Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Simple Solution for Unforeseen Groceries

I have now stopped using the Urbana bike that I was test-riding in April and have gone back to my Gazelle. While overall I prefer the Gazelle, I do miss some of the Urbana's neat features and have been trying to devise ways of making the Gazelle just as accommodating. Among other things, I want to find a DIY solution that will emulate the utility of Urbana's fantastic rack that accommodates any grocery bag without requiring panniers. I thought hard, but could not come up with anything... until fate did it for me. If you haven't fainted yet from my use of plastic bags, perhaps you'll appreciate this.

Yes, two bags tied together and turned into "panniers." It was totally impromptu. We were cycling past a grocery store just as it was about to close, when we realised that we had neither anything to eat at home, nor anything to carry it in if purchased. We ran in and bought some food, thinking we'd carry it home on the handlebars. But then, in a flash of brilliance, the Co-Habitant created the objet d'art you see here. We cycled home ridiculously happy. I guess this is what one of my readers meant when he wrote that "a peasant in any number of countries with a million plastic bags can figure out and equal number of ways of carrying their stuff."

Question: Why would one even buy dedicated grocery panniers, if they can take a pair of reusable canvas bags, connect them by the handles (with an S-hook or a bungee cord), and secure them to the rack either via rat trap or via the same bungee? I realise that the plastic bags in my pictures look horrible, but a pair of nice reusable shoppers could look as good as panniers while also being more versatile and costing just a fraction of the price. Does it just not occur to people in the same way it did not occur to us? While I am delighted to have this method of carrying groceries in a pinch, I am also feeling foolish that I did not think to do it earlier. It takes skill to recognise simple solutions, and that's a skill I would like to develop.

67 comments:

  1. This is where dressguards and a nice, long wheelbase really help...

    But omg, this is embarrassing :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your canvas bag option...I think this would only work on a rather flat, sedate ride. This does not describe my very bumpy, fast downhill ride from the local Trader Joe's. I need my pannier grocery bag to be attached to the rack at the bottom, otherwise, there are going to be groceries spilling out all over the place or the bags are going to swing into my feet or other places they don't belong. In a pinch, I will put a bag over my shoulder and ride with one hand.

    ReplyDelete
  3. MDI - What part, the PLASTIC BAGS or the PLASTIC bags?

    Anyhow... gotta mix it up after that unrealistically beautiful ANT.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Amanda - I absolutely cannot ride with a bag over my shoulder, especially over bumpy/hilly terrain!

    The grocery bags cannot spill, because tying them together also keeps them closed...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ghettofiets represent!

    Thanks for quoting the typo, BTW (stupid smiley face here). What I write in your comments sections is strictly between you, me and the, uh, rest of the world.

    re: simple solutions. A Chinese friend once relayed to me something her grandmother said, "Chinese are the original environmentalists." It's a mindset, I guess.

    I'm eagerly expecting a Urbana review and am blindsided by this. The horror.

    ReplyDelete
  6. The Urbana was taking over my life; I had to bring it indoors and stop riding it!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Huh? Don't be mysterious or anything.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Personally, I would never have the courage to hang plastic bags around my bicycle. For a simple reason i'll only end up looking like the homeless! XD XD XD

    I'm actually thinking of getting a medium-sized tricycle for hauling groceries.

    A few weeks ago I saw someone in the park where I frequent riding a tricycle. I swear its the most coolest thing i've ever seen in my 19 odd years of cycling!

    Maybe a new era for tricycle love could be approaching.

    ReplyDelete
  9. BTW, the bag on the shoulder trick only really works on my very upright bicycle, not on my mixte. I would still not try the tie the bag on the rack trick on the DL-1, even with the long chain stays, due to the potential for erratic bag swaying down the hill and over the bridge that I travel.

    I seriously think you need some Clarijs Double Bags on your gazelle (and I am seriously wanting them for my DL-1 one of these days). It will interfere with the removable bag option you prefer for your bicycles, but turn your Gazelle into a much classier but equally utilitarian grocery hauler as the Urbana.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anon - I guess I am courageous : ) Would it help that I was dressed up? Pearls and all!

