This morning I needed to make a trip to the grocery store for provisions. The store is a couple of miles from my house. Less than two years ago, there was only one option: I drove my van to the store. There was no need to think twice about it. I had several bicycles then, but there was no way I would have considered riding on the city streets. Here are my Before Cycling Savvy (BCS) and After Cycling Savvy (ACS) “grocery getters” side by side.
Here is my current grocery-getter set up.
I found insulated cooler bags at Target that fit the folding Wald baskets, and they are easy to carry into the grocery store. The bike is an old Canadian-made Raleigh that I bought used, and outfitted with wide City Slicker tires and a center kick stand. It has twist grip shifters on the right, and lever shifters on the left. It certainly doesn’t scream, “steal me!”, but I always lock it.
Recently there was a bike sharing the rack with mine that used a lock alternative: a paper napkin and a ball point pen. Just stick a note in the handlebars.
The note says,” Think Hard before U take this Bike.
This bike is actually one of those $89.00 Next brand “bike shaped objects” from WalMart, which always kind of break my heart. Anyway, the note apparently worked.
Sometimes the bike rack at my Publix is crowded.
Had to deploy the center kickstand (that’s why my front wheel has flipped around backwards) while I cleared the rack of non-bikes.
This morning I was able to park at the end of the bike rack, which was good because, as usual, I purchased more stuff than had intended. I enjoy a challenge, and I get a kick out of figuring out how to transport stuff by bike. I managed to get everything loaded, balanced, and secured.
The ride home was enjoyable, and I just cruised easily along. I have tried to emulate Keri’s friendly , easygoing interactions with drivers, pedestrians, other cyclists, and just people out in their yards, and it really does make a difference. To me, it’s the complement to knowing (thanks to Cycling Savvy) how to ride safely, confidently, and courteously. For me, it’s the difference between a tense, jaw clenching, tooth grinding experience (my modus operandi) and a relaxed good time on my bike. It still surprises me that a little friendly interaction with others is like putting a little Dumonde Tech Lite on your chain. Or something.
You could say that I’m saving money on gas and reducing my carbon footprint and getting some exercise and saving the world or whatever, but the real reason I choose bike over van is for the fun.