I walked up to the counter at the local grocery store, my shopping trolly full nearly to the brim. I set the separator down at the end of the belt, to make it stop moving. I then proceeded to unload the trolley while the cashier dealt with the previous customer who was still bagging her groceries. I put the large, heavy things closest to the till, the light bread and eggs near the end of the belt, and left the giant bag of pasta to the very end. By the time I was finished, the previous customer had left and the cashier turned his attention to me:
“Do you want help packing?”
It’s not my favourite question, for many reasons, but I answered as I always do when I have my bicycle trailer with me:
“No, it’s ok. I’ll just fit it all in this bag.”
At this point, of course, the trailer was still collapsed and in the trolley. It didn’t look like much and it certainly didn’t look like it’d fit a trolley worth of groceries into it, once full. The cashier looked at me, very puzzled. “It’s a big bag. I swear, I’ll unfold it, it’ll fit.” He nodded in a way that made it clear that he didn’t believe me but he was going to humour me because I am a paying customer.
Item by item, I packed the bag. Heavy items went to the bottom, the lighter and crushable things on top. A grocery Tetris game. Sure enough, I was able to pack it all into the bag, minus the huge bag of pasta that I lashed to the top of the trailer. The look of confusion on the cashier’s face melted away to boredom. Can’t impress everyone.
I got it home and took a picture of all of it unloaded. About two weeks of food for me and my other half — about half what would fit in the boot of our old Renault Clio but easily five or six times what I once carried in a rucksack.
People keep telling me that they can’t really carry much when they’re cycling — but that’s because they keep thinking of their bike as only what they can fit in their rucksack. But there’s a whole world out there of pannier bags and trailers that’ll completely change how you can use your bike. Oh, and the bike AND the trailer fit in that tiny space under the stairs when I’m done.