If I had to categorize the intended usage for each and every bike that the Brantford Cyclepath sells in a year, I’m fairly certain that I would file the majority of them under the heading “Recreational”. This would include everything from a sub $500 city bike all the way up to and including a multi thousand dollar carbon road racer. It doesn’t really seem to matter what the type or value of the bike is. The majority of these bikes will be ridden if and when we can find a break in our busy daily routines. Most often, these routines will include basic errands such as trips to the drugstore, the bank and the grocery store for whatever items we’ve run out of.
When you consider the fact that many customers complain that they simply don’t have enough time to ride their bikes, and when you also take into consideration the fact that errands also take time to do, it really wouldn’t be a bad idea to combine your riding with accomplishing your errands. It isn’t hard to do. Just ask one of your neighbourhood bike commuters. These cyclists blend the two all year round!
Tackle the jobs that aren’t feasible by bicycle with your car. Once you get home, grab your bike, and plan a ride based around your errand destinations. It’s all about getting those small tasks done while sneaking in some saddle time.
While any bike will do, an older spare bike can be reconfigured into a fantastically suitable errand bike. Consider adding a carrier rack and pannier bags. It’s far easier on your back than using a backpack. On a mountain bike, try adding smoother multi-surface tires and an upright stem and riser handlebars. BMX platform pedals offer enhanced grip and durability, and the ability to wear running shoes which are better for walking around on the smooth tile floors at the grocery store. There are also some really great wire baskets available that require no tools in order to add or remove them from your bike. They don’t look like your aunt Hazel’s old bike basket from yesteryear either.
If you’re going to park a semi laden bicycle outside of a second destination, a kickstand will make life a lot easier. We can understand complaining about adding a kickstand to your lightweight road bike, but kickstands do make sense on a build such as this. Cannondale makes some of the sturdiest models we’ve seen. It also goes without saying that a tough lock is a necessary requirement. When locking a bike up outside of a store, the best choice is still usually a heavy U-lock. Most “grab and ride” thieves won’t bother trying to wrestle with one. It isn’t worth the effort that it takes.
If you haven’t given commuting or shopping by bike a try, give it a test run one day. You’ll save gas and accomplish saddle time. Not only that, but it does feel really good to use your bike in a utilitarian way. Just think of it as having your investment earn it’s keep!