Doing Errands by Bike
By Jenny Rilling
In addition to commuting by bike, this year I’ve been using my bike more for errands that would usually involve driving. It’s worked out so well that I even added large wire baskets to one of my bikes and made it my designated grocery bike.
So far, I’ve ridden my bike to go grocery shopping, get takeout, go to the bank, the drugstore, and to pick up food for our two dogs. I’m trying to use a bike instead of a car more often for trips of under 5 miles. Besides the exercise benefits and reduced emissions gained from leaving the car at home, pedaling though neighborhoods and side streets is a lot more fun and feels like less of a chore than driving to accomplish the same errands.
Last weekend, my husband and I rode out to do some grocery shopping at Sprouts, which is on the other side of US 75 from where we live. We took the Central Trail to Campbell Rd. and crossed under the freeway at Campbell. There are conveniently placed curb cuts and signal request buttons that make it easy to cross on the south side of the intersection (Starbucks side). From the Starbucks / hotel parking lot, we hopped on Richardson Dr., then took Melrose Dr. to Mimosa and went north on Mimosa to Sprouts.
Between my baskets and James’ pannier, we were able to get a good amount of food.
If you’re thinking of shopping by bike, I have a few recommendations:
A double-footed kickstand really helps keep your bike from falling over to one side and keeps it level and steady while you’re loading and unloading. I love the Porteur Double Kickstand from Velo Orange, so much that I now have it on two of my bikes.
Load the bike as evenly as you can – if you have two panniers or two rear baskets, try to distribute the weight of your purchases evenly among them.
Invest in a cargo net and a couple of bungee cords for strapping things to a rack or covering the top of a basket.