bobs - again, saving some weight. I'll probably use some form of U-bolt to secure the Wald baskets to the Blackburn rack.



I have a nice set of fenders to add to this bike. I like the two bars at the rear end of the Wald rack. Might be a nice spot to attach a taillight or at least a big reflector? So stay tuned. I'll show more pics as I continue with this build!
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Old 04-18-21, 06:56 AM
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Good grief, that Trek is clean! Do you think was ridden even once?!
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Old 04-18-21, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
Good grief, that Trek is clean! Do you think was ridden even once?!
It wasn't ridden much, but it was neglected. I did clean it up quite a bit before these pics were taken. There were huge blobs of pine pitch all over the frame, and even on the rims and spokes. I put a few hours into cleaning and polishing already, and it seems to have paid off. I'll be posting a few more pics of my progress later today or tomorrow.
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Old 04-18-21, 12:43 PM
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A few more pics. I wanted to get a couple more pics for the build process, but I didn't think anyone would be interesting to watch tires going on and all that. The key elements to this build are the adaptations to the basket mounting, and the DIY steering stabilizer.


Here it is in all its glory. Schwalbe tires, Continental tubes (I like 'em better), and new cables all around. New SRAM shifters too - exact replacements (3x7). I got lucky!


The bike handles very well, even with the baskets mounted. I especially like how the front basket sits way lower than the stock Wald configuration. The steering stabilizer is made up of a hardware store extension spring and pieces of the rack hardware that I cut off. After a bit of use, I can definitely tell that the spring needs to be a little more stout. Perhaps one with a bit more tension, and a lot less length.


This is the basic configuration of the spring. It provides some measure of steering stiffness, but its not enough to prevent the front wheel from flopping over when the bike is at rest. No biggie. I have a whole drawer full of springs with which to experiment.


The rear baskets, mounted to the Blackburn rack is very solid. This bike - so far - makes not a single rattle when riding. I've got the basket temporarily secured with 5 zip ties. I may have to make a couple proprietary clamps of my own design to hold these two racks together.


So far a decent ride. I pay ride it to the supermarket this week, and see how it handles the task. I still need to add a seat bag, a bottle cage, a kickstand, and a handlebar mount for my GPS. I hate these particular Planet Bike fenders, so they'll be on my list for an upgrade soon. I got them on okay, and they are as straight as I can get them, but ultimately they are cheap plastic. I've had a couple bikes with the planet Bike aluminium mudguards, and those are quite nice.

I'll report back when I do a grocery trip!
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Old 04-19-21, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by J.Higgins View Post
So far a decent ride. I pay ride it to the supermarket this week, and see how it handles the task. I still need to add a seat bag, a bottle cage, a kickstand, and a handlebar mount for my GPS. I hate these particular Planet Bike fenders, so they'll be on my list for an upgrade soon. I got them on okay, and they are as straight as I can get them, but ultimately they are cheap plastic. I've had a couple bikes with the planet Bike aluminium mudguards, and those are quite nice.

I'll report back when I do a grocery trip!
Any particular reason to mount or use a a GPS device on a bicycle dedicated to the task of getting groceries (presumably at local stores?) Seems like securing it while shopping would be more hassle than anything else and be a nice shiny object that would attract evil doers to your bicycle.
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Old 04-19-21, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Any particular reason to mount or use a a GPS device on a bicycle dedicated to the task of getting groceries (presumably at local stores?) Seems like securing it while shopping would be more hassle than anything else and be a nice shiny object that would attract evil doers to your bicycle.
Its a Wahoo Elemnt. Its twists on and off easily, and fits in a pocket. I track my mileage. The nearest grocery store is a 30-minute ride.
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Old 04-21-21, 05:20 AM
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Shakedown Cruise

Well I finally got it finished. I mounted a handlebar mount for my Wahoo, a bell, and old Cannondale saddlebag, and a bottle cage.


I'm ready to tackle my first grocery trip!


Its about 7 country miles into town, which is not much for some people, but these roads are narrow, and bumpy - a dirt road is smoother. You get beaten to death on short rides. The river is nice today. Lots of wild ducks make their summer homes here.


Lots of hayfields along the way. Once in a while you see a deer near the edge of the woods, or an eagle overhead, scouting for prey.


Made it to the shop, and locked 'er up. I doubt that I had to do this. Very low crime rate here, and no one I know has ever had anything stolen (here), but all the same you never know. Now I can shop without worry.


And here she is waiting to embark on the return trip. I estimate about 40 pounds of groceries, which she handled with ease. Its the engine that was having difficulty! It took me 15 minutes longer on the return trip than it did going out, and my average speed was much lower. I'm no athlete, but I do ride a lot and I'm reasonably fit for a 62 year-old mick. Despite the fact that there were no major hills, I was still huffing and puffing a few times along the way due to some serious headwind.

