Seattle Culture

Bicycle Diaries: Shopping for Groceries on Your Bike

In this series we ask Roddy Sheer for some tips and tricks for making bike commuting a little easier

By Seattle Mag May 14, 2011


As part of my ongoing series this month on urban bike commuting, I have pledged to do all my grocery shopping by bicycle. With a couple of tester panniers from Seattle-based Detours to help distribute my load, I am ready to roll. Last week on my initial bicycle grocery run to a Safeway a mile and a half (uphill) from my house, I loaded down both panniers with a gallon of milk, a jug of orange juice, a loaf of bread, some butter, some lettuce and a box of cereal — many of these items were supposed to and actually did serve as staples that lasted through an entire week. The grand total at checkout was around $25. I might have burned around 300 calories, mostly on the way to the store, as it was all on an incline not in my favor. (This made the loaded-down ride home that much easier though.)

This weekend was a different story. The wife and kids wanted to go to the U-District Farmers Market, a little over a half mile from my house. So they rode their bikes and we walked with them, my pannier-turned-backpack in tow ready to stock up for dinner if not the week. $65 later (!) we had six apparently hand-wrought organic sausages, a bodacious head of lettuce from Grays Harbor-based Let Us Farm, a hunk of Tomme cheese from Port Madison Farm on Bainbridge Island, and three boxes of Jonboy fleur de sel caramels (one for my daughter and two for gifts supposedly — they might be too good to give away)…and a small tomato plant for my daughter to plant in the backyard. It all went into the pannier and off we went for the arduous half mile journey back home (I did have to carry/push the four-year-old’s tricycle as he insisted his mom carry him). Overall not a bad haul, although the calorie burn was minimal. 

Since my wife came home with milk, eggs beer and wine last night via her car commute (!), I may not need to bike for any groceries for a few days. (Hey this biking for grcoeries thing isn’t so bad!) But when I next do, I will keep you posted…


Seattle mag contributing blogger Roddy Scheer recently explored the art of biking in the city. Check out more posts from his series:

Bicycle Diaries: Essentials for Bike Commuting

Bicycle Diaries: Celebrating Urban Bike Commuting in Seattle

Bicycles Diaries: The Competitive Side of Bike Commuters


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