Carrying shopping: By foot or by cycle?

AndrewE

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Mod Edit: Posts #1 - #14 originally in this thread.

This is a very good point about public transport.
I struggled to get my weekly shop back home on foot this week, caught between the needs to avoid public transport, save delivery services for those who really need them and the preference of keeping trips to a minimum.
What with this, and the fact that the local supermarkets are limited, it would be useful to be able to use public transport to go to the big supermarket.
Have you really not got a bike? If you can do it on foot, then a bike makes it even easier as it carries all the load for you...
 
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Bald Rick

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Have you really not got a bike? If you can do it on foot, then a bike makes it even easier as it carries all the load for you...
It’s not just a bike though, it’s a bike with panniers, or dare I say a wicker basket on the handlebars. Not everyone has that, indeed very few have.
 

corfield

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Have you really not got a bike? If you can do it on foot, then a bike makes it even easier as it carries all the load for you...
Are you insane?

on foot one can carry a rucksack and say a large (reusable) bag in each hand.

where do you put that on a bike? Ive got panniers actually - and the capacity is far less than a shopping bag.

Load a bike up with the weight one can move on foot (knowing it can be put down in an instant) and it’s not safe.

To say it is easier is ridiculous - I love cycling, daily commute on it and have done up/down and across the uk plus overseas - but getting my shopping on one is instantly dismissed.

I suspect you have never done this!
 

yorksrob

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Have you really not got a bike? If you can do it on foot, then a bike makes it even easier as it carries all the load for you...
It’s not just a bike though, it’s a bike with panniers, or dare I say a wicker basket on the handlebars. Not everyone has that, indeed very few have.
I'm not sure I could carry a rucksack and three full carrier bags on a bycicle !
 

AndrewE

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Are you insane?
on foot one can carry a rucksack and say a large (reusable) bag in each hand.
where do you put that on a bike? Ive got panniers actually - and the capacity is far less than a shopping bag.
Absolute rubbish! I wouldn't dream of trying to carry what I routinely put in just one pannier.
Load a bike up with the weight one can move on foot (knowing it can be put down in an instant) and it’s not safe.
To say it is easier is ridiculous - I love cycling, daily commute on it and have done up/down and across the uk plus overseas - but getting my shopping on one is instantly dismissed. I suspect you have never done this!
In fact I still do it - regularly (as does my wife.) I'm on my second or third set of panniers (over 45 years) and have used them for touring and shopping - including daily up and over hills in Bristol when I was a lot younger!
I said, earlier in this thread I think, that carrying heavy loads off your arms and shoulders is mad - and the reason why the yoke was invented and is still in use world-wide. The Viet Minh defeated the Yanks by using bikes -even without tyres - as their load-shifters. Go back to Arthur Ransome and see the children call their bikes their "dromedaries!"
 

AndrewE

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I would much, much rather carry 20kg of shopping on my back than on a bike.
Really? Time to try the alternative then (unless the route involves station over-bridges with steps!)
20 kg is a seriously big load. When we were younger going on holiday by train I used to have to pick up my 45lb rucksack, give it to my wife then turn round (while she held it) to get it on my back. It was also a real problem to get the pack up and on to the luggage rack over the couchette corridor! I often wondered if my back would stand it.
On a bike there is no problem with that much weight relatively low down in panniers, especially as you load it then unpack it incrementally.
 
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Bald Rick

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Really? Time to try the alternative then (unless the route involves station over-bridges with steps!)
20 kg is a seriously big load. When we were younger going on holiday by train I used to have to pick up my 45lb rucksack, give it to my wife then turn round (while she held it) to get it on my back. It was also a real problem to get the pack up and on to the luggage rack over the couchette corridor! I often wondered if my back would stand it.
On a bike there is no problem with that much weight relatively low down in panniers, especially as you load it then unpack it incrementally.
I don’t have panniers, neither of my bikes have the capability of taking them, I really couldn’t be bothered with all the faffing around with a bike at a supermarket, and 20kg doesn’t need a rucksack, just a big bag over the shoulder!
 
