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.


graham_f said...

Hi CycleDad, Just wanted to say hello, and that I find your blog an interesting read. I've got a 9 month old daughter, and I want her to grow up with cycling as a part of her life (well, lets face it, we haven't got a car so it's going to be!) She's just started nursery and we're getting her there and back in her Chariot which she loves. Not had any problems with traffic so far as we try to avoid rush-hour, and a lot of the route is along a traffic free cycle route. Will be interested to hear how you get on with your trailer.

cycledad said...

Hi Graham_f!

Nice to hear from you. I'm glad your enjoying the blog. There is so little on family cycling out there! Early on we considered a Chariot but felt the seat would be best for us in the end. As winter approaches again, it will be interesting whether Mike will be persuaded to try the trailer... PS 9 months is a great age! Your daughter will learn so fast in the next 9months. Get every cuddle you can now, cos quite soon she'll be her own person!

Tom said...

Hello CycleDad
Good blog, very useful - have you come across anyway or anyone that has managed to get two kids (3 and 11 months)on a bike, for the nursery run, but not using a trailer? My problem is I would have to wait in traffic if I used a trailer, might as well use the car!. I've been toying with the idea of just adding the I-Bert safety seat to the handlebars; wondering how stable this would be. Any info you've come across would be great. Cheers

cycledad said...

Hi Tom,

Its a very common question and i fully understand the key point about keeping something 'bike shaped'.

There are 3 main options:
-One on the front one on the back. I havent done this, but a lot of people do. Bike Radar family cycling forum has many converts to front seats and full "on the road packages are starting to appear in the uk now":

-2 on the back. There are certain bikes with extended rear ends that take 2 kids. In the US they use the xtracycle. In Europe its trickier. I;ve seen plenty of photos but not seen a manufacturer. They are common in holland

-Long Bikes. These are specialist long bikes that take more than one person. Many of these cease to be bike shaped, one of the best i've seen is the "8 freight".

I'm planning a few posts on this subject sometime soon...Heres a sneak preview just to make you jealous: