Thursday, February 20, 2014

Bikes deliver the library? Yup!

As I delve into the world of cargo bikes I learn more and more about what can be accomplished on a bike. Bikes can deliver all sort of things like groceries, medical attention, and appliances. Bikelocally focuses on where to go and what you can do on a bike. So, when I saw that Oakland Public Library will bring the books to you by bike I thought "this is a cool update to the bookmobile".

Oakland Public Library Bike Library
 Photo of the mobile bike library
(Photo by Michael Cuffe)

The bike library is a great PR tool for Oakland. Since the books will ride to you, hopefully more of Oakland's reads will ride to the books. Give OPL a call and have the bike library at your next event. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Shopping California without "paper or plastic"

California shoppers the next time you are in the grocery store relish the sound of your baggers words when they ask, "paper or plastic?". That question will be come a thing of the past if a proposed state wide ban on plastic bags is passed. LA TIMES on bag ban

Two Los Angeles assembly members have written and are supporting assembly bill 405 which would eliminate single use plastic grocery bags. In Santa Monica and now the city of Los Angeles the ban is already in effect. You can still have paper bags at a cost of $.10 cents each.

What's a bicycling shopper to do?

The local prohibitions on plastic grocery bags and the impending state wide ban opens the door for pannier and bike bag makers. There are several useful option if you are going to shop by bike without bags offered by your local grocery store.

The commuter trailer:

Conceptually the Burley Travoy is my favorite. With all the bells and whistles you have a dolly style trailer that unclips from your seat post and can be wheeled through the store as a shopping cart. Because there are two removable mesh bags that attach to the trailer it is a self-contained system for grocery shopping.

The cons are simple. As a trailer you seem to get the most stability when it is loaded. So the trip to the store could feel a bit unsettling but the bike ride home from the market should be a dream. This is the best option for single bikers shopping for  themselves. I'd love to get my hands on one of these for a full review.

Rack and panniers:

Some of you may not want the extra attachment hanging from your bike, there are on board options for you. If your shopping doesn't fill up more than two bags you can go the traditional rack an pannier route. Modern urban pannier bags are a great option. There are options that are extra tall and those that have carrying straps making them very versatile.

If supplying your own reusable bags is your preferred method of food conveyance, then pick up a cargo bike. A popular bolt-on option is the Xtracycle FreeRadical X1. The kit is complete though it can appear pricey at an MSRP of $449.00. When you consider all the people and stuff in can carry the price is in line with other add on options.

Xtracycle FreeRadical X1

The next step up from the Xtracycle is a purpose build cargo bike. I won't go into all your choices here. You are invited to take a look at an exhaustive list of options around from around the world at

We are now far afield from grocery bag options. The fact that we have a range of options is a beautiful thing for people who use bikes as transportation. The options are plentiful so there is nothing stopping you from taking care of all your errands by bike.

What are your plans for shopping by bike without "paper or plastic"?