Me, My Bike, the Kids, and the Groceries

Last time I wrote about how we’re trying to stay out of the car as much as possible this summer. So far, it’s been all playground-hopping fun and games except for some sore sit bones. Today I biked the kids over to the library, only to realize that I had gotten the day wrong and storytime is actually tomorrow. So what? I burned some calories, Little Brother admired some basketball hoops, Big Brother said hello to all the dogs, and we went to the playground instead. No fossil fuels burned or time wasted wrangling with car seats.

But could I put my money where my mouth is and use the bike trailer for “work” as well as play? Despite the fact that there is a Walmart Neighborhood Market about three blocks from our house, I’m embarrassed to admit that we’d never actually biked it. Even Mr. FP has driven himself there–alone–in the car, in perfectly acceptable weather. Because, hey, groceries, right? They’re heavy.

That changed today! Two kids, Mr. FP out of town, and a short list of groceries to get me and the kids through the next several days.

Two bags of groceries in rear cargo compartment of child bike trailer.

Plenty more room in there. The insulated bag was a freebie that’s turned out to be handy.

If the bike trailer holds a hundred pounds and my two kids combined weigh less than 70, that means I should be able to carry up to 30 pounds of groceries, or as much as will fit in the trailer’s “trunk.” I didn’t weigh the groceries, but there were $52 worth. Yogurt, bananas, couple of canned goods, couple of vegetables, odds and ends. It fit pretty easily, so I guess I could have gotten more, but that was all I really needed. With the distance so short, it would have been just as easy to walk, but the bike trailer is my only non-motorized vehicle that’s large enough for the job. Next stop: The “nicer” grocery stores a couple miles away where we like to buy produce.

I’ll be honest: It was really easy. Probably easier than driving. Really nothing to crow about. So why is what I did so unusual in this country?

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About frugalparagon

I'm a part-time librarian and mom to two small boys. I blog about striving for the long-term goal of financial independence while running a tight ship at home.

5 responses to “Me, My Bike, the Kids, and the Groceries”

  1. David says :

    I’ll admit that, for as hardcore a biker as I am, I don’t do much shopping by bike. The closer grocery stores are pretty expensive. It’s “worth” the $4 in mileage to drive 10 minutes to a farther away one. I could bike it, but haven’t tried it yet. Ditto for Costco, except that’s about double the distance.

    We do go to the butcher shop and for smaller trips though.

    There’s a learning curve on how to pack produce without having it come home smashed because you have zero suspension. The main thing I’ve learned so far is that, for as heavy as they are, bananas are incredibly fragile. More so even than eggs and some berries.

    • frugalparagon says :

      Thanks for the packing tips! We are definitely fortunate that the closest one is also most often the cheapest. We didn’t buy any eggs or berries, and as for the bananas–I think Big Brother sat on them a bit in the cart. The look like bottom-of-the-cart bruises, not trailer bruises :-).

      • David says :

        Eat the bruised ones first 🙂 For berries, if they get bounced around, just prep them right away when the bruises are small, before they start to cause spoilage. I didn’t plan my grocery budget to take advantage of strawberry season very well. Hoping the season lasts another week or two so i can still do some canning and freezing of local stuff.

  2. Amy K says :

    That’s awesome that your nearest shopping is so close! The one half a mile from our house moved to a mile and a half away; 10 minutes by rail trail. How often do we bike for groceries? Once. My husband zipped over and back before sunset one night to get a few essentials and some exercise. That’s the pricey one, across the street is the REALLY cheap one (which we shy away from; too many gallons of milk gone bad before we finished or out of stock of the brand we prefer). 3 miles away, on busy roads with little shoulder, is our preferred store. We haven’t tried to find a backroads/bikeable way yet; maybe I’ll try mapping it out now.

    • frugalparagon says :

      You might as well peek at Google Maps and see if there’s a good route! If there’s not, well, then there’s just not. You can still reduce your car usage/gas consumption even if you have to drive to the store by going less often, combining trips, etc. Not living near a cheap and bikeable grocery store doesn’t make you a bad person!

      As I found out for sure today, we are also lucky enough to live in biking distance of a nice Goodwill store! Saved even more money shopping there by not using gas (and, of course, only buying things on my list 🙂 ).

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