Going Green to the Farmers’ Market
We all love the fresh produce, the friendly vendors and fellow shoppers of DC’s best summer farmers’ markets. Here at The Bike Rack, we love to ride our bikes to our neighborhood markets to load up on healthy local eats for the week. But riding with your typical reusable shopping bags hanging from your shoulder or front handlebars can be cumbersome and downright dangerous. That’s why we’ve come up with a list of ways to shop better by bike and go really green all summer long.
When in Rome:
Americans have become accustomed to buying in bulk or at least making only one big grocery trip per week. However, in Europe groceries are often purchased in much smaller quantities for only a day or two at a time. When shopping by bike, rethink your weekly grocery runs to hit a few farmers’ markets throughout the week. This will not only lighten the load you are carrying by bike, but will also encourage smarter meal planning, discourage extraneous shopping for those extra sweet treats, and will help support a greater mix of local farms. The Washington Post offers an interactive map of all the Farmers’ Markets in DC, Maryland, and Virginia, making it even easier to map out the markets you’ll hit up this week.
The things we carry in:
Having the right gear for your trip to the farmers’ market is key. To avoid grocery bags swinging into your front wheel as they hang from your bike handlebars, consider a backpack, basket, pannier, or even a trailer to haul your fresh food.
Backpacks and messenger bags are always an easy way to carry items while biking. However, in the summer heat, backpacks can become heat traps and leave you extra sweaty on your ride home.
Racks are the simplest means of getting your bags off your back and onto your bike. Bags can be secured to a rack with a rope or bungee cord easily. Just be careful with delicate produce. Ask the vendor at the market for a small cardboard box to pack your produce, or bring one with you.
Baskets come in all shape and sizes. While front baskets are typically smaller and great for carrying a small grocery bag, rear baskets are great for bigger items like a gallon of milk.
Panniers also come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The term comes from the Old French word panier, meaning bread basket so it’s no wonder these awesome bags are perfect for stocking up at the markets.
Keep your balance:
Whichever bag or basket you choose to carry your farmers’ market finds in, be sure to balance the load. Particularly in side-hung panniers, you will want to evenly distribute weight between the bags on each side of your bike. This may take a little trial and error before you take off, but will mean a safer ride home.
There is truly no end to what you can carry on your bicycle (check out this video from Mind The Gap for even more ideas), and shopping at the farmers’ market is a great place to start. If you’re looking to gear up your bike to be a savvy city shopper, The Bike Rack can help! Stop by our shops on Q Street NW and in Brookland to find racks, baskets, and bags to fit all your bike shopping needs. http://thebikerackdc.com/