Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bike to Eat

Before I gave up my car, I wondered about how my choice might affect my pocketbook. Could going carless (full disclosure: WTOP still provides me with a station vehicle)  save me money? Would that make an impression in my bottom line?

Here's a perhaps-unexpected way that biking to shop has saved me from impulse buying. When  you have to shop by bike, you think hard about just how much you want to haul back home. If you really want to lower the boom on your spending tendencies, pick a small bike bag. You learn pretty fast just how much fits in that thing.

I come back from a trip and I need groceries. I get on my Gazelle Medeo, a heavy (by American standards) Dutch-made bike. It's got shocks on the fork and the seat for a super comfy ride. (Take that, you potholes!)  And it features a nice built-in bike rack that lets me snap a pannier-style bike bag into place. One that can get my basics back home in fine shape.

So off I go after two weeks away, looking to fill the pantry back home. The fascinating thing is how this instantly changes what I pick up in the grocery store. Nothing like having a single bag to carry home to help you separate the "have to haves" from the "nice to haves".

It gets pretty simple:  you don't buy what you don't need when you have to fit it all in a bike bag and pedal back home.

1 comment:

  1. I went car-free 3 years ago. I have two pannier bags that I can fill with needed groceries. I can buy 2 (or more) of stuff if it's on sale, but I first make sure I've bought the NECESSARY items I came for. I usually make a few runs to the grocery store during the week. I also have a flatbed trailer I can hook up to my bike, and place a large plastic tub on it, and I've filled that up with lots of groceries & cat food. The trailer can haul up to 150 lbs. I KNOW I've carried at least 70 lbs. on it, and it does fine. So, whether you use panniers or a trailer, getting groceries isn't a problem.