    But in all seriousness, I think it was pretty obvious that we were riding home from a grocery store and were not homeless. Still, I am so linking to this post the next time someone accuses me of being "form over function"

    Amanda - I would not benefit from a permanently mounted double pannier system, because 95% of the time I cycle with my laptop. I need a quick release single commuter pannier that, ideally, looks like a satchel or briefcase. But I do love how those hefty double panniers look on others' bikes.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Looks like a good solution for you, but of course not for all. Long distance and bumpy road is not ideal. I agree the dressguard is part of the solution, not sure I would try this without it (unless I was desperate..).

    Not sure I would ride with panniers all the time (unless some folded type). They catch a lot of wind and slow you down. This is why I like baskets better, plus panniers is often bleached in the sun. If forgetting to bring something for groceries was happening often I would go for foldable baskets.

    Did we get a good closeup picture of the famous rack? I am sure there could be some sort of DIY solution..
    badmother

    ReplyDelete
  12. My DL-1's rack comes with a briefcase clip, which is also ideal for clipping on a plastic or canvas shopping bag. I also leave my Carradice Pendle on there permanently too, which can accommodate some groceries in addition to my lock, pump & patch kit. All this still leaves me with one side of my rack free for a regular removable pannier.

    The briefcase clip is a very welcome addition to the rack, I hope they make a comeback.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Here in Oz we have reusable enviro bags you can buy for around $1 at the supermarket, so you don't feel guilty about using plastic bags. As an environmental statement they aren't great as they take just as long to break down in land fill once they die, but I digress. These bags which are in increasingly common use won't tie satisfactorily at the top for bike rack purposes. Groceries still spill out - I'm speaking from experience :-).
    Embarrassing as the standard plastic bags look, the fact that they tie at the top make them a great emergency solution when you're out without panniers, or a solution if you are still dithering over the perfect pannier.
    If you don't have a spring loaded piece on top of your rack, the plastic bags do tie to the side. Be careful however if you're travelling any distance with them - make sure they don't rub on the axle or you could be facing grocery disasters as they'll rip. Again, experience :-)

    ReplyDelete
  14. I've done the canvas sacks tied together thing as you describe. My problem was that they would get into the spokes and make noise or slow me down. With double panniers, the sides up against the wheels are nice and flat and usually come with a stiff cardboard in them so that no matter how much I pack into them, they wont get into the spokes.

    I also hate how loose bags can flop around. I've seen stuff bounce out! On our last 30 km trip, my oldest was biking along and his waterbottle came flying out the back side of his bike looking like a jumping salmon. Luckily it was a stainless steel one and it just took a mild dent.. but it was hilarious to see it try to escape for a ditch.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Ha! Love it! So what if it's plastic bags. The cleaver-ness makes up for not having *real* panniers. And it works!

    Anon - My husband just bought one of those trikes for that very purpose! We're still assembling it, as it was shipped sans instructions.

    ReplyDelete
  16. You could do a loop-to-loop connection with the handles (regardless of bag type) - the one drawback: one of the bags would need to be empty in order to thread through the other handle.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Pretty cool, I bet if you triple bagged it you could carry ten pounds on each side(No curb hopping, wheelies or stair jumping though...).

    Spindizzy

    ReplyDelete
  18. back when I was first cycling on my Trek hybrid and had not yet scraped up the cash to buy panniers, I used to try out all of the various ersatz methods for porting groceries on a bike: plastic bags dangling from handlebars, biking one handed, bungee cord on the rack platform and also, as you did, two bags tied to each other and hanging off the side of the rack and woven underneath the rack platform.

    With that particular attempt, I think I went about half a block before one of the bags swung into my rear wheel and got shredded, spilling produce all over Prospect St.

    As MDI indicated: dressguards FTW

    for my part, I think that ushered in the year when I biked around with aluminum folding grocery baskets on the rear rack (which never did quite behave when I wanted to keep them folded) ... gosh, those things were dorky looking back at them now, but they worked insofar as they let me put school bags and groceries on my bike without worrying about how they'd move around while I rode or how good my knot tying skills were, and I think they were only $20 at the time.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I agree with Amanda. The plastic bags don't bother me per se, but I wouldn't trust them to a)stay secure and b)stay intact and c)stay out of my wheels on the rides I do from the grocery store.

