Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Grocery Getters

There has been some recent hullabaloo in regards to the Memphis Farmers Market's recent institution of a voucher program. It seems that some people are having issues with the new program and the amount of people it is attracting. One patron experienced "Problems getting into and out if [sic] the parking lot from people stopping their vehicles to let someone off or pick them up..."

I've said before that one of the advantages to riding a bicycle is front-door parking and it just so happens that there are 3 bicycle racks located at the Powerhouse: 1 here, 2 here. That's 36 bikes that can be parked right at the "front door", closer than you can get in a car! The possibility of those racks becoming full is a dream for the future but in case it does happen, there are three other bicycle racks within walking distance of the market: here, here, and here.

Now that we've solved WHERE to park your bike, let's get your groceries back home safely.

If you're single or not very hungry a simple basket may be the best option for you. There is a copious amount of baskets out there. Here are several options for a variety of budgets:

The Wald Basket #135 is sized at 14x9x9, appropriately sized for a grocery bag and priced at $25. This model bolts to the handlebars and axle giving ample support for your heavy items. I hear watermelon is in season!

The Sunlite Liftoff Front Basket is for those who don't want to keep the basket on the bike all the time. The handle also makes it easy to carry it around the farmers market so you have a place to put your tomatoes and eggplants. The liftoff basket is priced at $15 and is about the same size but won't carry the same amount of weight as the bolt-on basket.

The Minoura King Carrier is the front basket for those aiming to keep some style to their ride. Wooden slats grace this welded steel rack that is slightly larger than the previous baskets and has a weight limit of 40 lbs. These extras add up, though: pricing is at $130. All of these baskets can be obtained through your LBS (Local Bicycle Shop).

There are some of us who can't fit enough groceries in a basket. That's where the trailer comes in handy.

Most of you know I have a BOB trailer that I find very useful. It's been to the MFM and laden with 3 blueberry bushes. Mostly it just goes to Schnucks because Em and I are at work on Saturdays. For the 4th I fit a cooler full of ice, beer and pasta salad in the trailer and hauled around midtown. I opted for the single rear wheel design because it tracks behind the bicycle better and doesn't affect my turning. This is the BOB Yak with Drysac which retails at about $359.

The Burley Nomad is a two wheel design trailer that can haul up to 100 lbs. whereas the BOB is rated for 85 lbs. The Nomad pictured here has a cousin in the Burley Flatbed, which is the Nomad sans cover. Another advantage to the Burley is that it disassembles and folds down for storage. Similarly priced at $349.

Burley recently introduced the Travoy which would be like if a bike cargo trailer mated with rolling luggage. You are sacrificing some cargo capacity with a 60 lb weight limit but gaining more ease of use, storage and mobility. You can easily unhook the Travoy, roll it around the market, fill it up then hook it back to the bike and be on your way. It has several options for bags with a "Market" line and a "Transit" line making it an invaluable commuting tool priced at $289.

Understandably some people aren't ready to drop $250+ on a bicycle trailer so what's the cheap solution? Purchase a used kids trailer like this one on Craigslist for $50. Most kids trailers have a weight limit of about 100 lbs. While I might not trust my (future) children to a used bike trailer I would certainly haul around some groceries. Kid trailers also have the advantage of folding down for storage.

For more info on carrying goods check out one of my favorite websites: There you can learn about making your own trailer and about Xtra-cycles and extended bikes, trikes, and bakfeits.


Anonymous said...

Just read about the new Evo Integrated handlebar Basket or “Bar Basket,” or “Barsket,”. If I ever built a utility bike, I might have to give 'em a try. More info...

Cort said...

We have a few of those at the shop on Highland. We're waiting for the right bike to be traded in so we can use one.