If you’re tired of looking for a spot in crowded supermarket parking lots, and spending almost as much money on gas as food, cycle to the grocery store instead! It saves you gas, it’s fun, and you get a work out on the way (so you can pick up some extra chocolate while you’re there). Parking is never a problem, and even if you’re in the city and usually walk to the store, you can carry a lot more on your bike than on foot!
There are certain challenges to cycling with your groceries, but some simple planning can make it an enjoyable experience. Have an idea of what you’re going to buy beforehand, and be sure you have a way to carry it. Most trips I carry everything in my messenger bag (a large messenger bag can be a cyclists best friend). You can bring it into the store with you, load it up, and avoid wasting plastic or paper bags.
If you need more hauling capacity, a rear rack and panniers is the way to go. Not only do you get the additional space, but it keeps the weight off your back. That can make your ride a lot more pleasant, especially if you have more then a few miles to go. Panniers also make it less risky to transport things that could get crushed in a messenger bag, like soft breads or fruit. Montague folding bikes can accept a standard rear rack and panniers, so you can make your Paratrooper or Boston 8 into the ultimate grocery machine.
While you’re at the store, think about what you’re buying! Having a good diet is essential to a healthy lifestyle, and proper nutrition is especially important when you’re active. Cycling every day takes a lot out of you, so it’s important to fuel your body with the good stuff.
- Avoid processed and if possible, packaged food in general. Fresh food is certainly healthier and sometimes even cheaper.
- Fill up on nutrients, not empty calories! It has a huge impact on your metabolism, and how much energy you receive from your meals.
- Eat less meat. Those who have a vegetable rich diet live longer than the average citizen. When you do have meat, think small portions of lean protein. Even some professional cyclists like Levi Leipheimer, don’t eat meat at all.
- Stay hydrated. This one is a no-brainer, but it’s so often neglected.
When you go for long rides, it’s important to bring some food along with you. Try a more natural energy source on your next trip, like bananas. They’re rich in carbohydrates, provide natural sugars for an energy boost, and their high levels of potassium are great for fending off cramps. Oh, and they fit nicely in a jersey pocket!
Alberto Contador does it!