The most recognizable bicycle cargo carrier of all time is the front handlebar basket, but there are numerous ways to carry groceries on your bike. Your bike frame, handlebars, fitness, and how much you shop will help determine the smartest option.
What is the best way to carry groceries on a bicycle? From a small bag with meal ingredients to feeding a large family for weeks, I’ll help you find the perfect cargo carrier.
The best way to carry groceries on a bicycle is with a front-mounted rack and a collapsible box. The hard-sided box keeps your food secure so you won’t damage it when you strap it down, and it prevents wind from catching lightweight items and blowing them out of the bag accidentally. Plus, you can keep an eye on everything.
To see all of my up-to-date recommendations for bikes and cycling gear, check out this resource that I made for you!
Top 10 Best Ways To Carry Groceries On A Bicycle
There are a surprising number of ways to transport groceries on a bicycle. Choosing the best one for you depends on how your bike is set up and how much you need to bring with you on a single trip.
I will walk you through the top 10 best ways to carry groceries on a bicycle, so you know all the options.
1 – How Do You Carry A Shopping Bag On A Bike
You can carry a shopping bag on your bike with a bungee cord or some rope and a rear rack.
Although this process is easier if you have a box attached to the rack, you can strap down virtually any shopping bag.
The downside to this process is that you run the risk of damaging food packaging or bruising fruit and vegetables without a solid-sided box.
2 – Best Way To Carry Groceries On A Bicycle
- Folding crates can be used for organization around the house, apartment or dorm room; totes fold flat to less than 3 inches when not in use
- Comfortable side handles on each crate make heavy lifting a breeze; great for hauling groceries from your car trunk into your home
- Can be used to organize a messy garage, as a toy box for your young kids or even as a laundry basket at a college dorm room to save space
- Interlocking nesting system provides stability for vertical stacking; easy to clean, Wipe each bin down with a wet cloth and air dry
- Measuring 20.9" L x 14.6" W x 10.6" H, it holds 45 liters (47.5 quarts) by volume, with a maximum load capacity of 66 pounds
The best way to carry groceries on a bike is in front of you. Installing a front-mounted cargo rack is quick and simple, but more importantly, it allows you to carry your groceries right where you can keep an eye on them.
A collapsible box is easy to attach and even easier to carry. You can stick it right in your shopping basket or cart and fill it with groceries, then load it at checkout.
I recommend CleverMade 45L Collapsible Storage Bins from Amazon.
These foldable bins are wide enough to accommodate plenty of groceries. More importantly, the design makes it easy to strap your basket to a rack on your bicycle.
Get a set by clicking here.
3 – How To Carry Groceries On A Bike Without A Rack
You can hang a soft-sided bag from the front of your handlebars to carry groceries without a rack.
These are sometimes sold as pet carriers because the fabric is more comfortable than a traditional wire carrier.
However, a thicker canvas fabric bag can help insulate your groceries.
4 – How Do You Carry Groceries On A Folding Bike
The point of a folding bike is to take it with you instead of parking, so to carry groceries on a folding bike, you need a similar solution.
An insulated food delivery bag is a great way to carry groceries. These bags often fit on a rack, but you can also wear them like a backpack.
However, the wide-open compartment and larger size that is made for bike messengers and food delivery workers will serve you well for shopping.
5 – Cargo Bike
The term cargo bike is an umbrella term that can refer to one of several options. Sometimes ‘cargo bike’ is used to describe a bike trailer or included panniers.
Another common use for this term is describing an adult trike with an oversized rear basket for carrying cargo between the wheels.
Cargo bikes come in so many styles and options that you could call almost everything on this list a cargo bike.
6 – Bike Trailer
Bike trailers come in two basic varieties. First, there are trailers with seats for passengers, typically small children, but some adult trailers exist.
You can carry groceries inside these, but they tend to have lower weight limits because they’re made for kids’ safety and comfort. Second, there is the cargo trailer.
Soft-sided and hard-sided options exist. However, the most important thing to look at with a bike trailer for groceries is the maneuverability and turn radius.
It can be a significant adjustment to learn to ride with a trailer, but you’ll have no trouble getting enough groceries home for a week or two.
7 – Panniers For Groceries
- FULLY WATERPROOF FABRIC: This bike pannier bag made with High density 840D Nylon and covered with TPU film which ensure you can use this bag freely on rainy day or wet weather without worrying about your items getting wet inside the bag or scratched. The bag's surface is easy to clean and can be wiped clean with a wet cloth in seconds without fear of muddy roads.
- Max 27L LARGE CAPACITY: Exterior bungee cords (rain jacket,umbrella) + Interior main compartment together with mesh pockets. 27L capacity each bag can holds your change of clothes or some essentials for the cycling trip. The mesh pockets inside the bag can store some small items for easy access. Suitable for multiple occasions like outdoor long distance rides, daily commute or transport groceries.
- THREE-POINT ATTACHMENT SYSTEM: Two movable buckles on the back of the bag help you adjust the bag to the right position according to your bike rack.The 360-degree rotatable bracket is used to secure the bag to the side bars to prevent the bag from bouncing out. It can be easily adjusted without additional tools which become a real quick release system.
- HUMANIZED DESIGN: The fixing plate on the back of the bag effectively prevents the pannier bag from getting into the bike spokes. Roll up closure design be of more waterproof performance than traditional zippers,and it can help you easily access the personal belongings in the bag.
