Bicycle Diaries: How I lost 8 pounds and saved $500

| Updated: November 27, 2018


After a full day of yard work last Saturday, I thought the best thing to do for stretching out my aching back would be to go on a bike ride--and stock up on groceries in the process. Also, in the process of rolling my wheelbarrow up and down my hill I lost an important nut, so I added the hardware store to my list. This turns out to be the last ride in my month-long quest to procure groceries by bicycle.
Here are the key stats of my final grocery ride...
  • Weight in groceries: 39 lbs (including such essentials as soda, granola bars, bread, maple syrup, strawberries, tomatoes, and ice cream)
  • Bill: $76.37at Safeway + $1.74 at Maple Leaf Ace Hardware
  • Miles: 4.8 (incl. hardware store)
  • Calories burned: 400+/-
My panniers from Seattle-based Detours continue to amaze me as grocery haulers. They are easy to clip and unclip from my bike rack, have solid handles or backpack straps for carrying around when they aren’t mounted, and feel like black holes that can fit more and more stuff. Another great feature is that they stand up on their own. And lastly they are easy on the eyes...

Overall, bicycling for groceries turned out to be a great thing for me, and I plan to keep it up some of the time. It helped me get back in shape, and was a key aspect to losing the extra 7-8 pounds I had been carrying around unnecessarily all winter. Also, I think I saved the family about $500 in grocery bills over the course of the month, as I only bought essentials that could fit into my panniers. (The downside of this was a relatively bare cupboard for my hungry family.) If you are well prepared with a solid bike (my $400 Trek commuter bike is perfect for such tasks) and some on-board storage (my Detours panniers), you too can leave your car behind, lose weight, and save money. I’ll see you out there somewhere on the Burke-Gilman Trail.

As for the Bicycle Diaries posts, look for at least one more from REI's Julia Trippel featuring some helmet-cam video of a few of her recent bike-to-work commutes. Julia is annotating them now with some commentary about her rides. Stay tuned...