Today I decided to ride to the grocery store. It wasn't the first time (nor will it be the last) that I've done so, but normally when I go it's only to pick up one or two items that are easy to carry on a bicycle. I always figure there's no reason to drive the 2.5 miles to the store if I can ride for just a couple of items. Today was different though, because my hope was to be able to carry everything that we actually needed without the use of a car.
I got to the grocery store and intended to take a picture of my bicycle all locked up (merely because I just like taking pictures of it), but when I pulled out my point and shoot camera that I carry in my purse, I realized the battery was dead (guess that's what happens when one doesn't check these things before one leaves the house). I went through the store picking out the items we needed, and as I got toward the end of my shopping, a bit of panic swept over me. What if I couldn't actually carry all of the groceries on my bike? As the clerk was checking me out, she asked if I had another bag, or if I'd prefer that they stick everything in together. I told her it was fine to just put it together because I was on my bicycle. You would've thought I just said that I had shot my brother and my dog out in the back forty with the look she gave me, and then she said, "You're on your bicycle? ... And, you're going to be able to carry all of this?" In my head I was thinking that it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it was when I'd been shopping, but I assured her it would be fine. I joked, "Hey, maybe I'll have to leave a bag and come back for it." She just kind of looked at me strangely and said, "Do you have a car?" I just smiled and said, "Yes, I have a car, but I like riding my bicycle." Things like this amuse me. It's as though some people think it's some great feat to be able to peddle a couple of miles with some bags on your bicycle.
The great thing was, this actually gave me an opportunity to test out my new Wald rear baskets, and I have to say that they did quite well. The ride home was a bit squirrelly, but it wasn't too bad at all!
As you can see, I don't think much more would've fit on the bicycle, unless I strapped it to my back, and I think I'm starting to understand why some people have cargo bicycles to haul things around, but it is absolutely doable, even with an every day bicycle.
Another cool thing was that I had the opportunity to try out my new Bern helmet. I have to admit, I am not at all a fan of bike helmets, but I think enough people have scared me into wearing one now, as I spend a lot of time riding on the busy highways. Plus, we're taking our camping/bicycling vacation in just a couple of weeks, and goodness knows what the laws are throughout the various states we'll be hitting. So, better safe than sorry, and I might as well get used to wearing it now.
I also wore a skirt for the first time riding today, and while this is a horribly unflattering picture, it's not easy to take a picture of oneself without using a tripod. Unfortunately, I got a lot of splash back on me because of all the rain over the last few days that hasn't quite dried completely. While I realize wearing a skirt is no great accomplishment, I just thought it was an interesting and different experience, though I could've done without the wind while I was riding. I felt as though I kept having to pull the skirt down. Ultimately, I just ended up letting it do what it wanted to, and finally became comfortable with the idea.
Overall, grocery shopping was a success. I think it's something I can handle on a regular basis, which definitely makes me happy. I think that I realized that if I don't build things up to be a bigger deal than they are, things will go just fine. Happy riding!