Field of Science


How to carry groceries on a bicycle

Bicycles are very efficient vehicles, but not the best at carrying things like groceries that tend to be rather heavy and a bunch of loose items.  Ideas abound about how better to do this particularly when you live in a nicely convenient urban area where a grocery is reasonably nearby.  If you have chosen to live in a services desert, i.e., suburbia, well, tough.  However not all ideas are good ideas, and as an experienced bicyclist, this idea just shouts "this is stupid!"  Carrying something heavy out at the end of your handle bars is a very good way to smear yourself onto the pavement.  It's a matter of something called moments of force; the further out of the bars the weight is the more force it exerts on the steering, and the more force you have to use to overcome that weight.  You can't move the bags in closer to the handle bar post because then you knees bump into the bottom of the grocery bags and your oranges go bouncing out and down the street.  Even if you could always buy exactly two bags of groceries and then balance their weight by distributing the contents, swinging bags are no fun to ride with because they tend to swing in opposition sort of pulling your handle bars back and forth.  So solutions, baskets and bags, that carry the weight directly over the front or rear tire, or astraddle the rear tire are much more practical (see here and here).  TPP's semi-recumbent BikeE has a behind-the-seat bag with a strap so it can be detached and carried as a shoulder bag.  Great for commuting to the office.  Of course some of us park our bikes right in our offices. 
Sorry still no pictures; a technical problem prevents them from being uploaded from my PC. 

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