Grocery Shopping

One easy way to practice the 1-mile Solution is to use your bicycle to shop for food, especially for quick trips for a few items. Within about a mile of home a trip to the store is accomplished just as easily (often more so) and just as fast (often more so) on a bicycle as by car.

I make quick trips to the grocery two or three times per week. I use a detachable front basket to carry my food. It doubles as a shopping basket.

It’s possible to carry quite a bit more, as I did this morning.

That’s my Redline R530 fully loaded. The Pyramid stand makes it easy to load while the bicycle stays upright and steady. Between the basket and the panniers I have about 40 pounds of groceries loaded. There’s another 10 pounds in the daypack.

Using a bicycle to shop for that much food may or may not be faster and easier than using a car. A lot depends on your circumstances. I choose to transport larger amounts of food and other goods by bicycle because that’s just part of my lifestyle now. I’m no longer interested in “faster” or “easier” even on the few occasions in which using a car meets those values. I’m interested in “better” in terms of my well-being, my pocketbook, my health, and my impact on the environment. All the benefits I gain in those areas far more than offset the values of speed and ease.

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Comments 10

  1. robert wrote:

    I eat a lot more than you do. : )

    Posted 18 Apr 2009 at 10:53 am
  2. Andy Cline wrote:


    Posted 18 Apr 2009 at 11:33 am
  3. Keri wrote:

    I have a pair of Trek grocery panniers, they hold a LOT of groceries… and other stuff.

    But I still dream of an xtracycle.

    Love Robert’s photo!

    Posted 18 Apr 2009 at 12:53 pm
  4. robert wrote:

    My real grocery getter is a Burley Flatbed trailer with a 45 gallon rubbermaid tub on it.

    It’s great because I can leave all my grocery bags in it and it holds an entire cart of groceries. Thats handy because you know when your cart is full that you had better slow down or you wont be able to get it all home.

    The big trailer is PedNet’s and we use it quite often. In fact I used it today to haul the GetABout columbia display and about 60 t shirts to an event about 7 miles from our office.

    I moved with that trailer although I only moved about 1/2 mile. The biggest load I have had on it has been just over 500 pounds and even though its only rated for 300 pounds it held it just fine.

    When you are pulling a washer and dryer on the same load people give you a lot of funny looks but they also give you a lot of room on the road!

    After PedNet bought theirs and used it for a couple of years there have been two other people buy them. Another example of the culture changing bit by bit here in Columbia.

    Posted 18 Apr 2009 at 4:48 pm
  5. Andy Cline wrote:

    Robert… I’ve been toying with the idea of making a trailer. There are several interesting ideas at I have a couple of Rubbermaid Action Packers that could be converted or used with a flatbed design. But I what I really want next is a cargo bike 🙂

    Posted 18 Apr 2009 at 5:24 pm
  6. rodney wrote:


    I built this trailer with a parts kit from

    Finished product

    I used .125 wall thickness but will I think .0625 wall thickness will suffice as well. (150 lbs useful load)

    I used some old aircraft composite flooring for the decking and shaved 9 lbs off the weight over 1/2″ plywood.

    Posted 19 Apr 2009 at 7:56 pm
  7. Kevin Love wrote:

    Nice city bike. Internal gearing, mudguards, full chainguard.

    I use a Pashley Sovereign Roadster. It is a great grocery bike. I use Basil 65L panniers, a removable wire basket held in place by the rattrap latch on the girlfriend rack, and hang my big grocery bags on the handlebars. It will take an entire grocery trolley and more.

    When i get home I’ll call out for help unloading the bike. Sometimes I get comments like “All set to head down the Ho Chi Mihn Trail?”

    I don’t care what they say as long as they help unload the bike!

    Posted 19 Apr 2009 at 8:21 pm
  8. Andy Cline wrote:

    Rodney… Thanks for the links.

    Kevin… I do like my Redline 🙂

    Posted 20 Apr 2009 at 11:42 am
  9. Coy wrote:

    Don’t know if this will work?
    Grocery Getter.jpg

    Like the bikes at work trailer, have visited with the guy that builds them, in Iowa. I have 2 BOBs.

    Posted 20 Apr 2009 at 6:30 pm
  10. Cordelia wrote:

    Honestly, I dream of going to the grocery on an orange Bullitt Clockwork from Larry vs. Harry ( It’s so suburban out here that people would likely come out to stare. But then, I’d probably be able to have a decent coldbox for getting the ice cream and other assorted must be kept refrigerateds home. So that’s my real question: I put one of those “cool bags” in one of my panniers, and it works decently, but how do others get the ice cream and fish home intact ?

    Posted 21 Apr 2009 at 4:17 pm