    It looks like an bag accident waiting to happen to me, ending with groceries strewn all over the road.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Putting ones laptop satchel in the hefty double panniers is common practice around here.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Well, Veloria, yesterday I thought you were back on track to loveliness but today, well... this is worse than the Urbana. Practical, yes. Convenient, sure. Crafty, uh huh. But lovely? Nope.
    Canvas bags would work as panniers in a pinch, but over time they would shift, the handles would tear off just as you were going over a bump, rain would get in the tops, the bags would sway going around corners, and if you didn't have dress guards things you tends to get caught in your wheel and seriously mess it up.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Homeless people are people. Not wanting to "look like the homeless" is a very classist statement.

    There is no shame in your spur-of-the-moment solution, V & MDI. Just make sure you reuse/recycle those PLASTIC BAGS and all is well.

    While I'm not in love with the rack on the Retrovelo, the shop (My Dutch Bike in SF) added binder straps. I find that I can strap all sorts of stuff to it -- a rain jacket, a 20lb bag of cat food, packages for the post office. One of my regular methods of carrying stuff is to use a tote bag with a zipper and just strap the bag to the bike. Sometimes I just keep a reusable grocery bag strapped to the back for those emergency shopping trips. But I would totally do the plastic bag trick if I needed to.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I've done this often. It doesn't work when you are carrying fresh soft breads and fruits. They get quite mangled in the process. Especially if they distance is greater than 1 mile.

    Of course this is my opinion :) But when I use the wagon to pull our great big load of groceries (say when we need TP and flour and hubby wants some 'refreshments') I will use the reusable grocery bags and hang our breads off the back of the wagon on the handle. And yes... they do end up more mangled than otherwise but less mangled than in the wagon.

    Hope that helps!

    ReplyDelete
  24. "Necessity is the mother of invention."

    Besides, there was an aesthetic statement to be made by juxtaposing pearls and polyethylene in the same situation.

    Never realized you were a performance artist, did you?

    laughs quite a lot,

    Corey K

    P.S. I think you should make this post a sticky.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Corey K - In a way, blogs themselves are a form of performance art. Perhaps I'll change the banner to one of these plastic bags pics...

    ReplyDelete
  26. Lynne - I agree with you about the homeless. But I also think it is natural (not "morally correct" but natural - different things) for those who are not homeless to fear being mistaken for being homeless. Social status is important to people and tied in with their self-esteem. If plastic bags on a bike are perceived as a symbol of homelessness or poverty, I can understand why it would make people uneasy.

    Having said that, I don't think that a woman riding a nice bike and wearing clean office clothing, with 2 (not 12) plastic bags strapped to the rear rack will evoke images of homelessness any more than the same woman walking and holding those bags in her hands. So frankly, I don't see what the big deal is.

    Plastic bags... Almost everybody uses them on occasion. Probably more than 50% of my readers use them regularly, whether they want to admit it or not. It's none of my business. I do not want this to be the kind of blog where people are ashamed of their choices, whatever those choices may be. Here is an earlier post about reusable bags.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Sorry if this post takes the discussion off topic:

    Does anyone have solid data for the environmental cost of plastic bags relative to other grocery-related packaging? Or are grocery bags simply iconic, another thing that the media and some groups have latched onto?

    I happen not to use plastic bags because I have better ways of carrying my groceries. However, it seems to me that the packaging for the said groceries adds up to far more waste than what would be produced if I did use grocery bags. While some groceries come in bulk, many do not. And while glass jars, cans, and paper/cardboard are recyclable, recycling carries a non-negligible energy and toxic chemical cost --- though for some items, especially aluminum, the cost is less than extracting the necessary ores. Moreover, it seems just as likely that some small percent of these packaging materials end up as litter, the same way as plastic bags do. Data or insights, anyone?

    ReplyDelete
  28. fwiw, I generally assume the homeless-looking person is the richest in town. :) < / WASP >

    ReplyDelete
  29. Aaron - I think this was discussed in the comments of this post, though I could be wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Jon Webb - It's possible that you misunderstand the point of this blog. By "lovely" I don't mean "pretty," but rather a meeting of form and function in a way that enables one to cycle without compromising one's lifestyle. I doubt that there are many people here who have not, at some point, walked with a couple of plastic bags in their hands... or, for that matter, driven with a dozen plastic bags in their car. The idea is that just because you are cycling (instead of walking or driving) past a grocery store and forgot your pannier/reusable bag/whatever, doesn't mean you can't run in, buy something, and attach it to your rack via these "emergency panniers". And yes, I think that's "lovely".

