Special Report: Cycling

Let's Go Dutch Part V: Shopping by Bike

It takes a grand total of 15 seconds to hitch up the trailer to my bike to be ready for shopping. What could be easier?

By Kevin Love
Published February 20, 2015

There are two basic methods of transporting cargo. The first is with a specialized cargo bike. The second method is to take an ordinary bicycle and add such items as rear racks, panniers, and baskets.

Both methods are commonly used in The Netherlands.

For large, bulky objects, a specialized cargo bicycle is very useful. For example, there is an IKEA store in Groningen that rents out cargo bicycles for its customers to take home IKEA furniture. We see this starting at 9:15 in this video.

Cargo bikes are a useful way of transporting children. For example, here is a video of His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands carrying on a cargo bicycle his two oldest daughters, Crown Princess Amelia and Princess Alexia.

As families have more children, the volume of required groceries and supplies goes up. In Copenhagen, 25% of families with two or more children have a cargo bike.

Children can also be transported by ordinary bicycles fitted with child seats. Here is an example of children being picked up at a preschool event in Japan.

I defy anyone to watch my own children's favorite video of babies and bikes and not wind up smiling and happy!

Here in Hamilton, THAAT Co-op is a commercial delivery service that uses cargo bikes and trailers to deliver a wide variety of goods to businesses and homes in Hamilton.

How I Go Shopping

Specialized cargo bike vs. ordinary bike kitted out for cargo? This is, of course, a matter of personal preference. My own preferred solution is to add cargo capacity to my everyday bike.

This bike is a Pashley Roadster Sovereign that comes factory equipped with a Dutch style rack designed to carry a passenger, so even the heaviest groceries are no problem.

To this rack I have added Basil 65 litre panniers. These panniers are so useful that I leave them on all the time. A huge amount of my ordinary travel involves taking stuff with me.

Typical Grocery Shopping Trip

I just finished a normal grocery shopping trip, the sort of trip that I do quite frequently. It began with my wife Nina handing me a shopping list. Then I hitched up my Wike "Cargo Buddy" trailer and headed off to the grocery store.

Soon I had a shopping cart full of groceries.

Shopping cart full of groceries
Shopping cart full of groceries

So I loaded those groceries onto my bike.

Groceries loaded onto bike
Groceries loaded onto bike

The groceries fit nicely onto the trailer.

Groceries fit onto trailer
Groceries fit onto trailer

And my rear rack and panniers.

And here is the grocery receipt showing a list of all the items carried home when I went shopping by bike.

Grocery receipt
Grocery receipt

A Trip to the Dog Groomer

The grocery trip did not use all of my cargo capacity. I did not bother to bring my front basket, as I knew that I was not going to get enough groceries to need it.

My front basket is a "Pluto" animal carrier from Basil in The Netherlands. It does a great job of taking Princess, my Maltese dog, to the dog groomer,

'Master, take me for a ride to the groomer.'
'Master, take me for a ride to the groomer.'

'Now I look all pretty for Master.'
'Now I look all pretty for Master.'

Princess is not alone, as most dogs love going for a bike ride.

Shopping by Bike is Cheap and Easy

My bike trailer is currently being sold brand-new for $390 by its manufacturer Wike. Which is a local manufacturer in Guelph, Ontario.

For those who prefer a specialized cargo bike, Wike also manufactures medium and large cargo bicycles.

But I personally prefer to use a trailer with my everyday bike. It takes a grand total of 15 seconds to hitch up the trailer to my bike to be ready for shopping. What could be easier?

Kevin is a professional accountant and a retired infantry officer with the Canadian Forces. Kevin keeps encountering people who were students of his father, Dr. Robert Love, who was a professor at MacMaster University from 1977-2008. He lives near Durand Park in Hamilton and is currently Vice-Chair of the Hamilton Cycling Committee.

37 Comments

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Read Comments

[ - ]

By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted February 20, 2015 at 09:03:48

Another great option for panniers is the Basil memories basket, which you can get at mec. It slots on your rear rack with no effort. I usually take it in the store and it also slots on to the grocery cart.

Comment edited by AnjoMan on 2015-02-20 09:04:25

Permalink | Context

By walter (anonymous) | Posted February 20, 2015 at 11:51:40 in reply to Comment 109410

Basil bottle basket, found at bike hounds

Permalink | Context

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted February 20, 2015 at 11:18:54 in reply to Comment 109410

I like your bike! Who is the manufacturer? I can't quite make it out on the frame tube.

