A lot of our friends are surprised that we don’t have car here in London. Even those who are living in London themselves. Well, it’s not only that you don’t need it. It really would be a burden. “But how do you manage the weekend shopping?” usually is the next question. The answer is rather easy: We got our Bromptons.
Time and again I’m myself stunned by the fact how much stuff you can carry on those tiny little folding bicycles. Probably things would be more complicated if we had kids. But a typical two person household in central London can easily sustain itself without any car.
We usually jointly ride to the supermarket once a week. Quite often, one of us waits outside and has an eye on the bikes. Alternatively we lock one bike and put the other one into the shopping cart. If we really have to buy a lot of stuff, we take two shopping carts (each one then carries one bike).
Here’s an example of a typical Saturday shopping spree to our local Waitrose. Among other stuff we’ve bought the following items:
- two six-packs of 1.5 litre Buxton (18 litres of water)
- two six-packs of Beck’s alcohol free beer (3,3 litres of beer)
- 3 litres of milk
- 6 apples
- 8 pots of milk rice
- 4 post of yoghurt
- 6 smoothies
- 1 toilet cleaner
All of this stuff has been carried home on our two bikes. The most important thing for such an endeavour is the folding basket for the front carrier block. For the second Brompton we have an O-bag, but compared to the folding basket it only carries a fraction of the stuff. On top of that I have an Ortlieb backpack.
Here is how we’ve packed: One six-pack of Buxtons and 2 liters of milk went into my backpack. My wife carried the second six-pack of Buxtons on the rack of her Brompton. The beer bottles were put into the O-bag (separately, we left the cartridge in the store because the six-packs would have been too bulky. ) The other stuff was put into the folding basket
You could carry even more stuff with two Bromptons. All you need is a second rack, a second folding basket and a second backpack.
And you will never need any plastic bag again!
6 thoughts on “Weekend Shopping, Brompton Style”
What a silly idea that you would need a car to get your shopping in London. My time and money saving method was to get a supermarket delivery every couple of months with enough of the non-perishables and freezables to last (a money saver too, since you can then buy the bigger multipacks and hoarde the things you need that are on offer). Then use the corner shop on the way home for milk, and the saturday market for yer meat and veg…
Joe, you’re absolutely right but most people just don’t believe it. I’ve considered supermarket deliveries but the catch is that you have to be at home when they bring the stuff. This needs some planning in advance.
Additionally I’m not sure what would happend if the majority of people would do this. From my personal experience from the “war with the motrorists” 😉 delivery drivers are almost as bad as mini cab drivers….
I shop with the Brompton weekly in the shopping trolley, the most amusing incident being the guy at the deli counter insisted I took it out of the basket and put it together as he didn’t believe it to be a bike. Said if it had been quieter he would have ridden it round the store, but the queue was growing….and I never let the Brompton out of my sight!
Nice story. Somebody in the German Brompton forum once wrote about a funny experience he had in a DIY store: At the cashier they suspected that he was trying to nick some of their bike compoments and checked if he had mounted anything to his bike. He replied that he would not take their crappy stuff even if it was free….
My wife and I bought our first Bromptons in 1988 – they only cost £300 then, “T3s” with panniers, mudguards and dynamo lights, but like the Ford Model T you could have any colour as long it was black.
We used them for cycle holidays in France. We toured vineyards. You could carry about a case of wine per bike back to your hotel and take them home, with the bikes, in the boot of the car.
Hope you’re still using the bikes. Otherwise I might be interested in buying one…