May 29, 2014

5 Tips for Grocery Shopping by Bike

1. Find your go-to system
There’s no wrong way to shop by bike. What kind of bike you have and how many people you’re shopping for will largely dictate how you go about grocery-getting.

If you’re only shopping for yourself, or just picking up a couple things, a single backpack may do the trick. Maybe your bike is set up with a rack and you have some nice panniers with room enough to carry home a week’s worth of groceries for two or more people.

Find the best way to carry things on your bike. You may need to invest in a rack and panniers - it’s worth it.
2. Make a shopping list
You can only carry so much back with you, so know what you want and stick to the list. This takes some planning, but is worth the extra effort.
3. Be prepared for overflow
Even with a list I’ll sometimes get a few more things than planned - often it’s some fruit that looks so good I can’t pass it up! To plan for this contingency, I always bring my empty backpack to hold any overflow from my panniers and basket.
4. Shop in cycles (no pun intended!)
Once a month I make a big haul from the grocery store which requires both my large panniers, my rear basket, and my backpack. On this trip I stock up on nonperishables I like to always have on hand, but don’t need to resupply every week - things like flour, oats, rice, beans, cartons of almond milk, frozen veggies, onions, and potatoes.

Keeping my pantry stocked with the above items reduces my other weekly shopping trips to simply replacing fresh foods we go through every week - greens, fruit, fresh veggies, and dairy.
5. Have a routine
I go grocery shopping pretty much every Sunday. It’s my habit and makes it easier to plan meals for the week, make a list, and go. I’m never trying to think of when can I fit in in, instead I simply know it’s something I have to do on Sunday.

If you have the option of shopping by car, and you feel pressed for time, you probably won’t ride your bike. Don’t make a decision every time, instead make it a habit to go by bike.


  1. Alyson, just wanted to leave a quick comment. I live in Dane cty and I have checked out your blog off and on for a year or more. Your photos and stories comtinue to be more and more enjoyable to see. Thanks for taking us along for the ride.

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