I use my bike mostly for function – getting to and from places, shopping, going to dinner, etc. One of the best purchases I’ve made was getting pannier bags, which make it easy to carry items and more comfortable than using a backpack or handheld bag. Pannier bags attach to a basic bike rack (front or rear) and are a convenient way to carry goods, or to carry camping supplies if going for a long recreational trip.
A couple of years ago I bought a used set of Avenir pannier bags for $10 a piece. They have some nice features like:
Reflective trim to increase visibility
Two bottle holders
One large pouch for large items (I’m usually carrying a laptop or papers) with clip straps to secure and expand or shrink height
Small zippered pouch for easy access to wallet, keys, etc.
Clips to secure bag to bike rack and reduce chances of falling off
Waterproof with drawstring tie on opening
I went to the grocery store the other day and took some photos to show what a shopping trip by bike looks like. I sometimes see newspaper articles or comments online about how non-functional it is to buy food items on a bicycle. I strongly disagree – the parking is usually much easier, it’s cheaper than driving, and with a couple of good bags carrying your items home is a breeze.
Here’s my bike with two pannier bags full of groceries – I didn’t put the chips in the pannier bags for fear of crushing them although there was room in the expanded upper portion if I wanted to use it.
On returning home, I unpacked the bags on our table and took this photo to show the amount of food that can easily fit in a pair of bags. We were cooking for a get-together so some of the items are in bigger quantities than usual but overall a pretty good idea of an average grocery shopping trip for me by bicycle.
We’re fortunate to live in an area with a number of grocery stores within a mile. I often walk instead of biking, but often pick up a couple of items in other areas when I’m coming home from work or other activities. Pannier bags are a great addition to any bike and I highly recommend getting a pair.
We’ve had a couple of wood planter boxes in our sideyard that I made a few years ago for herbs and vegetables but have never had good luck with growing edibles. Yesterday, we decided to repurpose one as a butterfly garden, which is more in keeping with our lot flora in general and hopefully will be more successful than the tomatoes and basil were.
We went to a nursery in the Midway District of San Diego, Walter Andersen’s, which has quite a large selection and is on to the way to our favorite beach neighborhood, Ocean Beach. Our total purchase for the day was $77.49 for the following plants and one bag of bedding soil. I sprang for a couple of extra large choices rather than smaller pots, so the total cost could easily be closer to $50 for the same selections at a slightly smaller planting size.
Achillea Millefolium (Siren song angie)
Acelpias fascicularis (Mexican whorled milkweed)
Asclepias mix mojonnier (Milkweed)
Asclepias physocarpa (Hairy Balls / Family Jewels) – commonly named for the seed pods resemblance to the human testicle. Seriously.
All of these are butterfly friendly and pretty well suited to the San Diego climate. Some, like the cuphea and galvezia are also great for hummingbirds. Only the galvezia is a “true” California native plant but the asclepias mix is probably the most common milkweed you’ll see in yards around town and a great monarch butterfly attractor.
Wanted to share this project and plant selections in case others would like to easily add some habitat for butterflies at their own home. Cheers!
My daughter Eva is currently in Kindergarten and we recently had an event in her classroom where all the kids got to read a book they had created to a group of parents. I really enjoyed Eva’s book and wanted to post it here so that family could see it (and of course for the eventual inclusion on her college applications as a sign of prodigious intellect).