Sunday, October 01, 2006

Errands by Bike

My friend, Andy Davidson, and I were reflecting the other day on the pleasures of running errands by bike. Andy reminded me of the difference between cruising to the hardware store on two wheels so that you can prop your bike right outside the front door versus driving over, circling the block looking for parking, and eventually returning home because it’s too much of a hassle to deal with.

I rarely go to any store by automobile, so I forget—or block from my mind—the headaches associated with running errands on four wheels. I generally consider any time I take the car to be an opportunity for cycling lost, so whenever I can go to the grocery, hardware, pet food, video, or drug store on my bike, I’ll usually take it.

Sunday mornings, especially during the school year, I try to get most of the week’s shopping taken care of while everyone else is still dozing. I realize this makes me a boring creature of habit, but what I like is to get out of bed about 8:00, put the panniers on the Saluki, ride up to 15th Street, have coffee and read a couple sections of the Times at Victrola, and then do the shopping.

I can fit lots of stuff in my two big Jandd bags—easily 75 or 80 pounds when the load includes potatoes and orange juice—and if I tie stuff like eggs and chips on top, I usually make it home without breaking or crushing them.

If I had to get in the car, drive through traffic, park, get out of the car, shop, put the groceries into the car, close all the doors, get back behind the wheel, drive home, park, get out of the car, take the groceries out of the car, and then go back to close the car and lock it, I’d hate it.

On the bike, though, it’s just another pleasant Sunday morning ride.


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