- MORE DETAILS DISPLAY: Reflective logo on both side of bag ensures your night time riding safety. Two round pads at the bottom to reduce friction and protect the panniers.And the bicycle panniers also comes with a comfortable rubber and nylon carrying handle for your convenience.
Grocery panniers are the best solution when you need to carry a fair amount, and you have both frozen or cold and room-temperature or hot foods to transport on the same trip.
These clever, large bags come in both open and lidded varieties. I recommend lidded for better insulation.
The best thing about shopping with removable panniers is hanging them directly off the back end of a shopping cart and filling them with groceries.
Doing this prevents you from overloading your bags. Unload and then put things back inside at checkout for a quick and easy trip.
I prefer Rockbros Bike Pannier Large Capacity Waterproof 27L Bags. You can fit plenty inside, and the waterproofing prevents damage to paper grocery bags and delicate items.
Plus, these bright yellow bags are easy to see on the road and are light-colored so that they won’t absorb a lot of heat in summer.
Check out Rockbros panniers right here.
8 – Basket
There is more to bike baskets than the woven plastic many of us had as kids. High-quality, larger size adult bike baskets are available in lots of sizes.
Adult Tricycles can have huge rear baskets, and some unique bicycle styles like Bakfiets can carry enough groceries for a whole family on a special front basket.
A standard handlebar basket will get a grocery bag or two home for everyone else.
If you choose an open basket or a box on a rack, I recommend picking up a rainproof cover for backpacks.
These stretchy, waterproof covers fold down to take up almost no space and can easily work as a rain cover or sunshade on smaller open cargo compartments.
You may need to bungee or tie it down in high winds but having the option to cover your groceries is a smart way to prevent unnecessary damage and loss.
9 – Insulated Backpack
You don’t necessarily need to strap your groceries to your bicycle. A well-insulated backpack can be an excellent way to get groceries home.
Plus, you have lots of control over the size and style of your backpack, but in general, look for an option that has fewer pockets and a more open central compartment design to fit shopping bags inside.
Most backpacks can handle at least one to two plastic grocery bags, and you can hang another one or two off the sides.
However, you could upgrade to a bigger ‘backpacking’ style which will accommodate a lot more groceries.
Just be careful about the hip pads and lower connections, and always to a test ride to ensure that it won’t interfere with your range of motion.
10 – Bikepacking Bags
- ADJUSTABLE & FOLDABLE: Bikepacking bag maximum capacity 14L. Easy to hold your tools and short distance items. Roll-top closure design adjust the length of saddle bag to meet your different capacity needs.Why spend much money on several sizes of bag instead of this adjustable capacity saddle bag ?
- WATERPROOF & EASY TO CLEAN: Composite 3 layer bike bag is waterproof. INNOVATIVE material made this large bike saddle bag so that dirt or mud can be clean with a wet cloth
- EASY TO INSTALL: Fixed buckle with straps secure hold your bag under seat. No tools needed suitable for variety bikes, road bike, mountain bike, dirt bike, bmx, mtb.
- REFLECTIVE straps increase your night visibility during night cycling. Bike Saddle bag can be used as FENDER if rains heavily reduce the muddy water splashing on your cloth.
- Product Dimensions: Build in steel around the using panel keep the bag stay in shape and protect items from extrusion. Enjoy your cycling journey no matter sunny or rainy.
Everyone shops differently, so for some people, a bike equipped with a series of bikepacking bags is the best option.
These slender bags attach to various parts of your bicycle frame, and their number, shapes, and placement depend on your bicycle frame.
Toptube bags are popular, triangle frame bags are the most recognizable, and there are even carriers that sit below your seat.
Take a look at the Rockbros Waterproof Bikepacking Bag from Amazon.
The unique carrier sticks up behind you at an angle, is made for hauling whatever you need long-distance, and it mounts below your seat.
This style is great for bicycles that won’t accommodate other cargo containers or for additional capacity when you need to get more groceries home.
You can have a bikepacking bag shipped to your door fast when you order here.
Helpful Tips To Know About The Best Way To Carry Groceries On A Bicycle
You don’t need to settle for just one way to carry groceries on your bicycle. Feel free to mix and match, or try all ten ways to bring cargo.
Here are a few more helpful tips to know about the best way to carry groceries on a bicycle.
- Every cyclist has different needs, so only you can determine the best way to get your groceries home. That said, I still recommend watching this video from Shifter. They do an excellent breakdown comparing several ways to carry cargo on your bicycle.
- Some cyclists hang plastic grocery bags off their handlebars. This is not an ideal solution since the bags swing free and can get in the way of safe bicycle operation. If you have to hang bags, consider tying them to your belt instead. Otherwise, secure them as close to the handlebar as possible by wrapping the loose part of the bag around the grip, so the bag swings less and utilizes the textured grip to stay in place.
- You can put ice packs in the bottom of your grocery containers on your bike to prevent food spoilage on hot days. Wrap the ice packs in a plastic bag and then a soft towel, and they will work like insulation and cooling for at least an hour in most cases without dripping.
- Waterproof fabrics lose their resistance over time. However, there are waterproofing sprays for fabric and leather that you can reapply annually or biannually to keep them from leaking. Some options even offer UV protection as well.
No matter what bike you ride or how many people you need to feed, there is always a way to get groceries home.
An adult tricycle with a rear basket or a cargo trailer will work best for those who shop big. People who only need to get one or two bags of groceries home have many choices.
However, the best overall style is the front rack because you can adjust your basket size to suit your needs and keep an eye on your purchases while you ride.