Errands and Bikes DO Mix!

It is damn hard to find time to work out!  Work, commute, errands, chores, house cleaning, doctors, parents, kids, yard work, homework, friends, and any number of other things seem to take priority over any chance at working out.  Not to mention that during the Walking Dead season, I lose another hour of opportunity (LOVE that show).  Finding time to ride the bike is no different.  There are just only SO many hours in the day.  If you are lucky enough to live close enough to work to bike commute you won’t have this issue.  Sadly I am entirely too far away!

Hours in the day also vary throughout the year. Ok, I can hear yall now saying “Uh hey pal; there are always 24 hrs in a day.”  Yep, you are right, but how many daylight hours are there?  Here in Seattle the sun goes down EARLY (before 5) in the winter.  (We do make up for it in the summer when I can bike until almost 10 PM with the sun still up.)  This means not only do you have a bucket load of things to accomplish, but sometimes less than 12 hours of light to do so.  And that doesn’t even factor in the weather!   I know I’ve already pointed out how to ride in the house, but that makes bike riding a chore.  Even with movies it isn’t that much fun.  Biking outside is fun AND good for you.

So here it is finally a nice Saturday, but you’ve got a ton of errands to do.  You’ve got to hit the grocery store, drop off dry cleaning, go to the bank, drug store, mail some bills and maybe even hit the mall for one thing or another.  How the heck do you do this AND get a bike ride in?  Well boys and girls, it’s easy, USE the bike instead of the car.  Crazy I know, but suddenly chores and errands become fun!  Remember to buy a GOOD lock and have it with you and use it.  Even for a short run in and run out of a building.  Otherwise you could be walking home.

My bike has a luggage rack and I have panniers (saddle bags), it makes it easier for me.  However a decent sized backpack can work as well.  Trailers to tow kids also work well for groceries.  To run errands on a bike just requires some prior planning.  Stuff the laundry in the panniers (or backpack) and make it one of your first stops even if it is out of your way or would be a waste of gas to go there first.  Remember, these are bike errands/working out.  Extra unnecessary miles are simply a longer and better work out!

After dropping off the laundry get the smaller errands done.  Mailbox/post office, bank, library, drugstore (yes bikes can go through the drive through just like a car) and maybe even the mall usually won’t take up much room in the bags.  Once these are done, make the grocery store the last stop.  It takes some strategic backing to get it all in the bags or backpacks on the bike, but you will get better at it.  Couple tips: Watch the bumps if you buy eggs.  Also, back all the cold stuff together.  Finally, pedal fast if you buy ice cream on a hot day!

In the long run, you get extra miles in, an extra work out, better parking, save gas, and maybe even save money.  With limited space, you are less likely to over spend at the mall or the grocery store.

Two things that don’t work well:  Watermelons do NOT ride well in a backpack, and I have never figured out how to pick up laundry from the dry cleaners.  Just not sure how to get it home with the shirts still cleaned and pressed!  If any of you figure it out, PLEASE let me know!


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