Other than the need to possibly work on saddle tilt, the bike fit me well and was surprisingly comfortable. The Schwalbes did a great job of soaking up the bumps. Such a great tire. I may experiment with removing the front basket and installing matching saddlebag-style baskets like the rear. If I do that, I'll work on getting them even lower to lower the center of gravity. Building this bike has been fun. Up until now, all of my experience has been with road and mountain bikes with the occasional cruiser or beach bike tossed in. I've never had reason to play around with utility or cargo bikes, so this is fun to me.

I hope you enjoyed this, and thanks for reading!
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Old 04-22-21, 08:07 PM
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That's one nice looking build!!
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Old 04-25-21, 07:02 PM
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Schwalbes did a great job of soaking up the bumps. Such a great tire.
What Schwalbes are you riding on ?
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Old 04-26-21, 04:56 AM
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Originally Posted by FelixScout View Post
What Schwalbes are you riding on ?
Marathons.
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Old 04-30-21, 08:50 AM
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This looks nice. Frame color is awesome. Step through frames are perfect as a shopping bikes. But I would recommend using a triangular kickstand which gives the bike more stability when loaded.
I had a Gazelle for a while which I equipped with a front rack and rear baskets to use as a shopping bike.
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Old 04-30-21, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Harhir View Post
This looks nice. Frame color is awesome. Step through frames are perfect as a shopping bikes. But I would recommend using a triangular kickstand which gives the bike more stability when loaded.
I had a Gazelle for a while which I equipped with a front rack and rear baskets to use as a shopping bike.
Thanks for the compliment. Unlike many guys, I have no reservations about riding a step-through frame. The frame design makes it so much easier to manage this bike with a full load. I also agree with you about the triangular kickstand, and I have one, but this frame is really not designed well regarding placement of a kickstand. The Greenfield dual-legged kickstand that I have has tabs that are a little thicker on the bottom part where it touches the chainstays. The rear derailleur cable runs under the bottom bracket, and you have to place the kickstand "tabs" between the cable and the chainstay. I had to make some serious modifications to this one to get it seated and situated properly, and its still not to my liking, but it'll do until I get a chance to modify the two-legged stand.

[rant] I seriously hate the whole kickstand thing. Its a very desirable accessory for those of us who like to use our bikes for work and utility, verses recreation and play. Manufacturers callously disregard any attempt to place a simple mounting point for a kickstand, so we're left with a less-than-satisfactory mess. Even kickstands themselves could be much better. They are made with inferior metals and poorly designed. Some years ago, I feel on my bike. I have a nasty 6" scar, running vertically up the right side of my waistline. When I fell, the kickstand snapped in half, and gouged out a 1/2" swath from my hip to my lower ribcage. It took quite a while to heal and "get right" again. Kickstands are outdated and antiquated, and I'd like to see someone finally make a line of kickstands that are simple, unbreakable, lightweight, and commensurate to the higher prices we pay for bikes these days. [/rant]

Hahah, thanks for listening. I feel better after my little tirade!

I'm thinking about replacing the front single basket with a pair of baskets and design a mount that will place them much lower, much like you see front panniers on touring bikes. That way, I'd get more capacity and better front stability. I'm considering moving the rear baskets (Wald 570) to the front, and getting the next size up (Wald 535) for the rear. I'll post more pics and ride reports as I do this.
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Old 04-30-21, 11:56 AM
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Step Through bikes are the best option for a regular style cargo bike. I would not want to lift my legs over all that cargo. And I hate it when brake or derailleur cables are run under the bottom bracket. That makes it close to impossible to install a triangular style kickstand. Another option might be a rear axle mount kickstand like this:
https://www.amazon.com/LIOOBO-Kickst.../dp/B07PLZ4KYK

Or something like the Pletscher Esge where both legs fold up to the left side. I have seen these in Europe quite a lot.
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Old 04-30-21, 12:48 PM
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In the early 90's, in Galveston Texas, I mounted some baskets on my UO-8. WOW... I was shocked at how the extra weight affected my commute. I fully appreciate the time and detail you have made on your modifications.

For me I cut the steel basket part off of the basket frame off and went over to the docks. At a shrimp net repair facility a guy wove shrimp net material onto the remaining basket frame. This cut out more than half of the baskets weight. I understand now why touring bikes use panniers.

Nice Bike!
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Old 04-30-21, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by zandoval View Post
For me I cut the steel basket part off of the basket frame off and went over to the docks. At a shrimp net repair facility a guy wove shrimp net material onto the remaining basket frame. This cut out more than half of the baskets weight. I understand now why touring bikes use panniers
Not a bad idea! Ideally, some baskets made from titanium with a carbon fiber shell would be ideal, but if you are hauling 40-50 pounds, how much weight do you need to save? My inner engineer calls to me to build a bike that has lower center of gravity, so those bikes that are designed like this one are able to haul much more and be stable and rideable at the same time. Of course its subjective for a lot of people - say someone who only wants to run to the store for a six-pack, a bike like this would be overkill.

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