When you look at the loaded trolley you wonder “will it all fit?” but it always does.
What are the benefits?
Starting with a less obvious one, it’s often quicker. With a bike you can ride direct, for example with two of my local supermarkets (Sainsbury’s and CostCo) the car route involves having to go round the Wrekin a bit to get to the way in. On a bike I can ride direct, plus I can always park right outside the door, no walking miles across the car park.
The big one, of course, is that cycling is almost zero carbon, I don’t even have electric assist so it’s just me providing the power. Whereas a car for these journeys is very inefficient, start-stop motoring and your engine never gets chance to warm up so emissions are higher.
The other big benefit for me is a chance to get outdoors and get some exercise and fresh air, great when you’ve spent the day staring at a computer screen.
What kit do I use?
The “Rolls Royce” option for this type of cycling is an electro-assist cargo bike, the prices for these are dropping and the choice is growing, but there certainly not a budget option and you do need storage space as they are bigger.
My kit . . . cost less than £200. A second hand bike which is also my day to day riding around town bike and a second hand trailer for transporting young children (which is what I bought it for originally). The advantage of this trailer design is it folds up for storage.
No electro-assist but you engage a low gear and chug your way home!
What are the downsides (and how to negate them)
We live in the UK . . . it rains! Make sure you have wet weather clothing with you at all times, I’ve gone into shops in the sunshine and come out in the rain. So I always have waterproof over trousers and waterproof top in my pannier. Nothing expensive, they are “Aldi Cycling Specials”. A plastic bag to cover your saddle so it’s dry when you come out can be useful too!
Fully loaded, it’s heavy. Make sure the bike you use has low gears and just ride gently home.
Limited space. I will admit there isn’t quite as much stowage as in a car, but a fully loaded trolley always seems to fit and I take a couple of panniers too for extra stowage space.
Give it a try!
So there you go, carbon zero shopping and a workout too, why don’t you try your next shopping trip by bike?