Sunday, February 1, 2015

Early Biking-for-Grocery Memories

As we've been working on the house reno project, we've spent many (too many) hours in local home improvement stores. One day in particular, we were on a hunt for a couple of items that were alluding us and we managed to find ourselves out east of our city. We used to live out that direction and often found ourselves biking the roads in that area. We were amazed at how quickly things have changed in the last several years and how many new retail stores have popped up.

One of the things that popped into my mind though as we wandered through was the memory of my first rides to the grocery store on a bike while living in that area. I couldn't help but smile to myself as I recalled my first attempt at grocery shopping on a bicycle. I recall wandering through the market, grabbing items as if I had unlimited storage on my two wheels. When everything was bagged, I suddenly realized that I had no means of getting it all home in one trip. I recall telling the individual at the checkstand that I'd have to return for many of the items.
The look I received was one of great confusion. When I explained that I was on my bicycle, she nodded knowingly and said, "I have an uncle who can't drive right now because of too many DUIs." I didn't even bother to explain that my riding a bicycle was not due to the fact that I couldn't drive, but was rather a choice I'd made.

Regardless, I knew I couldn't carry all of the goods and had to make a return trip to pick up the rest of my items at a later time. I learned a lot in that trip though and from then on made a conscious effort to buy only what I knew I could carry, even if it meant making more trips in a week.

Several years later, I now have a trailer with which to pull many more items on the bicycle than I did with only a front basket, but I like using that memory when picking items up at the grocery store. I see nothing wrong with buying in bulk when the items can be stored or used over time, but when it comes to fresh items, I actually enjoy making a few trips a week to help ensure that we can have fresher produce. This time of year it seems a little more challenging to find the beautiful produce we see in spring and summer, but it's still a wonderful thing to not have food rotting on the counter or in the fridge.

Do you ever have moments that remind you of early bicycling moments? Is there anything you do differently now than you did when first riding a bike for transportation?


  1. When I am riding my bike home after work and am dead tired, I often remember what it was like when I was a complete beginner. The clumsiness, the breathlessness, the lactic acid building up in my legs .... the clumsiness ... the sheer amazement when I managed to cycle to the nearest town (all of 4 miles away !!!) The sense of terror when I rode on the roads ... the elation when I made it home safely. I get a bit clumsy when I am really tired, I think that is what brings all these memories back. I am generally stronger and more adept at handling the bike now though!

    1. Stephanie, I am such a klutz on a bike - well, I'm a klutz in every day life, really. I think it's improved somewhat with age, but I can identify with your thoughts. It's wonderful when we start to feel more confident though and I'm glad you're feeling stronger and more capable of handling your two-wheels. :O)

  2. On one of my first trips to the grocery store via bike I hopped off the bike at the bike rack, which was located right in front of some highly reflective windows. It was like standing in front of a giant mirror. My bike had blinkies on front and back, a big red milk crate on the rear rack, and a newly installed mirror. I was wearing a helmet and high visibility vest, and my jeans were rolled up so that the hem wouldn't get caught in my chain. I laughed out loud and thought "I look like a dork!" I did. I still do! I've just gotten used to it.

    1. I don't mind being a bike dork myself. :O) Glad there is someone else who identifies with those sentiments.

      Your memory actually reminded me of another one of my early bike-to-get-groceries trips during which I completely forgot to lock up my bike. Now, I am not a person to leave things unlocked (you can chat with Sam about this who got a tongue lashing for leaving my car unlocked when we first moved to Colorado - poor Sam!), so I was so surprised at myself with this slip in judgment (memory, really) and shocked that my bike hadn't disappeared. I felt fortunate that we live in an area that this was even a possibility because I lost a bike as a kid due to not locking it up.


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