    ReplyDelete
  31. Well, with all due respect, that's not what lovely means.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Jon - Definitions include: "...delightful; highly pleasing... highly satisfying... splendid... amiable" - all of which are extremely subjective and open to interpretation. What I described in the previous comment is my interpretation.

    Janice in GA - The biggest problem is with "handle fatigue." If the bags are too heavy, they can tear (which of course also happens while walking). So this solution works best with light grocery loads.

    ReplyDelete
  33. A lovely solution!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Wald baskets solve this problem entirely. I have some Walds on the rear rack of my utility bike, and a couple of cargo nets and a bungee cord rolled up in my under seat tool bag. I'm never without them, and have a carrying option even if I forget my reusable grocery bags. Plus, they're useful for all sorts of other things. I'll even toss a laptop or work bag in there sometimes. When I'm carrying some bike specific bags on the rear rack, they go over the folded baskets fine. I suppose I could even load loose items in the baskets in a pinch, I suppose, but I have not been required to do so.

    On my work commuter, I have no baskets, so I suppose I might try the tied bag trick if I needed to. However, I'd worry about the bags splitting open or the handles tearing off in transit, and I wouldn't want to double bag and double the waste.

    I occasionally will have to get plastic bags at the store, usually when I have driven there for a larger number of groceries than I can carry on the bike, and forgot to grab my grocery bags, which I don't carry in my car anymore now that I bike most places. Of course, I hate myself for it later.

    As to Aaron's query, I would posit that most plastic bags get thrown in the trash, as most curbside recycling does not allow them, and few people bother to bring them back to the store. At least some percentage of the containers the groceries themselves come in are accepted by most curbside recycling, so I would think they are much more likely to get recycled. Of course, ideally you want to reduce your consumables in the first place, by buying fresh, local food that does not require extensive packaging, and growing food yourself, and reducing unnecessary consumption overall. But the plastic bags are a huge problem. There are huge islands of plastic in both the Atlantic and Pacific, and a lot of that is comprised of plastic bags. A lot is plastic caps and other packaging, too, as well as various consumer products, but I feel like the plastic bags are some of the least recycled, and most unnecessary of the lot.

    Here's a recent story I saw on plastic contamination of the Midway Atoll:
    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2011/04/albatross-chicks-midway-atoll-eat-5-tons-of-plastic.php

    Pretty scary stuff, that much garbage in so remote a place. The scientific community has said we have the technology to make significant strides in repairing some of the damage we have been doing to our oceans, but that our window of opportunity to take such action will close within 10 years. Unfortunately, given the response when they informed Congress that BP's use of chemical dispersants would exacerbate the Gulf spill, I do not see much hope that we will gather the political will to take this last chance. Still, I'll keep biking and using my reusable bags.

    Garth-

    ReplyDelete
  35. As we all know lot's of new products start out as a "flash of brilliance" to resolve an unforeseen need. Other people see the solution and want a copy for themselves and soon a business is born!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Love it! But given the inexpensive jug o'wine, big glass bottles of milk, and 6.5 miles of bumpy road, I wouldn't be comfortable hauling my groceries home in plastic bags. For these times, my lower pannier mount is my best friend. I do admire your and MDI's ingenuity, however.

    Would some clamp-on hooks installed on your rear rack be sturdy enough to emulate the Urbana's setup?

    ReplyDelete
  37. Garth - Wald baskets:

    on Pashley, part I
    on Pashley, part II
    on vintage Austrian bike

    After I sold my Pashley last summer, I decided not to install Wald baskets on the Gazelle, because I wanted to use a bag that was mountable both on it and on my other bikes. I would have to either install the baskets on all of the bikes then, or get an office pannier that was compatible with all of their racks. The latter is an easier and ore practical solution. Also, while the baskets are useful for small to medium loads, they are limited when it comes to larger and heavier loads. They cannot support very heavy loads, and their placement can get in the way of more stuff being strapped to the bike as well.