Lovely bike!

Permalink | Context

By Ling (anonymous) | Posted May 27, 2015 at 10:17:58 in reply to Comment 109425

Hi guys! That bike is a Papillionaire Sommer! :)

Permalink | Context

By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted February 20, 2015 at 13:28:00 in reply to Comment 109425

Ah, so funny story, this is the nicest-looking bike I could find when I did a google image search for 'basil memories bottle basket' --- unfortunately its not my bike and I have no idea what the brand is. It sure is a beaut though!

Comment edited by AnjoMan on 2015-02-20 13:28:23

Permalink | Context

By bikehounds (anonymous) | Posted February 21, 2015 at 11:44:37 in reply to Comment 109454

looks very similar to simcoe (which we have at bikehounds btw :-)

Permalink | Context

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted February 22, 2015 at 01:35:39 in reply to Comment 109492

Yes, it does look very similar. But current Simcoe bikes have a full chaincase, whereas the mystery bike only has a chainguard.

Yes, I'm a bike snob. Yikes!

Perhaps it is an earlier iteration of the Simcoe?

Permalink | Context

By moylek (registered) - website | Posted February 22, 2015 at 10:49:39 in reply to Comment 109509

Yes, it does look very similar. But current Simcoe bikes have a full chaincase, whereas the mystery bike only has a chain guard.

Great to hear that Simcoe has started to enclose the chains. It was the open chain which led to me dismiss Simcoe as an option when I needed to buy a new year-round bike which could handle snow and slush without the chain rusting up.

Permalink | Context

By seancb (registered) - website | Posted February 22, 2015 at 16:43:27 in reply to Comment 109515

you are both kind of right :-) the simcoe chainguard is full only on one side, the frame side is open and they use a zinc chain. It offers full clothing protection from the chain but not full chain protection from the elements.

The back-open chainguard is a compromise that allows much easier access to the wheel for tube changes. Using a galvanized zinc chain prolongs chain life, but not as well as a full chaincase would.

One add-on option for IGH/singlespeed bikes which don't come with full chainguards is to add the hebie chainglider which does not need any frame attachment mounts: http://boltonbicycles.blogspot.ca/2011/1...

Permalink | Context

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted February 22, 2015 at 18:47:21 in reply to Comment 109524

Yes, a full chaincase makes it more difficult to change the tube. But the solution to that is to get a Kevlar puncture-resistant tire such as the Schwalbe Marathon Plus.

As one sees from the videos, and here is another example, most Dutch bicycles use a full chaincase. I don't know the percentage of puncture resistant tires used. But it is only common sense. Puncture resistant tires are cheap and getting a flat is a real nuisance.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By RobRombouts (registered) | Posted February 20, 2015 at 09:58:11

We have a Bakfiets, which is the bike King Willem-Alexander is shown riding at the beginning of the video.

Our kids love it and it is great for getting around. I ride it to work most days (although I took a pass today). It's a bit of a pricey option, but it has replaced a car, so it was worth it.

Permalink | Context

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted February 20, 2015 at 11:27:08 in reply to Comment 109414

A Bakfiets is a wonderful cargo bike. Bakfietsen are currently being sold at Urkai in Burlington

The genuine article, imported from The Netherlands, has prices "starting at $3,095." Yes, a bit pricy, but it will last the rest of one's life.

Comment edited by KevinLove on 2015-02-20 11:27:19

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Crispy (registered) | Posted February 20, 2015 at 10:30:09

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Comment edited by Crispy on 2015-02-20 10:42:09

Permalink | Context

By Crunchy (anonymous) | Posted February 20, 2015 at 11:15:00 in reply to Comment 109419

Oooo, a real gotcha. You're SO right, eating some pretzels and nachos with your fresh fruits and vegetables is just as bad as spewing air pollution that everyone has to breathe and TOTALLY invalidates the authors point about choosing to ride a bike to do errands, thanks for your important contribution.

Permalink | Context

By Chewy (anonymous) | Posted February 20, 2015 at 18:12:30 in reply to Comment 109424

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

By Crispy (registered) | Posted February 20, 2015 at 15:34:38 in reply to Comment 109424

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By stiefhaus (anonymous) | Posted February 20, 2015 at 11:37:18

That dog bike basket is awesome... where did you buy it?

