Monday, March 19, 2007

Car(e)-free shopping.

I took the bike trailer into the city centre for the first time for the weekly food shop on Saturday, eager to see how it coped with a load of fruit and veg from the market and happy to be avoiding shopping at Tesco.

Riding in from my house is easy- a round trip of 3 1/2 miles or so on flat roads, following pretty much the same route as I would in a car. Speed is never going to be an issue when pulling a trailer, just trundle along in a lowish gear and take your time, watching out for the extra length on sharp corners. Traffic was light that morning, so I've not yet found out what it's like to progress through lines of stationary vehicles. Once in the city parking was easy, just unhitch the trailer and chain it to the bike rack with the bike- no messing around queuing for a car park and searching for an empty space. There was plenty of room for the trailer, but parking might be a bit more of an issue when the racks are busier- we still need more racks in the city centre to make up for the loss of the railings on St Peter's street. Next time I'll push the trailer round the market to load directly instead of carrying heavy bags- another thing you can't do in a car.

Overall impression- quicker and easier than I was expecting.

A quick comparison of car vs bike costs for the trip- I was amazed by the amount of CO2 a car produces on such a short trip- as much mass as a bunch of bananas!

In the green corner, a bike trailer.
Ride into town- 10ish minutes.
Park on St Peter's Street, just accross the road from the market.
Buy food.
Unlock bike, load trailer 2 minutes, ride home 10 minutes.

Cost- approx £0.25. (Trailer depreciated over 5000 miles, bike over 12,000 miles)
Additional CO2- nil.

In the dirty brown corner, a diesel car.
Drive into town-5ish minutes.
Find car park space, park, walk to market- 10 minutes.
Buy food.
Walk back to car, pay car park ticket, queue to leave car park 10ish minutes.
Drive home 5 minutes.

Cost- £2.74
fully allocated cost per mile (<10,000>

CO2 814g
CO 2.9g
Hydrocarbons and Nitrogen oxides 1.7g
Particulates 0.2g

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