July 8, 2013

Comments (15)

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Back packs

No mention of back packs? I can fit a full hand basket worth of contents in my large Jansport backpack. I prefer this over panniers or bicycle baskets.

Gerald 172 days ago

Leave it behind

Toothpaste, cereal, soap, and countless other items come in cardboard boxes. Leave them with the cashier for the grocer to recycle.

Paul more than 1 year ago

What about theft?

I make multiple stops and carry my groceries in both panniers and front basket. But last week I had items stolen from my panniers while I was in another shop. I try to be quick, but the checkout line was long. There's no way I can carry both panniers and front basket into each store. What do you do?

Casey more than 1 year ago


Some places will let you (or ask you to) leave your panniers at a register or customer service desk. Most times I'll put them in a shopping cart or just carry them (shoulder straps are handy); I've never been challenged about my previous purchases but I keep the receipts handy. Very rarely will I leave them on the bike, only when they'll never be out of my sight.

Stephen more than 1 year ago

Theft from panniers

Thanks, Stephen, that's actually the only answer I see here -- take them in with me. But I think this is a problem that has to be solved before the ordinary shopper will use a bike. More gear -- panniers with covers that lock? Or maybe I should carry two locks -- one for the bike and front wheel and one for the back wheel and panniers.

Casey more than 1 year ago


I have panier bags on the back of my bike and also a removable basket at the front. I detach the basket to take into the store or at the market and then bring my shopping back to my bike to load into the panier. The basket isn't huge, but its much easier than removing and reattaching the panier.

Sylvia more than 1 year ago


Great article. one of the problems I've encountered is making multiple stops. Panier bags are great when they're on the bike but can be a awkward and heavy to carry, and depending on the make/model you have they can be time consuming to get on and off the bike. I recently purchased a Burley Travoy. I have no interest in the company other than the fact that I'm really happy with this trailer. If you're thinking about making a trailer purchase, I would definitely consider this one. It disconnects from the bike with a simple release, and is small enough that you can roll it into the store like a shopping buggy.

Jeff L. more than 1 year ago

Second the Burley Travoy!

I wholeheartedly agree regarding the Burley Travoy trailer. I just used it yesterday on my trip to Costco and shoppers were amazed at everything I was able to put on it! (Case of beer, 2 pounds of spinach, 5 pounds of onions, avocados, quinoa, and butter) :)

Amber more than 1 year ago

Travoy, pricey, but excelent for bigger loads.

As a shopping tool for bigger trips, the Travoy is unbeatable. Park bike, lock it, unclick Travoy, use it as shopping trolley in the store, run stuff through check out, put back in bag, click on bike, ride away. Hard to tell it's there when empty, other than pulling the weight, has very little effect on the bike loaded. I have cargo bike, partner has Travoy, together we can do a Costco type run that will see us supplied for a month!

Graham 214 days ago

What about a modified trailer?

I purchased a Instep trailer on craig's List for $20. Stripped it down. I've attached a plastic bin (14"wx24"lx18"deep) with bolts to the frame and then bungie cord an ice chest (for the cold items).

Rico T more than 1 year ago

Trailers for larger items

Certainly, a trailer really can boost cargo carrying capacity beyond what is suggested above. There is always a wide variety of them parked out front of my local grocery store.

Duncan Hurd more than 1 year ago


Just did a HUGE fruit and veggie shop (we're drinking more juice these days) at a local market on the weekend. Filled a double trailer with leafy greens and carrots and fruit. So much easier than a car (i had a good workout going home too), plus I snagged a bikepost right out front.

Joe more than 1 year ago

Rear Baskets/Boxes, Too

Lots of sensible tips in this article! I particularly like the one about supporting businesses that do provide racks... but making a point of giving feedback to the ones that don't. How will they know why they're missing out on potential customers if we don't tell them?

I'd like to add one more equipment suggestion that you don't cover: *rear* baskets, on top of the rack or on the side, pannier style. I find my bicycles handle grocery weight far better when it's at the rear instead of the front, but unlike panniers you don't have to constantly take baskets on and off! (I secure with a few zip-ties to discourage thievery.) Good for throwing purses in, too, when not grocery shopping.

Mandy more than 1 year ago

Great Suggestions

Definitely agree on both points!

Duncan Hurd more than 1 year ago

Yes to rear baskets!

I have a cheap plastic Sterilite storage crate attached to my rear rack. I carry my things in a large handled bag that fits perfectly into the crate. (like this: ) It also has plastic rails that allow it to be clipped into a grocery cart. I can easily remove and replace the bag, so it goes with me when I'm away from the bike.

SweetNSalty more than 1 year ago