Saturday, August 14, 2010

Weekly Grocery Run

I am going to try to post more often on this blog since I've had a lot of interest from people to "see" how we (especially me with the three kids) live car free on a day to day basis.  I haven't really posted pictures on this blog before.  I'm not sure why I avoided it so long, but I think they might be helpful to some.  So here goes.

Saturdays, during the Illinois growing season, often start with at least part of our family cycling to the Market at the Square in downtown Urbana.  About 4 miles one way.  We don't have speedometers or odometers (my husband, Rob, used them years ago when he raced/trained and I had one for a time) on our bikes anymore for various reasons.  There is a lot of construction along our "normal" route to that part of Urbana so it is probably longer than the 3.5 miles google maps comes up with by bike and more like the 4 miles it displays by car.  We rarely just go straight anywhere, either way.  Today we dropped some items off at the Champaign Public Library and stopped at the bank for cash.  Thus, four miles is probably the most accurate even without construction if mileage matters to you.

Some Saturdays include classes for the kids (usually at a location on the way home) in the morning or afternoon, others include soccer games (around 2 more miles after we pass our house).  We are often on a schedule to get the shopping done and get back for something or we split up and one adult goes with a child or two to the market as the other does the classes/games.  Today was a rare Saturday, we all went together and had no pressing engagements.  We took three bikes (Rob and I both rode our Xtracycles with a child each on the back and Parker - 10 years old - rode his own bike).  Some weeks grocery shopping includes the market, Common Ground Co-op, Strawberry Fields (for sandwich bread and other items we didn't find at the market and co-op), El Charro (for avocados or makings for tamales), World Harvest (for olives and specialty items), and Mirsung (for ingredients for Indian food).  Today was just the first two stops which are conveniently located next to each other. Very nice since the cool off from last night's rain was a distant memory by mid-morning and the heat and humidity were back, not quite as fierce as earlier in the week, but we were all dripping with sweat on the ride home.
Here you see my Xtracycle with our almost 3 year old, Josie in the Pea Pod.  Dema, our six year old, is helping unload the Freeloaders (cargo bags) and he rode on Rob's Xtracycle (also pictured) on the snapdeck.  For more information about Xtracycle and a glossary of terms, check out the links.  We bought our Xtracycles (a blanket term I am using for the kits we purchased from the company) several years ago prior to going car free while we still lived in Savoy.  I sold their products through my business at the time, but now, understandably,  Xtracycle deals only with bike shops with mechanics on staff.  They have so many cool new products, I drool when I go to their website.  There are also more and more cargo bikes on the market all the time, but our Xtracycles have served us quite well over the years and will for many years to come.  Parker's bike is not shown, he is meticulous about taking care of and storing his bike.  It is safely in the garage by this point.
Here is our grocery haul (sans a bunch of bananas I found left in my Freeloader after taking this picture, just like a car, our cargo bikes have a way of swallowing up our belongings):  Two pints of blueberries, a broccoli bunch, 4lb. package of tofu, large bag of peaches, a dozen ears of sweet corn, bag of grapes, loaf of bread, bag of okra, reusable grocery bag full of kale bunches, 1lbs. bag of mushrooms, bag of salad mix, two bags of frozen pizza dough, 3lb. bag of carrots, large watermelon, five summer squash, two onions, banana bunch, reusable bag full of nectarines/plums/and more peaches, bag of apples, and a container of miso.  A pretty normal size weekly purchase for us (check out my vegan blog if you are interested in the food).  Last week I went with just Josie and I was able to bring it all home on my Xtracycle.  Several weeks Rob took Josie while I kept the boys.  He doesn't have a Pea Pod so he takes the Chariot.  He will use the back of the Chariot then to haul some of the load.  The main reason we need both Xtracycles on the market trips is to carry the two kids and because one never knows what else we may need to pick up.  It is nice to be prepared.  We could also carry Parker home if something were to happen to his bike or bring a friend back with is.  You might see in the first photo, Rob has a Timbuk2 Bag.  He carries this everywhere.  It is quite heavily laden with I don't know what all (sometimes the awesome rain gear I bought for his birthday this year).  He often just puts groceries in his bag.  He has hauled an amazing amount of beer and all sorts of other things in his bag.  One does not have to have a cargo bike to run errands without a car, but we do love them.

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