Cycling isn’t just a great way to stay in shape, it’s a practical method of transport for hauling groceries from the store to your kitchen cupboards. Whether you’re a recent convert to cycling or an experienced peddler, you’re probably thinking about ways to increase your carrying capacity. With the Hulken bag, you have a heavy-duty tote that can take the hassle out of grocery shopping, as well as a bike-friendly storage solution. Below, we’ll explore the best ways to carry groceries by bike, as well as run through some of the most important things cyclists need to bear in mind when taking to the road.
What To Consider When Carrying Groceries by Bike
Are you looking to lower your carbon footprint? Perhaps you’ve never driven and are tired of hauling bags of groceries home by hand. Rather than spend a fortune on grocery deliveries, why not carry your grocery store haul home via bicycle instead?
As well as being great for your waistline and good for the environment, carrying groceries by bike is surprisingly convenient. However, you’ll need to ask yourself a few questions before deciding on the right carrying method for you.
For starters, think about how much stuff you actually need to carry with you. Are you someone who likes to get all the grocery shopping done in one go or are you someone who makes several trips to the store during a week? Next, think about the area you live in. Do you live in an urban environment with a lot of traffic congestion? The type of traffic you’ll encounter will play a big role in the kind of carrying method you choose.
Do you live in a slightly more rural area? While you won’t have to deal with crawling traffic and hundreds of fellow cyclists, you may have to deal with difficult terrains and challenging surface conditions. This can all inform the type of carrying method you choose. Finally, consider what you’re comfortable with. If your fitness levels aren’t at their peak just yet, some methods are going to be more comfortable than others.
6 Methods for Carrying Groceries on Your Bike
Have you recently purchased a new bike and need to brush up on all the ways you can carry groceries from A to B? Below are a few of the most popular ways to haul your cargo back from the store in one piece.
The Crate Carry: Using a Crate for Convenient Grocery Transport
If you need to carry groceries for more than one person, you’ll need a more generous haulage solution for all that produce. Using a crate is one of the more convenient options for carrying groceries. However, it’s not suitable for any bicycle owner. For starters, you’ll need a front-mounted or rear bike rack that can accommodate a crate. If your bike doesn’t have a front or rear rack installed, your bike will need to be adapted.
However, a rear rack is definitely a sound investment. Once installed, you can quickly and easily attach bags full of grocery shopping to your bicycle. Depending on how large your rack is, this can save you several trips back and forth to the grocery store. If you’re not used to cycling with a heavy load, the extra load can take a little getting used to. However, provided you’ve fastened your cargo to your rack with bungee cords or sturdy zip ties, it’s one of the safest and most secure ways to transport groceries.
The Backpack Load: Carrying Groceries with a Backpack
If you’ve only filled a single grocery bag at the store, a backpack should prove sufficient. Perfect for smaller items, even casual cyclists shouldn’t have any trouble wearing a backpack while they cycle home. However, the type of backpack you wear can make all the difference.
Even if you are carrying smaller and lighter items, it’s easy for a backpack to shift around in transit. A flimsy rucksack that’s been gathering dust at the bottom of your closet since your school days probably isn’t going to be sufficient. Instead, think about switching it out for a more comfortable alternative with back padded and extra straps. Ideally, you’ll want one that can be fastened at the chest and hips. This way, there’ll be minimal movement as you turn corners and navigate along busy cycle routes.
The Trailer Haul: Efficient Grocery Transport with a Bike Trailer
Cargo bikes are a popular choice for people who need to carry a huge amount of stuff from A to B. However, a typical cargo bike is more expensive than an everyday frame. If you’re looking for a more affordable alternative, bike trailers are something to consider.
Flat trailers are easy to find and can be mounted to most bicycle frames. What’s more, they offer an incredible amount of storage capacity. If you need to shop for an entire family and want to reduce the amount of trips to the store, they’re an obvious choice. However, you’ll need to take extra care when tethering all those grocery essentials to ensure they remain in place during transit.
The Rack System: Secure and Organized Grocery Carrying with Racks
Most bicycle frames will have bike racks installed. If your bike has a particularly wide rack, you can use the rack system to increase your storage capacity with a saddle bag or two. Saddle bags can be picked up in a variety of sizes, providing you with maximum flexibility for getting fresh produce and grocery staples home in one piece.
They’re particularly good if you need to navigate through rough terrain on your way home. However, you’ll need to make sure the bike bag you buy is compatible with your rack system. For best results, go with bags that are completely waterproof to ensure you’re covered in any weather.
The Basket Convenience: Optimal Grocery Transport with Bike Baskets
If you only need to carry a small amount of groceries, using a bike basket is a good option. Generally speaking, a front bike basket can only house a single bag of groceries. This makes this option best for single people or those who don’t mind regular trips to the store.
