Cycling to get groceries is great for health and sustainable for the earth

In Singapore, people love their cars and many people will even tell you that it's impossible to live here without a car. Sure there is public transport that is pretty good, but it’s a fact that Singaporeans love cars. Why else would we pay exorbitant prices for them?

And a good point that I bring up is grocery shopping because here in Singapore, people like to buy their groceries in a bulk one to two times per month. I'll tell you right now it's pretty dang hard to do that without a car so how do we get groceries on a bike and how can we have our bikes and eat them too? I present to you three tips for grocery shopping on a bike!

Tip number one: cycling route planning, ideally choose a grocery store that is closest to you

Don’t forget to take into account the amount of climbing and descending that you have to do in order to get there and back. Because if you go down a hill you'll probably going to have to go back up the hill with a bunch of groceries on your back and on your bike. However, sometimes you can cheat climbing here's the pro tip: don't climb with 20 kg of groceries on your back if you don't have to climb with 20 kg of groceries on your back.

Take an elevator now with more weight on a bike descending can become unstable twitchy and unpredictable which just isn't safe. So try to minimize the amount of climbing and descending that you have on your route to and from the grocery store often flat routes and the shortest distance are the best. But not always. I usually shop at NTUs because of its close proximity to me but Foodie’s Supermarket food is so much better it's worth the trip.

Tip number two: carrying capacity of your bike setup

Know how much weight and volume that you and your bike can carry. I made this mistake but way more food than I could carry and got stranded in a cold storage parking lot. But at least I had food if you're like me and all you use is a backpack to carry your belongings when you go out riding you'll probably have to go grocery shopping 1 to 2 times per week. But this isn't really an issue because I mean I just swing by the grocery store on the way home from work and it's not a big deal. I mean it's like it's like it's on the way um so I mean it's grocery shopping. It's like you know part of the weekly routine I mean I just did I just go I just go you know this it's not it's not a big inconvenience. It's what I'm trying to say but if going grocery shopping at least once a week or even multiple times per week is a big inconvenience for you, the best way to increase your carrying capacity is to get a rack a bigger bag panniers, or a basket. This will allow you to get more groceries in one trip so you don't have to keep going back and forth on the grocery store.

Another thing to consider when you go grocery shopping on one you actually get your groceries is that you'll have increased weight and your bicycle ecosystem. That means there's going to be more downward force on your tires which means we'll be more prone to flats. So something to keep in mind is that you might want to increase your tire pressure if you are getting a lot of groceries.

I personally prefer carrying cargo and groceries in the rear if I can’t fit it in my back pack. This is because having a basket in front of me or other carrying mechanisms obstructs my view of the road in front of me and also tends to make the steering in the cockpit feel a little sluggish.

Tip number three: Don’t get a shopping cart, it won't fit on your bicycle

Especially if you're carrying your groceries via backpack do not I repeat do not - don't do it – do not get a shopping cart. Pick up a basket when you walk into the store because of how space works you can't cram a shopping cart full of groceries into a backpack unless you're a wizard. I know I've tried and I found out I'm not a wizard when you go shopping have a list and stick to it be a sniper to your list. Only get the items that are on your list this helps you save money and it also helps you save precious backpack space.

Tip number four: avoid process foods

Lastly try to avoid processed foods not because they're bad for you but because they're heavy and they take a precious backpack space. It seems that the more processed of food is the more worthless packaging it comes with that I don't need to take home. Because of that I buy a lot of fruits and vegetables because they come with less packaging and one back Pack’s worth of fruits and vegetables is usually enough to feed me for an entire week.

Bonus Bicycle Grocery Tip: Plan ahead

As with all things cycling, a little planning really goes a long way. If you can plan what meals you’ll have for the entire week ahead, you’ll know what groceries you’ll need. That way, you can easily split up the amount of load you’ll need to carry on your bike from the grocery store home. For example, if you’re having a rice based meal but are low on rice, you can spend the first day getting rice from the grocery store home, and pick up the rest of the ingredients on a separate day. This will really help to make the load a lot more manageable.

So to recap know where you're going and how know how much you can carry. Know exactly what you're going to buy you can have your bike and eat it too, and if you need a good bike for getting the groceries that can carry loads of food, we highly recommend the low maintenance belt-driven Frigate!

December 16, 2022 — Victor Tong

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