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AndrewE

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I don’t have panniers, neither of my bikes have the capability of taking them, I really couldn’t be bothered with all the daddies around with a bike at a supermarket, and 20kg doesn’t need a rucksack, just a big bag over the shoulder!
20kg in a bag over your shoulder? I trust you have access to a good back/musculoskeletal clinic then. I guess you only struggle with it as far as your car...
My bikes have all been "lowest common denominator" and all then had a rack bolted on for about £10 or £15 (if that.) Panniers aren't actually very expensive either (especially when compared with the Man-bags fashionable amongst certain parts of the population...)
And what/who on earth are "all the daddies around with a bike at a supermarket?" I don't understand that at all. If you want to make snide comments you should adjust them to the level of understanding of your (maybe provincial?) targets!
I and my wife - and other regulars - are (were) at the shops on and off by bike all the time. Have been for the last 45 years in fact. I don't deny that we do (have done until now) periodic big shops by car, but it is easy to pick up necessities when out on bike errands for various other reasons.
 

Bald Rick

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20kg in a bag over your shoulder? I trust you have access to a good back/musculoskeletal clinic then. I guess you only struggle with it as far as your car...
My bikes have all been "lowest common denominator" and all then had a rack bolted on for about £10 or £15 (if that.) Panniers aren't actually very expensive either (especially when compared with the Man-bags fashionable amongst certain parts of the population...)
And what/who on earth are "all the daddies around with a bike at a supermarket?" I don't understand that at all. If you want to make snide comments you should adjust them to the level of understanding of your (maybe provincial?) targets!
I and my wife - and other regulars - are (were) at the shops on and off by bike all the time. Have been for the last 45 years in fact. I don't deny that we do (have done until now) periodic big shops by car, but it is easy to pick up necessities when out on bike errands for various other reasons.
Apologies - major autocorrect failure - “daddies” should have been “faffing”. Now corrected!

Quite happy to walk a couple of miles with (approximately) 20kg of shopping, and have done several times in the last two weeks. It’s not all over the shoulder though, but most is.
 

AndrewE

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Apologies - major autocorrect failure - “daddies” should have been “faffing”. Now corrected!
OK. So why should it be "faffing around with a bike" when you are just loading your panniers instead of the car boot - or struggling off with it all over your shoulder?
Quite happy to walk a couple of miles with (approximately) 20kg of shopping, and have done several times in the last two weeks. It’s not all over the shoulder though, but most is.
I certainly wouldn't be. Hence the reason why we used to choose our Swiss mountain campsites for their proximity to a railway station! And I wouldn't dream of carrying that sort of load in any way that wasn't central on my body, either in a big rucksack or held tight against my midriff (with an overall or apron on) especially now we are well into our 60s.
Seriously, most people would use a trolley or some other kind of wheeled helper for that sort of weight and distance.
 
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Bletchleyite

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20kg in a bag over your shoulder? I trust you have access to a good back/musculoskeletal clinic then. I guess you only struggle with it as far as your car...
The rough rule of thumb (as anyone doing DoE etc will tell you) is that with a properly fitted rucksack with a waist belt correctly adjusted to keep the load over your hips you can carry a maximum of about a third of your body weight on your back. A third of my body weight is 43kg.

OK, I wouldn't carry that much but I have carried about 30kg half way up Ben Nevis (to the CIC hut).

So you'd be surprised. I wouldn't just sling a carrier bag over my shoulder as is being suggested, though!
 

The Ham

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I would much, much rather carry 20kg of shopping on my back than on a bike.
I can tell you that is rather have by 12kg toddler on their bike seat than carry them, and they have a habit of moving around a bit more than a bag of shopping.
 

3rd rail land

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I don't own a bicycle. The solution for someone like is to buy a large rucksack with a suitable chest strap then I could easily get a weeks worth of shopping home in one trip.
As it is I don't have such a rucksack and therefore have to make at least 2 trips to a supermarket to get what I need.

I also imagine a large rucksack would be less hassle than using a bicycle with panniers. For example a bicycle requires periodic maintenance. Plus cycling, especially where I live in London, is more dangerous than walking along a pavement with a large rucksack.
 

