How to Do Your Grocery Shopping on Your Bicycle


If you don't do a little planning ahead to increase your bike's cargo capacity and then buy accordingly, a grocery outing on two wheels can end up looking like a failed circus act as you try to juggle everything and pedal too. Some forethought, and choosing bike containers you can bring with you into the store, helps keep the sideshow act to a minimum.

Bring Your Containers

  • Whether you're using a milk crate zip-tied to a rear rack or heavy-duty panniers, bring your containers -- or a bag that's about the same size -- with you into the store. That way you can be sure that everything you buy will fit. If you still find yourself struggling to find enough room, try planning recipes ahead so you know exactly what quantity of which foods you should buy. If you're shopping for a large family, you may need a long-tailed bike, which allows for extra-large panniers or baskets, or a pull-behind trailer for extra storage room

How to Pack

  • Position the heaviest items as low as possible -- ideally, in the bottom of side panniers -- so they disrupt your bike's center of balance as little as possible. If you have collapsible panniers and only fill one side, make it the side that faces away from traffic for the majority of your ride -- usually the right. If you're transporting chilled or frozen items in hot weather, invest in insulated panniers or a soft-sided cooler; failing that, you can jury-rig a stand-in with bubble wrap and a foil emergency blanket.

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