Shop by Bike: Big Box Groceries at Costco

16 Aug

When I started bike commuting I realized how many stores were more or less on my way home: Trader Joes, CVS, Target, Safeway, Bev Mo and more. The challenge was having the right bags and estimating how much I could carry before I checked out. Now I’ve figured out some techniques that work every time, even at a big box store like Costco, where economy size means a six pack of economy size items.

At Costco the first challenge is bike parking. I guess they didn’t plan on shoppers arriving by bike, so there’s no bike rack. I make do by locking Zella Mae to a sturdy bench.


After a quick pass through the store, here’s what I had. Will it all fit on my bike? I’m not so sure about the Ziploc baggies and the roasted chicken. Hmmm…


Since my reusable bags fit exactly in the grocery panniers on Zella, I do quick test-packing to see if I can carry it all. Success!


I’m clear so I run through the checkout. As usual, the guy working checkout tries to cram it all in the two bags, then gives up. So I repack the bags outside and slip them into Zella’s panniers, segregating the hot chicken from the cold items and roll home. The spinach bolani was excellent, by the way.


When you shop by bike, how do you figure out how much you can carry? Have you ever had to return something because it wouldn’t fit?


Posted by on August 16, 2011 in Around Town


7 responses to “Shop by Bike: Big Box Groceries at Costco

  1. Cindy

    August 16, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    Now I want to go to Costco – I gotta try that spinach bolani!

  2. ladyfleur

    August 16, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    They have a pumpkin bolani too that I’ll have to try next time.

  3. velogirl

    August 17, 2011 at 9:46 am

    I always carry an extra canvas bag just in case. it packs small and worst-case scenario I can always use it as a backpack for any items that don’t fit in my panniers. I also carry a couple of bungie cords and have strapped bigger items to my rack.

  4. ladyfleur

    August 17, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    I sometimes carry an extra bag and/or bungees with me too, but not always. On this day, I did have a large purse from Queen Bee with a cross-body shoulder strap that could have held some overflow. I also keep a musette bag stashed in my road bike’s saddle pack just in case I need to pick something up on the way home from a ride. It stashes smaller than an extra tube.

  5. ampyali

    October 31, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Ladyfleur– I hail from Los Altos but currently reside near Portland, OR. Our Costcos up here have beautiful bike parking. Maybe talk to the local management and let them know you’d appreciate if they’d install a rack? With increased numbers of consumers using bicycles for transportation, they would benefit from making their store more bike-friendly…


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