Author Topic: Costco by bike (or: I really don't need a car anymore)  (Read 4859 times)

Mr One Wheel Drive

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Costco by bike (or: I really don't need a car anymore)
« on: May 14, 2014, 09:05:28 PM »
I do most of my errands by bike year 'round, but wanted to keep a car for big trips to Costco and other big purchases. However, after my bike trip to Ikea went pretty well I thought that the next challenge would be to try and get a big-ass load from Costco home on my home-made bike trailer.

There is one about 5 miles from home so it's not too far. In the end it went remarkably well! I fit all of these groceries:

into my trailer and panniers:


It was pretty close but I managed to get it all in, and bike back home without too much challenge. The hardest part is that the part of town where Costco is located is not very bike-friendly, and with the trailer I end up taking a lot of the road, so I got buzzed a few times by other cars / trucks / busses. Luckily I don't have to go far before I get onto more bike-friendly streets.

So now I really don't have much reason to own a car anymore. I figure that I can always rent something if I need to move something bigger. Just the savings on insurance will be great!

rpr

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Re: Costco by bike (or: I really don't need a car anymore)
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2014, 09:45:58 PM »
Great pics. Awesome.

The nearest Costco for me is about 70+ miles away :( with a three thousand foot pass in between.

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: Costco by bike (or: I really don't need a car anymore)
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2014, 09:46:39 PM »
Dude. You win the internets today. That's awesome.

hybrid

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Re: Costco by bike (or: I really don't need a car anymore)
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2014, 05:09:54 AM »
Agreed! That is one badass bike trailer, and securing the plastic bins to it is brilliant.
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SDREMNGR

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Re: Costco by bike (or: I really don't need a car anymore)
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2014, 08:00:57 AM »
I like the home made cart and strapdowns.  My Costco is only 1.5 miles away which is awesome but part of it is a huge hill with like 7% grade for about 0.4 miles.  It's fun on the way down but a beast on the way up.  I've done a few Costco runs on bike but the hill is scary.

Mrs. Frugalwoods

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Re: Costco by bike (or: I really don't need a car anymore)
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2014, 08:05:18 AM »
That's awesome. We definitely drive the 10 mile monthly sojourn to our Costco. I've never considered doing it by bike before...
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GuitarStv

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Re: Costco by bike (or: I really don't need a car anymore)
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2014, 11:20:25 AM »
That's a pretty sweet trailer!

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Costco by bike (or: I really don't need a car anymore)
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2014, 12:02:59 PM »
Your IKEA trip is still more impressive (to me) but that's super cool.
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CarSafetyGuy

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Re: Costco by bike (or: I really don't need a car anymore)
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2014, 12:05:48 PM »
Very impressive. Love the pictures.
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CheapskateWife

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Re: Costco by bike (or: I really don't need a car anymore)
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2014, 01:38:57 PM »
I am in awe of that trailer...please tell me you built it yourself!

Edited to say, Wow, I just clicked through your posts, and found your home-made bike trailer post.  Dude, I have my first summer project!
« Last Edit: May 15, 2014, 01:49:42 PM by CheapskateWife »

luigi49

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Re: Costco by bike (or: I really don't need a car anymore)
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2014, 02:37:47 PM »
amazing.  YO da man

RetiredAt63

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Re: Costco by bike (or: I really don't need a car anymore)
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2014, 09:25:10 AM »
Major win, Congratulations.

I see WINE!!! Did you go to Gatineau?  I haven't seen wine at either Costco I go to in Ottawa (Innes Road and Nepean), don't think they can.

Also, where were your Rubbermaid containers while you were shopping?  I would be concerned they would grow feet while I was in the store.

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tmac

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Re: Costco by bike (or: I really don't need a car anymore)
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2014, 09:36:34 AM »
Unrelated to the trailer (although it's completely awesome), can I ask about the bike? There's what looks like a wood handle on the back of the seat stem. Is that a passenger grab bar? Do you have a ride-able rack hidden by the panniers?

scottydog

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Re: Costco by bike (or: I really don't need a car anymore)
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2014, 02:03:28 PM »
Fantastic!  I love that trailer.  I plan to completely steal your idea if/when we sell our cargo bike.  I'm a bit luckier in that there are bike paths about 90% of the way to and from our closest Costco.  Some of the paths aren't cleared in winter, but for the rest of the year it's a lovely ride.  Thanks for the pics!

greenmimama

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Re: Costco by bike (or: I really don't need a car anymore)
« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2014, 01:27:10 PM »
Very impressive!

Mr One Wheel Drive

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Re: Costco by bike (or: I really don't need a car anymore)
« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2014, 10:28:13 PM »
Major win, Congratulations. .... I see WINE!!! Did you go to Gatineau? ... where were your Rubbermaid containers while you were shopping?  I would be concerned they would grow feet while I was in the store.

Thanks for the compliment. Yes, I go to the Gatineau Costco, they sell beer and wine for cheap, and they usually have a better selection than Costco in Ontario (like made-in-Quebec Sugar pie) (for anyone wondering "what is sugar pie?" it's amazing... it's like pecan pie but without the pecans, and better).

I just leave the Rubbermaid containers there on the trailer in front of the store. I'm not worried at all that someone will take them, in fact after I filled them up I went back in the store and got something that I forgot and had a coffee.

In general I figure that thieves operate on their own schedule, not mine. I often leave my bike unlocked too, the only time I've had one stolen, it was locked up.

Mr One Wheel Drive

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Re: Costco by bike (or: I really don't need a car anymore)
« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2014, 10:35:05 PM »
Unrelated to the trailer (although it's completely awesome), can I ask about the bike? There's what looks like a wood handle on the back of the seat stem. Is that a passenger grab bar? Do you have a ride-able rack hidden by the panniers?