Permalink | Context

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted February 20, 2015 at 13:34:49 in reply to Comment 109429

I got it at Curbside Cycle in Toronto. I just took a look at Curbside's Basil stuff and they do not have it in stock.

The dog bike basket is the "Pluto" model. It is still currently manufactured by Basil. Their North American distributer is Fourth Floor Distribution, which is showing the "Pasja" model as in-stock. But they may be willing to order in the Pluto. I would suggest contacting them if you want one.

Permalink | Context

By stiefhaus (anonymous) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 10:51:57 in reply to Comment 109455

Thanks KevinLove, i'll look into that.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By ugh (anonymous) | Posted February 20, 2015 at 12:09:23

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted February 20, 2015 at 12:35:00 in reply to Comment 109436

This is Hamilton! Change is scary! We refuse to learn from what other places are doing! Nyah nyah nyah I can't hear you with my head up my ass!

Permalink | Context

By Hijacker (anonymous) | Posted February 20, 2015 at 17:59:04 in reply to Comment 109443

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted February 20, 2015 at 18:48:06 in reply to Comment 109470

Nope, I'm just tired of all the bullshit. Bullshit like you swooping in with a succession of nasty, disruptive comments all posted under different anonymous sockpuppet screen names so it doesn't seem as much like they're all from the same person.

Permalink | Context

By jason (registered) | Posted February 20, 2015 at 23:35:55 in reply to Comment 109475

are you able to permanently block the IP location? This is common practice with online forums. Prevents folks from trolling with multiple accounts.

Permalink | Context

By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted February 21, 2015 at 00:16:28 in reply to Comment 109488

iirc he already does that with certain previous dedicated trolls. i assume this guy is either using a shifting IP address or a proxy or simply hasn't pushed Ryan to that breaking point yet.

Permalink | Context

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted February 21, 2015 at 11:12:02 in reply to Comment 109489

It's the latter - but I'm getting close. I'm seriously considering putting an end to anonymous commentary. Last time I asked the RTH community about this, opinions were sharply split and some excellent reasons were put forward to keep allowing it. Now seems like as good a time as any to review the data and ask the community again.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2015-02-21 11:13:40

Permalink | Context

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted February 20, 2015 at 17:46:45 in reply to Comment 109443

The Netherlands is not perfect. In particular, there are serious problems assimilating recent immigrants from cultures that are profoundly different from Dutch culture.

I can just imagine someone in Amsterdam writing an article entitled: "Let's Go Canadian: Lessons on Multiculturalism from the Dominion of Canada." And being told by the usual trolls, "If you think Canada is so great, why don't you go there."

The reality is that no place is going to get better unless they seek out world-wide best practices and implement them. When it comes to liveable cities and street safety, The Netherlands is 40 years ahead of us and getting better. They changed. We can too.

The great advantage is that we can jump ahead 40 years without making the inevitable mistakes that were made in The Netherlands in figuring out how to do things right. There is a price to be paid for being a pioneer and doing all the experiments to find out how to do things right. We don't have to pay that price.

The key question is: Do we really want to get better? Do we really want Hamilton to be the best place to raise a child? Right now, according to UNICEF, the best place in the world to raise a child is in The Netherlands.

The Dutch people are willing to share that expertise. We can join the Campaign for Childhood Freedom. But only if we really want to get better.

Comment edited by KevinLove on 2015-02-20 17:51:18

Permalink | Context

By arienc (registered) | Posted February 22, 2015 at 14:11:38 in reply to Comment 109469

Fantastic response, Kevin! Loved the article, so many options and ideas here I thank you for putting this article out there.

It's indeed sad how the idea of learning from those who have gone before is such an alien concept these days. Recognizing one's strengths and weaknesses is an important part of life, if you can't handle someone asking the honest question of how can we do things better in this country, maybe it's you, "ugh" who should consider leaving to somewhere where complacency and negativity is more accepted. Good luck with that.

Permalink | Context

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted February 22, 2015 at 18:56:20 in reply to Comment 109519

You are very welcome!

Learning from others is very much a part of today's corporate business world. Because there are real consequences of failing to keep up with competitors.