DynamicSpirit

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The rough rule of thumb (as anyone doing DoE etc will tell you) is that with a properly fitted rucksack with a waist belt correctly adjusted to keep the load over your hips you can carry a maximum of about a third of your body weight on your back. A third of my body weight is 43kg.
That surprised me, although I did a bit of Googling and did find links giving that advice. I find it surprising because I would have expected the maximum safe weight to depend primarily on your strength and level of fitness rather than your body weight. If a person weighs - say 70kg and is reasonably fit, then I could believe that 1/3 of bodyweight is a reasonable guide. But if that person then eats loads of junk food and therefore goes up to 100kg, with that extra 30kg entirely made up of fat from the over-eating, then surely the load that they can safely carry isn't going to go up in proportion? If anything, I'd have thought it's likely to go down.
 

DynamicSpirit

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where do you put that on a bike? Ive got panniers actually - and the capacity is far less than a shopping bag.
I suspect that depends on the size of the panniers. I almost always cycle to get my shopping. And I'd say the amount I can put in each pannier is similar to the amount I can theoretically put in a normal-sized carrier bag. Both panniers combined gives me about the same capacity as the large sports bag that I will tend to use when walking - but carrying the load on a bicycle is massively more comfortable than in a sports bag. (And probably slightly more comfortable than a proper backpack, though I've never tried that for shopping).

Load a bike up with the weight one can move on foot (knowing it can be put down in an instant) and it’s not safe.
I would disagree. In my experience loading up cycle panniers with a significant weight is perfectly safe provided you are careful to distribute the load evenly between the two sides, and that you remember when cycling that your brakes won't give you quite such a good deceleration rate, and you therefore adjust your riding accordingly.
 

Bletchleyite

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That surprised me, although I did a bit of Googling and did find links giving that advice. I find it surprising because I would have expected the maximum safe weight to depend primarily on your strength and level of fitness rather than your body weight. If a person weighs - say 70kg and is reasonably fit, then I could believe that 1/3 of bodyweight is a reasonable guide. But if that person then eats loads of junk food and therefore goes up to 100kg, with that extra 30kg entirely made up of fat from the over-eating, then surely the load that they can safely carry isn't going to go up in proportion? If anything, I'd have thought it's likely to go down.
Yes, I think realistically it's your lean weight that would be taken into account. Typically though teenagers (for whom the advice tends to be used; most adults have had plenty of time to work out what they're happy carrying, and most younger kids won't be doing multi-day hikes) are quite lanky so it's not really worth looking at the difference as it's relatively small.

I'm quite big and heavily built anyway, though - I'm probably carrying about 30kg of fat out of the 130, to be fair, but that would still allow me a 33kg bag.

It has relatively little to do with strength as a properly set up rucksack puts the weight onto your leg bones via your hips in a (relatively) balanced position, you are not using muscle power to carry it, and if you are (i.e. have much weight on your shoulders) you need to adjust your rucksack so you are not (said lanky teenagers are terrible for not doing up the waistbelt properly or buying a bag where they can't). Though strength and aerobic fitness will of course influence how much you can hoik up a hill and how quickly.
 

Bletchleyite

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I would disagree. In my experience loading up cycle panniers with a significant weight is perfectly safe provided you are careful to distribute the load evenly between the two sides, and that you remember when cycling that your brakes won't give you quite such a good deceleration rate, and you therefore adjust your riding accordingly.
You can to a point. If you want to go really heavy with a bike, a trailer is a good choice. But these days, in normal circumstances, what's the point? Just get a delivery and top-up with small shops on your bike or on foot.
 

satisnek

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My technique is to cycle to the supermarket (downhill, so not much pedalling required) and push the bike back home with the carrier bags hanging from the handlebars. Not suitable for longer distances or family-quantity shopping, I know.

I have a trailer for heavier loads (up to 30kg) but it's a bit of a faff assembling it and hitching it up if the shopping can be accommodated in bags.
 