    Plastic-related contamination is a topic on which I have a great deal to say... just not here. But it's not as simple about worrying about plastic bags. Nearly everything we use nowadays contains harmful plastics, unless we go out of our way to avoid it. I recommend the book Our Stolen Future for those interested in the topic.

    ReplyDelete
  38. ^ more practical, not "ore practical"

    ReplyDelete
  39. use what you already own. a hiking backpacks could carry around $40's worth of grocery. use it on or off the bike.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Carry straps in yr toolbag; instead of bags, use a cardboard box strapped to the top of the rack. FIts 2/3 bags worth of groceries and is relatively stable, compared to loose bags. In my rural area this works well when I don't have panniers. Of course this works even better on a porteur rack / wider front rack. But another flattened out box underneath works well as a support for the strapped on box as well. I have an 8 mile ride back from the grocery store, up lots of hills on potholed / dirt roads - this has saved me a few times.

    ReplyDelete
  41. I have been known to dangle grocery bags from my handlebars, and it's a big pain. Yours is a much better solution. For those who look down their noses at using plastic shopping bags, remember that some stores, like our local food coop, collect and reuse them. Recently I bought a light-weight REI backpack that I can fold up and tuck in my pocket, then break it out when I realize we're short on milk, bread, eggs, etc.

    ReplyDelete
  42. One of the dirty little secrets of the bike business is that about 90 percent of all riders who cart anything on their bikes are using improvised solutions of one sort or another. Actually, if someone in a third-world country found a couple of plastic bags, he or she would probably think it a treasure for all of the ways in which it could be used!

    That makes me think of the film "The Gods Must Be Crazy," in which a recreational pilot drops a Coke bottle onto the African veldt, where it is found, unbroken, by a native. They had never seen anything like it before, and found all sorts of uses for it. That led to people fighting over it, which causes the leader of the tribe to undertake a journey to toss the bottle off the edge of the Earth. Along the way, he encounters Western Civilization--in the form of a bunch of guerillas on the run and a romance between a feckless scientist and a schoolteacher. It's a lot of fun to watch as a kind of visual shaggy-dog story.

    Back to porting things on bikes: I've never liked using backpacks or messenger bags while riding. After impromptu stops at greenmarkets, I've tied bags to handlebars or, if the bags were small enough, slung them from my saddle rails. Or, if I'm close enough to home, I'll simply hang a bag on the fingers of one hand, the way the delivery guys (All of the ones I've seen are male!) from the diners and restaurants do it. I've never tried your solution, but now that I've seen it, I probably will.

    ReplyDelete
  43. A great improvised approach, but not a long term solution. The fact is that if you know you are going to the store, you'll bring bags. At that point, it doesn't matter if they are bike-specific panniers, or just canvas bags. The bags are more useful in non-bike situations, but as others have said are much less stable on the bike. If you spontaneously stop at the store while out on other business, you won't have your bags with you anyway, so it doesn't matter what's back home in the closet, and your improvised solution works well. Perhaps you can find a couple of big aluminum carabiners you could keep on your bike to clip things on? Or, more stylish, pick up a spare leather toe strap or 2.
    Does this idea only work for 2 bags with an essentially equal load? would it work for one, or three?

    ReplyDelete
  44. I dunno. I consider my folding wire panniers dedicated grocery panniers. The point being I can just toss my canvas grocery bags in without fiddling and jimmying and knotting the tops. If I just tied canvas bags on the sides wouldn't they get soggy from rainwater?

    ReplyDelete
  45. "I would not benefit from a permanently mounted double pannier system, because 95% of the time I cycle with my laptop. I need a quick release single commuter pannier that, ideally, looks like a satchel or briefcase. But I do love how those hefty double panniers look on others' bikes."

    That's a hot look, for sure. I bet you could jam your business pannier or satchel into a Clarijs with plenty of room to spare for impromptu shopping.

    ReplyDelete
  46. The other argument for the folding baskets is simplicity. I try to make it as easy and quick as possible to load and unload. Having to spend time looping and tying and worrying about an unstable load is just going to discourage cyclists from using their bikes as transportation, and add unnecessary hassle and inefficiency.

