The Glorious Chaos of Biking with Kids to the Grocery Store

Biking with Kids to the Grocery Store. Ever thought of running errands on your bike with your kids? Here's our experience! (Photo: Bike trailer filled with groceries)

Bringing two small children on a trip to the grocery store is a recipe for chaos. But then to try to pack those monkeys and that circus onto a bike? Well, that requires a special kind of bonkers optimism. A kind of optimism I apparently have because last Sunday, I biked with my kids to the grocery store.

This was my thought process (substantially condensed):

Getting Me and the Kids on the Bike

[The bike and trailer are set up, with tires pumped. Little Bird is in the trailer. Sprout is poking at the bike.]
“I said not to touch the bike!”
[Looking over the bike, knowing I forgot something.]
“The helmets! [Sprout], please go inside and tell Daddy we need the helmets.”
[He runs inside.]
I really hope the bike doesn’t fall over.
[Unprovoked, the bike crashes to the ground. Thankfully, the trailer doesn’t move.]
Oh, shit.
[Little Bird looks at me from inside the trailer and practically raises an eyebrow.]
“Sorry, little dude.”
[Sprout returns with the helmets. I start putting Little Bird’s on him. I realize that we’re missing the towel that allows him to not slouch in the trailer.]
“Oh crud. I forgot Little Bird’s towel. Can you run back in and get a towel for me?”
[Sprout runs inside again. Little Bird is looking increasingly squirmy.]
“Sorry! We’ll leave soon, I promise.”
[He scowls at me. Sprout comes back, we all get helmets on and I strap them both in the trailer. It looks very, very squished.]

Biking with Kids to the Grocery Store and Locking Up

[I push off.]
Dear Lord, they’re heavy. Are they okay back there? There’s no screaming. I hope Sprout isn’t poking Little Bird. I hope Little Bird isn’t biting Sprout. This was a terrible idea. I wish I had a cargo bike. But then Sprout would probably be trying to play with my hair.
[I bike up and over the nearby bike\pedestrian bridge.]
Sprout: “There’s a train!”
Me: “Yeah, there is.”
I guess this is going to be okay.
[I reach the grocery store and lock up the bike. Sprout starts playing with the brakes.]
“No, don’t touch those! If the breaks don’t work, I can’t stop and we’ll crash.”
[Little Bird is walking around the grassy area next to the bike rack.]
“What are you holding? Is that a cigarette butt? Argh, no!”
[I take the cigarette butt away. He picks up a stick as tall as he is.]
“You just have the ability to find the most dangerous thing in your vicinity, don’t you?”

At the Grocery Store

[Walking the aisles]
I hope we have enough room for all the food in the trailer.
[Seeing Sprout do something between a jog in place and a dance]
Me: “Sprout, do you have to go potty?”
Sprout: “No, I don’t.”
Hmmmm. I doubt this.
[At the milk fridge]
Can we fit in both kinds of milk? We’ll figure it out.
[I get both kinds. Sprout is still bouncing around.]
Me: “Are you sure you don’t have to go potty?”
Sprout: “No.”
[Approximately five seconds later]
Sprout: “I have to go potty!”
Yeeeah, I know kiddo. I knew that a half-hour ago.
Me: “Okay, let’s go potty.”
[Back in the aisles post-potty break, looking at bread]
There’s no way we’ll be able to fit everything if we get both kinds of bread. But this loaf is a little smaller. Then maybe. Eh, I’ll figure it out.
[Approximately five seconds later]
I’m never going to fit it all in! But is it worth going back to return it? Ehhhh.
[Both kids are acting like they’re on speed. Little Bird keeps trying to hug me from his seat in the cart and almost falls out. Sprout is dancing around again, a cross between skipping and some kind of disco. I just shake my head and laugh.]
What the hell are both of you doing?
[Checking out]
Sprout: “I have to go potty again!”
Oookay then. At least it was before I got you in the trailer.
[Post-potty and checking out, I’m packing everything into the trailer.]
This is so not going to fit. I could call Chris if I really needed to. But that would defeat the point of biking. And be really embarrassing. Nope, I’ll fit it all in. Come hell or high water. [Several re-shuffles of groceries later]
Yes! I got it!
[I do a little dance.]

Arriving Home

[We arrive home to Chris cooking on the grill, which is on our back deck. Juggling kids and groceries, we get them all inside without anyone falling off the deck or getting burned on the grill.]
Whooh. We did it.
[Two hours later]
Oh shit, the bike’s still outside!

Thankfully, no one had walked off with it. And that was a simple trip to the grocery store. Slightly ridiculous, but doable. The groceries were purchased, no one hurt each other, and no one peed their pants. Success.

My hat is off to anyone who has dared to do bike camping with their kids. Maybe one day, we will too. When I think even more absurd things are an excellent idea.

For more of our family biking adventures, check out Becoming a Family Cyclist and Ridiculous Moments in Parenting: This Week Edition. Be sure to follow us on Facebook!

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