Bicycle Skill Tip

Yesterday, I went to the grocery store via bicycle. Some years ago my bicycle was my only set of wheels, and I was one of the rare Miami bike-commuters. Even though I was an experienced bike rider, there was an invaluable tip I learned one day from the guy who worked at my neighborhood Farm Stores, and I was reminded of it yesterday.

Pre-tip, I used to wear a huge backpack into which I would pack all of my groceries. It worked, but it was really heavy, and also pretty hot in the summer. However, when I would bike a few blocks over to the Farm Stores to pick up a couple of items, I wouldn’t bother with the backpack, and I would sling the handles of the plastic sac over each end of the handlebars, or I would simply carry the bag. The Farm Stores guy was familiar with me, and we were friendly, although we really couln’t communicate beyond the basics. After months of observing my bag-slinging technique, he finally stepped over with a smile and showed me the only sensible way to attach any bag to the handlebars: slip both handles of the bag over one end of the handlebars only and scoot it toward the stem, spin the bag so that the handle-straps are taut, then wrap the bag back-and-forth over, under and across the juncture of the handlebars and stem in an x-form until there is no more leeway. The bag will be centered, the contents cannot fall or shift, and your center of gravity will not be compromised. You can do this with as many bags as will fit on your handlebars.

I remembered the gift of that simple tip as I was attaching my grocery bags to my bike yesterday. The Farm Stores guy was obviously a more serious and practical bike rider than any of us with our fancy backpacks or paniers, and I’m so glad for his help.

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