    Garth-

    ReplyDelete
  47. The last time I was in Haiti I saw a guy on a bike carrying 2 huge bags of charcoal, each about the size of a mummy, one across the rear rack and one across the handlebars. He steered with his hands flat on top of the bag. But what really stood out was he had a HUGE (like XXXX Large)cheap pull-over raincoat on which he had sewed the waist closed with string and cut holes in the shoulders so he could slip his arms in. He wore it with his arms in the sleeves and his head in the hood. It looked like he had it stuffed with clothes or fabric in bundles, it must have weighed 75 pounds. I wish I could have taken a picture without looking like a jerk and pissing off everyone in the neighborhood. I wonder what that was like.

    Spindizzy

    ReplyDelete
  48. do we think plastic bags would have coped with the 6 bottles of wine and twelve bottles of beer I carried up from Douglas to Onchan the other day on the Isle of Man?

    "Lovely bike"> I think any bike can be lovely if it is loved. This weekend we had people on; IF custom tourer, Hewitt Cheviot Taiwanese tourer, GT road bike rigged with a rack secured by P clips, Genesis Croix de Feu, Bianchi & BMC carbon rocket ships, Specialized Allez, decrepit Austrian MTB, our custom fillet brazed tandem and several others. All were lovely.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Based on some of the comments, I think there is some confusion that I am suggesting plastic bags for dedicated grocery trips... I am not, that would be absurd. This solution is for a quick popping into a nearby store on your way home when you realise that you're out of bread/milk and it's closing time and you've got no bag. Surely this is not such a rare situation...

    Dedicated grocery trips, especially over long distances, require a system that is both stable and can handle large volumes. In some cases, I believe that 2 simple canvas bags can fit the bill - I have done this with the bags that were provided with the Urbana. In other cases, those would not be sufficient. Naturally, it all depends on terrain, volume, bike, and other factors. Everyone needs to evaluate their own circumstances and see what works for them. No solution will work for everyone at all times...

    ReplyDelete
  50. ah, but, V, you did pose the question of:

    "Question: Why would one even buy dedicated grocery panniers, if they can take a pair of reusable canvas bags, connect them by the handles (with an S-hook or a bungee cord), and secure them to the rack either via rat trap or via the same bungee?"

    which I think is, of course, more of a discussion prompt than a suggestion and it's about the reusable canvas bags rather than the plastic ones -- however, there are still drawbacks to reusable bags, as discussed, especially with the lack of structure and weight bearing reinforcement that one finds on most shopping bags -- and of course your earlier point about handle fatigue.

    Still, using the language of "why would one even consider ..." seems to raise this as a generally durable solution rather than as a sort of one-off jury rig as you're trying to assert.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Right - in some circumstances, namely for local grocery shopping - which I believe is more common for people than long-distance grocery shopping. But anyhow, you're right. I confuse myself sometimes.

    Oddly, I did not find that the reusable bags I used on the Urbana went into the spokes, and that bike - unlike my Gazelle - does not have dressguards. It must depend on the form of the bag.

    ReplyDelete
  52. That's a good idea. But maybe not on a bike without a skirt/coat guard.

    ReplyDelete
  53. This is wonderful! Thank you for this post. Recently I've been upset to see how much panniers cost. So I made my own from scratch with oilcloth fabric. They turned out pretty spiffy, but halfway through the process I had this epiphany too- why can't I just tie some canvas bag straps together and loop em over my rack. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  54. I'm sorry, but I find this post very entertaining. Velouria I have never met you, but if I were to come across you riding your Gazelle with two grocery bags hanging off your bicycle, after I've purchased a lovely pannier based on reading one of your reviews, then can you imagine the look on my face and me scratching my head while seeing you ride on by :) I agree with one of the commentors great ingenuity on your part. Sometimes you have to make do with what you got at the time :)

    ReplyDelete
  55. Sue - I am glad; it was meant to be entertaining : )

    ReplyDelete
  56. "Perhaps I'll change the banner to one of these plastic bags pics... "

    You're braver than I am, Madame V.

    laughs even more,

    Corey K

    ReplyDelete
  57. That's how I often carry groceries on my bicycle, only I hang the canvas bags from the handlebars. It's also manageable with just one bag.

    Since the handlebars flare outwards, it's simple to just wrap the canvas bag straps around handles until they cinch up tight. It is amazing how stable it all rides. No clunky basket to get in the way.

