After 6 weeks (yes, we have been doing this for six weeks) of frustration and failure, I made my first successful solo grocery trip on a bike. Figuring out how to do this has been the hardest part of this transition. I've had apples crushed between the front fork and the wheel of the bike causing a very abrupt stop. (Thankfully I wasn't going very fast or it could have been ugly.) I've had five bright yellow toy plastic bats for the Big Guy's birthday party scatter all over the street in front of a group of strangers that had just come out of their house after dinner. (They did help me tie those bats back in the numerous bags hanging from my handle bars while all the while shaking their heads in disbelief.) I've lost control and almost hit a car because the milk that I was carrying in my front basket upset the balance of my bike. (I have dreaded getting milk which when you have a family with little children is not an optional purchase, but a necessity of life.)
The way that I've made this work is to borrow a car for a few hours a week and drive around like a mad woman trying to anticipate and get everything that I need for the coming week. I come out of these shopping trips exhausted and inevitably having forgotten something (often times that thing was milk, my weight nemesis.)
But that is all in the past. On Friday, The Artist went down to our local bike shop (who have been truly great to us even if they do think what we are doing is a bit bizarre) and had a double pannier installed over my back tire. It has changed my life.
On Saturday, eager to try out my newest accoutrement, I headed down to my favorite grocery store (which I had been avoiding because it was just a little too far to carry groceries on my back and over my handle bars) and bought $40 worth of groceries. Two gallons of milk, a couple pounds of apples, a big box of corn flakes, a pound of carrots... Well, you get the picture. All in all, we estimated that I brought home about 16 pounds of groceries on my little bike without any incident or loss of items. I am thrilled. (I still plan on using a car for picking up the really large things like one can only get at Costco , but I'm hoping to limit that to once or twice a month at the most.)
The biggest drawback to this newest development is now I'm sore again. All that extra weight means I have to work that much harder to get home. Is it worth it? No question. I am empowered.
So, is anyone moving? I've got a bike with panniers and can carry sixteen pounds.