Friday 28 November 2008

A shopping expedition

Shopping trips may seem mundane, but they are a type of journey that makes up a large percentage of the total that most people make. Everyone needs to eat.

Enabling shopping trips to be easy by bicycle is as important as enabling trips to school or work.

This is a journey made on a perfectly normal bicycle by a person wearing normal clothes. It's about 2 km in each direction to get to the shop shown, though I have a choice of two other shops which are closer than that.

The video is cut to make it more varied and take out repetitive parts, and I take a different route home in order to show some variety. However it still accurately portrays what a journey of this length is like. You see very few cars as they take other routes. Talking of which, if I was to drive I'd have to stop at two sets of traffic lights to get to that supermarket, and while the parking is free at the supermarket it is further away from the front door of the shop than I can park my bike. It's almost always quicker by bike than by car.

In the video you will see the "lonely bicycle" which is parked at a bus stop around the corner every day, and one of the underpasses which allows cyclists to avoid traffic lights. There is also a stretch of outdated cycle lane which is soon to be replaced along with a section of what I expect to replace it, we get to completely avoid a roundabout twice, we have priority when crossing roads twice, ride on residential streets which are empty of moving cars because they provide permeability only for bicycles and collect our shopping without using any carrier bags because it can be transferred directly from the supermarket trolley into the bike baskets. We also see lots of other people doing the same thing, because there are always lots of other people cycling everywhere.

This was actually a slow day at the shops. On busier days I can't get my bike indoors at the shopping centre because there isn't room.

You can fit a sturdy carrier rack to your own bike, along with bicycle panniers or baskets in order to carry luggage.


Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed watching this video David :) Do you have a camera on your head or just a very steady hand whilst cycling one handed?
I also shop on my bike - although I tend to go early before the roads get too busy because we don't have seperate cycle paths.

David Hembrow said...

I hold the camera in my hand. It's pretty safe to ride one-handed here, whatever time of day it is, and the cycle paths are (mostly) very smooth.

Anonymous said...

David we could do with your Old outdated Cycle Paths,they are better than our New Cycle Paths. I like the way you can cycle inside the Shopping Mall,it keeps the Bike from getting Wet. In theory they could do the same here in Ireland as the Malls are around the same size that they could allow you to bring the Bike indoors and leave outside the Supermarket Door. I notice you were able to leave a Cycle Computer on the Bike without it getting Nicked. I have done this myelf a few times by accidentally leaving one on my Bike, one was robbed a few Years ago in a different District to my own however. I have not had any stolen outside my Local Supermarket but you are taking a big chance.A lot of Supermarkets now have Bike Racks but it is only a token amount,we could do with a lot more.Where I live there is Tesco and a few Years ago there was no Racks at all but now we have them for about two Years and they have put in a few more. So Bike use is steadily increasing everywhere all over the Country and in Dublin it is getting harder to find a spare Biking Rack free.Now we could do with decent Cycle Paths. I like the Life in the Netherlands that you have shown us, Brilliant Video.

David Hembrow said...

It's pretty safe to leave things on your bike here. I don't think anyone removes things like bike computers.

Parked bikes generally have something left on them.

Anonymous said...

A few times in the Centre of Dublin in O 'connell Street in the Central Promenade where People Park their Bikes ,I have noticed People have left their Panniers and sometimes Cycle Computers. They must be Tourists,not many Local People would chance doing that. I could be wrong maybe the times they are a changing. I always take the Panniers with me and anything else that could walk unless I am in Eye Contact say at a Cafe sitting outside beside the Bike.

Anneke said...

At shops it is generally safer to leave things on, like a bike computer or removable lights and the like. But when you park your bike at a trainstation anything that is easily removable needs to taken off. I think it has to with how long the bike is 'alone'. At a trainstation it is expected to be there for an entire day, while at a shop it can be there for only ten minutes. I don't have anything to remove, because everything is basically bolted to the bike... :)

Anonymous said...

Except for the infrastructure and the parking, my shopping strip this morning was remarkably similar to yours :-)

I rode about 1.5 miles over residential streets. Stopped at 3 intersections crossing secondary arteries. Parked my bicycle at a rack with high wheel-bending potential. I locked to the side of it so I could support the frame. I cinched it up tight so that I could load without tipping -- full front basket and 10-pound bag of charcoal on the rear rack.

I saw no other cyclists this morning at the store or on the route. But it is a dreary, chilly day with a bit of sleet. Yesterday the weather was nicer. There were four cyclists at the store, and I saw four more along the route.

I need to make some movies of our situation in Springfield. I may try a helmet mount first :-)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this- The buildings are reminiscent of the UK, but the cycling facilities look more like (some parts of) Germany, which is very confusing.

It's taking time, but I'm getting more used to leaving things on my bike. I used to take lights, computer and anything I was carrying off when I left the bike, but these days I usually forget until I see the front light shining through the shop window.

Yesterday I forgot my briefcase and realised when I saw it in the Xtracycle on my return...

2whls3spds said...

Excellent! My trip is about 3k each way. It is pretty much a straight shot, but is is on a main road with no cycling facilities :-( And I wouldn't dare ride it one handed. But we ride it anyway! One of these days we may see some widespread cycle paths in the US...maybe.


Nick said...

You wouldn't like to come and do MY shopping too, while you're at it, would you David? You'd earn my grateful thanks! At the speed you manage to cycle, it wouldn't take you too long to get down here.