    Looks a bit odd, but it gets the job done and I imagine it balances the weight more evenly without all the weight being on the back tire.

    I actually do have another bicycle with built in baskets, but I don't often use it.

    :0)

    ReplyDelete
  58. Velouria said: "After I sold my Pashley last summer, I decided not to install Wald baskets on the Gazelle, because I wanted to use a bag that was mountable both on it and on my other bikes. I would have to either install the baskets on all of the bikes then, or get an office pannier that was compatible with all of their racks".
    badmother
    Not sure I agree. You can keep baskets on some bikes and no baskets on others. You can use the office pannier on the rack if no rear basket or just put the same office pannier into the front or rear basket on another bike. Maybe not the most stylish but practica. If you go for style before practical that is ok, most of us do that when we feel strongly about it.

    About "The gods must be crazy": Great film (s), great point made. Only thing I am sorry to say is that if there is one thing you could be sure you could buy "in the middle of nowhere" in Africa, also long before the film was made it is coke.. Once got into a serious conflict with a local coke representative over me painting over a coke comercial on a sign by the road for a "XX Nutritiongroup Farm". I won.

    ReplyDelete
  59. i live in a predominantly chinese neighborhood and they love a good DIY. industrial sized soy sauce buckets turned into baskets. lots of DIY fenders made from scrap wood, scrap metal. DIY wooden racks. they would've been impressed by this pannier solution! not sure if this will work with a bike with no dress guards, but perhaps a DIY one for this purpose could work (a cheap garter clipped to the fender either side of the wheel, shoestrings tied from the rack to the fender struts?)

    ReplyDelete
  60. When I hang a grocery bag on the handlebars, my biggest problem is that it often hits my knee as I pedal. What am I doing wrong?

    ReplyDelete
  61. Something wrong with your knees (grinning..).

    Could be many reasons, bike geometry and stuff. From reading what you write it sounds like your seat is quite a bit lower than mine. That would mean that your knees must be more bent and therefor "sticking more out" than on others. Also "sit up and beg" position is less stretched out than many others.

    Also sounds like you are easely disrupted when riding so maybe it is more annoying to you than for others.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Too Funny!! love all the comments. As I just have one bike, I keep my Zimbale Front Rack Bag and my Zimbale 11 liter Saddlebag attached most of the time. Most impromptu grocery stop items fit just fine. But I wouldn't hesitate to try the plastic bag trick as well. As a pet owner, I always chose plastic and reuse daily :)~

    Sky King

    ReplyDelete
  63. Anon - It's not that I am disrupted, but things come flying out of the grocery bag if my knees hit it, or else it goes into the front spokes.

    It also just occurred to me that the plastic-bag-pannier method could be a lifesaver in NYC, where the police are now strictly enforcing the "no stuff on the handlebars" law...

    ReplyDelete
  64. Agree w/anon 5:00 - your bars are high and the HT angle is slack, combined with a lowish seat your knees stick out to hit the bags.

    Ways to alleviate banging: lower bar, raise seat, get more seat setback or all the above.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Not in the state in Australia where I live, SA. Plastic bags like those have been banned. We not have to use re-usable bags - which you can get some that scrunch up really small and would probably do the same job.

    It's amazing when you are banned from using something as simple as a plastic bag but everyone just gets over it and moves on. Great for the environment.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Hanging panniers is MUCH safer and morestable than hanging unstructured bags of canvas, vinyl, plastic, or whatever fabric/material. I have a 1970s Peugeot UO-18 mixte with front and rear Blackburn cargo racks and use front and rear panniers for grocery shopping or hauling loads from the hardware store: nothing banging on my knees, no swaying loads, nothing jumping into my spokes and jamming my wheel, causing an accident. And my steering is always stable and safe with unweighted handlebars, too.

    I haul my laptop in a shoulder (messenger) bag for more protection from vibration but can also dump my briefcase-messenger bag in a big rear pannier. The panniers come off quickly for fun, faster riding if desired.

    Please be safe and use the proper tools - racks and panniers - instead of unsafe and often illegal kludges....

    Jon Spangler
    League of American Bicyclists League Cycling Instructor #3175

    ReplyDelete