Even though you’re carrying less cargo, you’ll need to take steps to secure your items. Bungee cords are an essential here, although a net is also worth adding to the top of your basket to keep everything in place.
The Handlebar Solution: Carrying Groceries Safely Using Handlebar Attachments
It’s never a good idea to hang bags from your handlebar. Dangling grocery bags can affect your balance, making steering a challenge at best and dangerous at worst. However, handlebar bags are a good compromise.
These bags can be attached to the handlebar section of your bike, keeping all that extra bulk in one place so your center of balance isn’t thrown off. Handlebar bags are easy to find and are compatible with most bikes. What’s more, you’ll find a range of capacities to meet your storage needs.
Where To Buy Gear To Carry Groceries on a Bike
However you plan on carrying groceries on your bike, you’ll probably need some extra gear to adapt your existing bicycle frame. Thankfully, it’s easy enough to find bungee cords, nets, panniers, and rack systems. Online retailers tend to offer the best prices on bicycle accessories, although your nearest sporting goods store will also offer a decent range of essentials. Think about picking up some storage must-haves the next time you’re shopping for a new bike lock.
Safety Measures and Precautions
Once you’ve decided on your grocery carrying method, you’ll need to think about road safety. Even if you’re lucky enough to live in an area with excellent cycle routes, you’ll still need to remain vigilant of traffic and other cyclists.
Securing the Load
This is one of the most important safety factors to bear in mind when cycling with extra cargo. No matter what storage solution you’re using, that extra load will need to be securely tethered to your bicycle frame. By now, you should have already adapted your bike with racks, baskets, or handlebar attachments. However, you’ll also need to make sure your bike storage is properly secured.
Bungee cords are one of the most cost-effective and secure solutions for tethering bags and baskets to bikes. For added peace of mind, think about also using tie-down straps. If you’re worried about theft, it’s also worth adding an additional U lock to your bag or crate. As well as deterring thieves, you’ll benefit from an extra layer of security.
Visibility and Lighting
Every cyclist needs to be hypervigilant about road safety. Even if you only cycle during the daytime, it’s crucial that you remain as visible as possible. To ensure you’re covered for every eventuality, make sure your bike is equipped with a white headlight. Tail lights aren’t a necessity in every state, but it’s a good idea to add a red one to the rear of your bicycle. Along with a front and rear light set, think about adding reflectors to your bike storage or wearing at least one piece of reflective clothing when cycling.
Even if you practice excellent road safety, you can’t guarantee that fellow cyclists and motorists will do the same. If possible, try and plan your route ahead of time. This way, you’ll have a clear idea of any challenging traffic conditions that lie ahead and adapt your route accordingly.
During your journey, make sure you’re constantly observing the road around you. You also need to ensure you’re making clear signals to other road users to avoid any accidents. Make sure you clearly signal before making a turn and always check behind you before changing lanes or making a turn.
Carrying the Hulken Rolling Tote Bag on a Bike
Thinking about using the Hulken to take the effort out of grocery shopping? This heavy-duty tote is perfect for schlepping to and from the grocery store. However, you’ll need to run through a quick checklist first.
Compatibility and Attachment
While the Hulken is perfect for cyclists, you’ll need a bike that can accommodate it. In order to carry the Hulken on your bike, your bicycle will need to be equipped with a rear bike rack. If your frame doesn’t have one already installed, now’s the time to adapt your fame.
Loading the Hulken Bag
To make your journey as easy as possible, take care when packing your groceries. Rather than randomly stuff items into your Hulken, group your groceries instead. Place heavier items at the bottom of your Hulken, distributing them evenly to help you maintain balance while you’re on the road. Lighter and more fragile items can then be placed on top to avoid breakage in transit.
Securing the Load
Once your Hulken is packed and ready to go, you’ll need to secure it in place. For added protection, use bungee cords to keep your Hulken held in place. To ensure nothing spills over while you’re on the move, securing a cargo net over the top of the bag is a good idea.
Riding with the Hulken Bag
As with other bicycle storage solutions, it’s a good idea to adapt your cycling pace while traveling with the Hulken bag. Lowering your pace slightly will allow you to maintain better stability while you’re on the road. What’s more, you’ll have much better control over your bike.
Take the Hassle Out of Grocery Shopping with the Hulken
Tired of struggling for a seat on public transport? Had enough of making constant trips to the grocery store and want to increase your carrying capacity? Even a modest cycle can be adapted with an incredible amount of storage capacity. The Hulken is one of the most versatile totes on the market, with its generous design and travel-friendly credentials making it the perfect choice for cyclists looking to take all the effort out of grocery shopping.
Looking for more ideas? Here's our go-to guide on how to carry groceries in a city, eco-friendly travel, and supporting sustainable brands. Moving soon? Our sustainable moving bag on wheels is all you need.