Good eyes.

Yes that's where my 4 year old daughter rides when she's not on her own bike. I attached a stem to my seat post, and then cut about 16" off of the end of a broom handle and used it for her handlebar. I also cut some foam (from foam mats that you put on the floor) and zip-tied 2 layers of it to the cargo rack to cushion the ride. I attach my panniers so that her feet can't get caught in the spokes. In theory she could put her feet inside the panniers to rest them (like stirrups) but if they hang she doesn't get tired.

For anyone wanting to write that a cargo rack is not strong enough to hold her, I previously tested it carrying 150 pounds over potholes.

At first I was worried that we would let go of the handlebars and fall off but then I realized that on her own bike that's never happened.

tmac

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Re: Costco by bike (or: I really don't need a car anymore)
« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2014, 04:47:51 AM »
Excellent. Thanks for the details. I'm trying to figure out a child passenger option without going full cargo, so this is worth a ponder.

scottydog

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Re: Costco by bike (or: I really don't need a car anymore)
« Reply #18 on: May 18, 2014, 07:18:20 AM »
Excellent. Thanks for the details. I'm trying to figure out a child passenger option without going full cargo, so this is worth a ponder.

Yes, I appreciate this as well!  We have a cargo bike now, but I've often thought that going with a stronger rear seat would be a cheaper and still satisfactory option.  The bobike junior (http://www.bobike.com/en_en/bobike-junior-classic.html) seems pretty good, but I think it's also over $200.  My 5 year old enjoys the trail-a-bike, too.  We found one in decent shape for $5 at a yard sale and I commonly see them listed under $75 on kijiji and craigslist.

Did you get a special rear rack?  My hybrid bike has disc brakes and the rack isn't terribly sturdy because it has a multi-jointed support arm to go around the brake; I wouldn't trust it with my 50 lb son.  I seem to recall seeing some stronger racks that mount on the wheel's axel.  That, combined with your idea to use a stem on the seat post, could give a beefier, more versatile and cheaper system than the bobike junior.

CheapskateWife

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Re: Costco by bike (or: I really don't need a car anymore)
« Reply #19 on: May 18, 2014, 07:26:09 AM »
We have the cheapo Alleycat trail-a-bike, which is admittedly about 15 yrs old at this point (we were not the first owners).

After a year or so with my oldest on the Alleycat, we spent the money to get one of the fancy ones with gear shift, brakes, etc....it was too damn heavy to put in any serious miles with the kiddo on back.  For us, it was a stupid useless purchase.  The Alleycat is now on its second paint job (currently bright orange) and still going strong for boy #4!

Mr One Wheel Drive

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Re: Costco by bike (or: I really don't need a car anymore)
« Reply #20 on: May 18, 2014, 09:01:01 PM »
My rack is by Axiom, not sure about the disc brakes.

ijingle

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Re: Costco by bike (or: I really don't need a car anymore)
« Reply #21 on: May 19, 2014, 08:18:59 PM »
Way to go. That is truly inspiring. Costco seems to be an especially car friendly place in a land of car friendliness.
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FrugalNewbie

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Re: Costco by bike (or: I really don't need a car anymore)
« Reply #22 on: May 22, 2014, 04:59:05 PM »
That's amazing. I've just started using my bike for errands and was pondering a Costco trip. Clearly, you've shown it can be done with no problem. Really inspiring!

kodokan

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Re: Costco by bike (or: I really don't need a car anymore)
« Reply #23 on: May 24, 2014, 03:53:25 PM »
Excellent. Thanks for the details. I'm trying to figure out a child passenger option without going full cargo, so this is worth a ponder.

Yes, I appreciate this as well!  We have a cargo bike now, but I've often thought that going with a stronger rear seat would be a cheaper and still satisfactory option.  The bobike junior (http://www.bobike.com/en_en/bobike-junior-classic.html) seems pretty good, but I think it's also over $200.  My 5 year old enjoys the trail-a-bike, too.  We found one in decent shape for $5 at a yard sale and I commonly see them listed under $75 on kijiji and craigslist.

Did you get a special rear rack?  My hybrid bike has disc brakes and the rack isn't terribly sturdy because it has a multi-jointed support arm to go around the brake; I wouldn't trust it with my 50 lb son.  I seem to recall seeing some stronger racks that mount on the wheel's axel.  That, combined with your idea to use a stem on the seat post, could give a beefier, more versatile and cheaper system than the bobike junior.

I rigged up a child seat on my bike similar to what's being described here, and used it from when she was 5 to 7 years old (at which point she had enough stamina to ride her own bike for our errands). She's always been a big for her age kid, in the 95 percentile, so more like an average 6 to 8 yr old. She was probably 60-70lb when we stopped using it.

I had a sturdy rack onto which I strapped an actual bike seat we had spare in the garage, cutting a curved notch in the stem post where it met the rack (think like the way log cabins slot together) and securing it all with various zip ties and a jubilee clip. Then I added a set of tandem stoker style handlebars to my seat post - functionally the same as the broom handle above, but were actual small shaped handlebars with proper grips, giving her a natural riding position. Finally, I strapped foot pegs on to the... um... narrow, horizontal bit of the frame that goes to the rear wheel hub, dunno what that bit's called. I had panniers too, as a safety skirt, as I often dropped her at school then went shopping. She could actually put her legs over the top of the bags if necessary, like a small child riding a very fat pony :)

It all worked brilliantly, and I regularly got stopped for people to admire it, and examine how it all went together so they could do something similar.