25 July 2010

Shopper Athlete

I usually walk to the grocery store. It's a brisk, two mile walk, round-trip, an easy distance for a girl armed with an iPod, long-handled shopping bags, boots, an umbrella... whatever is called for.

But today I zoomed to the store on a bike. My roommate had recommended the transportation of groceries by bicycle handlebars. This worked very well. I divided the weight of the groceries equally between the two handlebars. I used reusable cloth shopping bags as they are more durable (and reusable). It worked pretty well, on the whole. When I rode there was a sort backlash of momentum from the shopping bags. They would swing forward when I pedaled forward, and then back, which stopped me momentarily, especially on uphills. Actually on the steepest uphill the back was just winning, so I walked for a bit there. And it was still much easier than if I had carried them by hand. Be careful that you never turn the front wheel to either side very sharply. This will cause the bags to alternately pull you away and then slam into you. It is embarrassing and counterproductive and above all you will look silly. Not to mention that it's also not ideal for the groceries. I had to perform a small surgery on the cardboard milk carton when I got home because of this. Try not to let it happen to you. I think that handlebar transportation is not ideal in general and would recommend the more traditional front basket or rear saddle bags.

At any rate, I enjoyed myself very much and it occurred to me that I, carrying the spoils of a shopping adventure and cycling as I went, was a shopper and an athlete. I am proud to be a shopper athlete.

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