Governments really have little competition and provide few alternatives, even when those alternatives are very popular. For example, there is a huge demand for living in car-free neighbourhoods. The closest one to here is the Toronto Islands.

The demand is so high that there is a 20-year waiting list for housing. And whenever a spots open on the bottom of the list, people pay $125 for a one-in-ten chance of winning a lottery to get on the bottom of a 20-year wait list.

That's high demand!

But do governments respond to that kind of demand by giving us those opportunities in Hamilton? No. Everyone is forced to live in car-dominated neighbourhoods. There is no choice.

Comment edited by KevinLove on 2015-02-22 18:56:42

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By FactChecker (anonymous) | Posted February 20, 2015 at 18:02:43

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted February 20, 2015 at 19:11:28

Canada is currently referred to as a Dominion by the first sentence of our constitution.

Whereas the Provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick have expressed their Desire to be federally united into One Dominion under the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, with a Constitution similar in Principle to that of the United Kingdom:

And in Section II as well:

It shall be lawful for the Queen, by and with the Advice of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council, to declare by Proclamation that, on and after a Day therein appointed, not being more than Six Months after the passing of this Act, the Provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick shall form and be One Dominion under the Name of Canada; and on and after that Day those Three Provinces shall form and be One Dominion under that Name accordingly.

Perhaps you wish to amend Canada's constitution. Good luck with that.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By moylek (registered) - website | Posted February 22, 2015 at 10:37:19

It's surprising how quickly and cheaply you can add carrying capacity to any bike. Here's my old hybrid with two collapsing wire baskets (about $15 each from Pierik's in Westdale) attached to a rat-trap rack (about $15 from Canadian Tire in Dundas).

BIke with collapsed wire baskets

The mess of straps on the rack was for holding my briefcase.

Opened up, each basket holds two full-but-not-stuffed cloth Fortino's shopping bags, or two six packs. Or one large Yorkie.

Yorkie going for a ride

My next bike, a Dutch city bike with a front rack and sturdy rear rack, expanded the possibilities - I could take two propane tanks to Canadian Tire for refills, for example (the second would be bungeed to the rear rack). And dropping my vinyl panniers ($40 from Bike Hounds) on the rear rack would have allowed me to pick up the hamburgers, buns, and some beer on the same trip.

Bike with propane tank

Here are the panniers I mentioned above: cheap, sturdy, capacious, and easy to take on and off:

Basil panniers

Comment edited by moylek on 2015-02-22 10:47:12

Permalink | Context

By moylek (registered) - website | Posted February 22, 2015 at 19:11:36 in reply to Comment 109514

By the way - the keen-eyed might recognize the red bike above as being the same type which Prince Klaus is riding in Kevin's second video. The average person might not be able to drive like royalty, but cycling like royalty is quite affordable.

Permalink | Context

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted February 22, 2015 at 18:59:06 in reply to Comment 109514

I like your bike! The front rack looks particularly useful. And the kickstand!

Lovely bike!

Permalink | Context

By moylek (registered) - website | Posted February 22, 2015 at 19:17:48 in reply to Comment 109528

Thanks :) The front rack with a large box or basket made quite a difference to my daily commute and shopping: I could just drop my briefcase, library books, some groceries, and/or a bottle or two of wine onto the front of my bike without worrying about carrying anything special. That particular model of rack will fit on pretty much any bike, I believe.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By L Oh L (anonymous) | Posted April 25, 2015 at 22:00:35

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted April 25, 2015 at 23:08:39 in reply to Comment 111086

It is fascinating that you think one positive lifestyle change obligates one to do everything perfectly, forever, in the opinion of someone who suffered lack of oxygen at birth.

Wanna know what the beauty of diversity is? There is more than one way to lower your carbon footprint. One person lives outside the city and burns 7 cords of wood per winter. Another lives in the city and burns little energy. One person drives because they love to. Another bikes because they love to. By embracing the diversity, we can all do what is best for us

Was wondering, could you write a blog post and tell us how it's done? I'm sure your house is geothermally heated, everything grown in your backyard and preserved for winter, I'm absolutely certain you don't smoke or do drugs or drink (naaah, no signs of that).

Permalink | Context

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to comment.

Events Calendar

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Blog Archives

Site Tools

Feeds