October 2022

#SpokesComp 2022: Shopping by Bike

Shopping by Bike – our competition showed just how versatile it is! You can shop by bike with or without a trailer or cargobike, with or without kids, to transport small or remarkably large purchases, and at any age (within reason!) Whatever your shopping needs, our competition entries should give you endless ideas and handy hints!

Later: We used the competition results to produce this lovely Shopping by Bike factsheet [Printed copies available on request]

Note: the highlights below from top prizewinners are usually only a part of their entry. For the full set and content of prizewinning and runner-up entries see later in this article.

Themes emerging from the entries…

Shopping with a cargobike or trailer

This can expand the range of possibilities a fair bit, particularly with an e-cargobike. Volume and weight of purchases can be very substantial. One innovative idea was to unhook your trailer and push it round the shop to load the shopping. Cargobikes are costly, but there are increasing opportunities to hire or borrow; for example via CargoBikeMovement, EdFoC or SW20

First prize – Eve Boyle, Bonnyrigg

“Just a few years back,
such a bike was
a cranky curiosity in Edinburgh,
as it is still deep in Midlothian.

But change is upon us
and this is how shopping will soon be for many”

Shopping with kids

Yes, it is absolutely possible, and can be done in many ways, but it does need some extra thought and equipment. It can also be a fun outing for the kids

Second prize – Sam Taylor (age 9), Edinburgh

“Usually we just walk to the shops but last year we went fruit picking in our cargo bike. It was lots of fun.

… the only bad thing about it was how you get there… there were loads of cars and not that many cycle lanes. So I think WE NEED MORE CYCLE LANES AND LESS CARS!”

Third prize – Robyn Campbell, Leith

“Cycle to the shops

unhook the trailer

push it round the shops in pram mode

amuse the cashiers as we balance eggs, yoghurt and bacon amongst the babies

reattach to the bike again to cycle home”

Shopping without a cargobike or trailer

Several entrants made the point that you can do loads of everyday shopping with an everyday bike, without the need for a trailer or cargobike – indeed, this is the most common way of everyday shopping by bike, needing no more than appropriate bags or panniers and perhaps bungee cords

Fourth prize – Kirsty Lewin, Portobello

“Cycling home with a 25 kilo bag of cat litter on board .. always wonderfully exhilarating, and the unusual cargo draws smiles from the crowds on the Prom. 

I do most of my shopping locally on foot. But shopping by bike for the big stuff makes perfect sense. It’s fast, it’s convenient, it’s invigorating and it’s the right thing to do. Just ask Betty, my cat.”

Fifth prize – Elaine Appleby, Willowbrae

10 top tips from Elaine, such as…

“load the panniers – this is the delicate part of the operation. Don’t put all your plant milk and porridge oats in the same pannier. Carry the squishable items (strawberries don’t like being shoogled) in the rucksack”

“job done till next week!”

Shopping for large items

See Kirsty, 4th prize, for buying sacks of cat litter, but we had many other suggestions, of which perhaps the most extreme was James from Portobello – a town which apparently loves its cats!

13th prize – James Lewis, Portobello

“Picking up some timber for a cat ladder.

I used my trailer and borrowed another one. Easy peasy!”

Handy hints for shopping by bike

Many entries included handy hints, but we particularly liked…

  • Elaine Appleby – 5th prizewinner above, see results file for full entry – hints on how to go about it – simple, useful and light-hearted
  • Mark James [Dunbar] – 8th prizewinner – see results file – hints about how to maximise the shopping capability of an ordinary bike – detailed & slightly technical

Full set of prizewinners and runners-up

For the full set of prizewinning and runner-up entries see this pdf (13MB). If preferred, there are also versions in lower res (5MB) and higher res (23MB).

Thank you to our sponsors

The top prizewinner got to choose their prize from the list, second chose second, and so on.

Thank you – everyone else!

  • Many thanks to you if you entered, even if you didn’t win this time
  • Our external judge, Charlotte Otter, Edinburgh Climate Commission member, and former Sustrans employee
  • The four Spokes Resources Group judges (who were not eligible for prizes!)
  • Everyone who helped publicise the competition and told other people about it

What’s next – and what can you do?

  • Look through the entries carefully – do any inspire you to try the same?  Are there any you could recommend to friends, colleagues or family?
  • See the results of our many previous exciting, amusing and/or interesting competitions here.
  • If you’ve a great idea for next year’s competition, let us know!  A topic that is useful to other people and which lots of people are able to enter is what we need.
  • Please retweet our tweet about this article.

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