Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Man Does Weekly Shopping Run

I promised amazing adventures of doing the shopping and i mean to deliver!

Mike and I usually do a mid week shopping run to local Market town Saffron Walden. Previously i could only pick up bits and pieces that could fit in a pannier and a basket. This always meant shopping had to be carefully packed into the panniers which was always a bit of a stacking puzzle. It also had to be done one handed while holding onto Michael.

I went on my first shop with the trailer this Tuesday. It was interesting. A quick note here. Mikes still on the seat. There's no way he's going in the trailer, he wants to sit on the bike with dad. Here's how it went:

Getting ready: Took about the same time. No mounting of panniers and basket, but had to get the trailer out of the shed On the plus side the weather looked iffy, so i just chucked jackets into the trailer. A lot less hassle than deciding on the optimum amount to carry.
Verdict: Nothing in it so far.

Getting there:
Hmmm. Well the ride was fine. I was taking it easy, just to get used to the handling, (which is very good). The trouble began when i got to town. First i got to the usual traffic light queue. Instead of shooting down the right hand side until i got to the lights (no RLJing mind you!) i felt very stuck. After 5 minutes of queuing i got through the lights. Right time to park the bike..... I suddenly realised that the bit of railing outside Waitrose that i normally chain up to would be inaccessible with the trailer due to the chicane of pedestrian barriers that i'd need to negotiate. I decided to park in the Waitrose car park bike racks. Of course this is Essex, so the bike racks are out of the way, in a dark corner... Its an extra few minutes cycle round as well.. grumble grumble...
Verdict: Hmmm, mildly annoying

Locking Up: When i get there, I'm met with a kerb that might as well have been a cliff face. So i get off, push the bike through the car park, past the waitrose entrance, and back round to where i wanted to get to in the first place.....Phew! Got there now its time to lock up. Actually that went quite well. I stopped, whipped Mike off the seat , dumped him in the trailer (to restrain him), locked up bike, stuck trailer next to bike , locked up trailer, pulled out Mike and bag and off we went.....Locking up took about the same amount of time but was easier because i could leave Mike in the trailer. Verdict: Finding a bike rack: Angry letter to council! Locking up , lovely job!

Normally the journey takes 20 minutes it took 30 minutes this time. I could find a better place to lock up, but I'll still get stuck in traffic. Now it was time to sprint to the GPs (where i was now 5 minutes late for an appointment.....

Going: After a couple of hours and coffee and cake at CouCou, its time to complete the shopping and head home. This worked great, dump bits and pieces into trolley, do shopping, take trolley to bike dump into trailer. Its like a boot! Mount up off we go.
Verdict: I have a boot on wheels!

Mike dozes off on the bike and i unpack the shopping and put my feet up!

Conclusion: Mixed! I'll use it a lot , for big shops. For trips to the library and a loaf of bread i'll stick to the panniers. Real pros and cons. Parking and in-traffic handlling being the biggest. Not for rush hour! Still a good buy for £80.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Buggy Business

So i have my new buggy. I wanted to blast out some first impressions while they are fresh:
  • Its easy to hitch up
  • Michael doesnt want to sit in it but thinks Doggy should. Doggy is his soft toy.
  • After a while you forget its there
  • Its impossible to maneauvre bike and buggy once dismounted
  • It has a biiiiig turning circle
  • Cars cant overtake very easily (which is bad?)
  • Its great just throwing stuff into it , no careful packing of the panniers
  • Its a hassle to park
  • It rattles which is unnerving, but not dangerous (its the buckle on the safety strap
  • Its great for a sunday trip out i wouldnt fancy it in town in the rush hour

Its first trip out was a Sunny sunday out to Audley End on Apple day. I felt very 'Sunday driver', cruising around with a trailer full of picnic stuff. Mike spent all day carrying Doggy, which was sweet. We filled the trailer up with apple juice and headed home. Mike obvioulsy spent the whole day on his Bike seat. He thinks the trailer is great (it does look like a childs toy), but its clearly not for people.