87 027

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A number of years ago when I didn't have a car I cycled around 3 miles home with a couple of pots of paint from an out-of-town superstore evenly balanced on my handlebars...
 

Bletchleyite

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My technique is to cycle to the supermarket (downhill, so not much pedalling required) and push the bike back home with the carrier bags hanging from the handlebars. Not suitable for longer distances or family-quantity shopping, I know.
Or tall people. I've done it going back from the Indian takeaway which is on the way back from the station, but it's very hard not to belt the bag with my knees as I ride.
 

PeterC

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You can to a point. If you want to go really heavy with a bike, a trailer is a good choice. But these days, in normal circumstances, what's the point? Just get a delivery and top-up with small shops on your bike or on foot.
Just get a delivery? Just had a beer delivery and I have finally found somebody to deliver veg boxes. For bread, meat and other basics there is no hope if you weren't a regular customer already, and even then not always.
 

Bald Rick

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Thought I’d share an anecdote, something I observed this afternoon, which made me smile a wry smile given this conversation.

As I was part way through a 2 mile walk home with around 10kg of shopping, I saw a chap walking with a bicycle, upon which was a similar load of shopping. I was perhaps 10 metres away when somehow the bicycle and shopping fell, with a crunching noise that can only have been a jar or bottle breaking, a few tins rolling about the road, and a stifled ‘for ***** sake’ from their owner. He didn’t need help, but I couldn’t suppress a smug smile after I walked past him.
 

Cowley

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Thought I’d share an anecdote, something I observed this afternoon, which made me smile a wry smile given this conversation.

As I was part way through a 2 mile walk home with around 10kg of shopping, I saw a chap walking with a bicycle, upon which was a similar load of shopping. I was perhaps 10 metres away when somehow the bicycle and shopping fell, with a crunching noise that can only have been a jar or bottle breaking, a few tins rolling about the road, and a stifled ‘for ***** sake’ from their owner. He didn’t need help, but I couldn’t suppress a smug smile after I walked past him.
Reminds me of something I heard earlier...

“I decided to ride my bike to the shops to buy a big bottle of gin. But once I’d bought it I was a bit worried that I’d fall off and it would smash on the way back.
So I thought maybe I’d be better to drink it first?
Well it’s lucky I did because I fell off my bike six times on the way home...”
 

philjo

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I use 2 large bags so I can balance the load in each hand. The durable Waitrose bag has a padded handle and can carry a sizeable amount. I have brought plants back home safely from Hampton Court flower show via trains and tube using that bag on several occasions. Normally I regularly walk to The garden centre and carry plants home -about 1.5 miles. It does help to stop buying too much !

on days when I was working in London I would sometimes visit Waitrose and carry the bagful home on the train to get items not available locally. obviously not possible at the moment!
 

corfield

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The rough rule of thumb (as anyone doing DoE etc will tell you) is that with a properly fitted rucksack with a waist belt correctly adjusted to keep the load over your hips you can carry a maximum of about a third of your body weight on your back. A third of my body weight is 43kg.

OK, I wouldn't carry that much but I have carried about 30kg half way up Ben Nevis (to the CIC hut).

So you'd be surprised. I wouldn't just sling a carrier bag over my shoulder as is being suggested, though!
a third of your body weigh is 43kg?? I’m 6foot (ok, 5 11 & 3/4 but 6 is so much better and 5 11 feels like I’m underselling myself!) and that is half my weight.

130kg is seriously heavy? (This sounds rude but I’m assuming an error!?) I don’t think that rule of thumb scales to such weights as if overweight then carrying more is the last thing you want.

20kg is a bag of sand. I’m able to get a weeks shopping in a 40litre rucksack (no hills packs needed!) and two tesco bags one per arm. I do top up some stuff during week though more about fresh/short lived items.
 

corfield

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Reminds me of something I heard earlier...

“I decided to ride my bike to the shops to buy a big bottle of gin. But once I’d bought it I was a bit worried that I’d fall off and it would smash on the way back.
So I thought maybe I’d be better to drink it first?
Well it’s lucky I did because I fell off my bike six times on the way home...”
This forum needs a like button!!
 

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