Andrew Thorp

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My main bicycle, loaded up with groceries.

I like to ride my bicycle, I like to ride my bike.

I have been trying to use my bicycle as my primary method of transportation for almost a year now. There have been pros and cons, and ups and downs. Currently our house is at the top of a very steep hill and while it's only about a mile outside of town, that mile is along a state highway with no bike lane with a pretty steep grade. I'm not an athletic person generally, I even make a point of riding in boots with jeans or sandals and linen to emphasize that I'm definitely not doing it for exercise. With the current house location, that means I take the bus back home. This is fine, though it does limit what I can use the bike for; strapping lots of stuff to the bike rack works fine around town but makes using the bus bike rack a challenge.


I own two bikes: a Diamondback Kalamar (pictured above) and a Litespeed racing something-rather. Both were gifts from my father-in-law and dad, respectively. The litespeed is significantly nicer, but I usually end up taking the Diamondback out; I was only able to attach fenders and a rack to the Diamondback, after all. It feels somewhat comical when I do take out the litespeed, as I don't own lycra and am more likely wearing a bucket-hat instead of a helmet [1]. In fact I've been scolded for locking it to a bike rack once, as the titanium frame and carbon-fiber fork are easy to damage. It's a beautiful bike, and a joy to ride, but it's not exactly suited to my use-case.

Attached to my rack I carry a pannier. The above photo has my first-generation hand-made canvas panniers (the second generation fixed the massive rip and reinforced some of the stress points), but I usually carry a Thule Shield-17 now. It's better secured to the bike while riding and I like that I can quickly take it off if I'm going inside somewhere, which makes it more practical to carry valuables in, such as a laptop.

Between the panniers, the bike rack, and a pair of bungee-cords, I haven't had any trouble carrying what I need on a bike. I'll likely get a cargo rack to carry our dog and bulk groceries once we're living somewhere more convenient to bike home.


Cycling is the future of individual transportation, especially with the advent of e-bikes. If you're not involved with some form of multi-modal transportation advocavy group, I highly recommend finding one in your area. Harmony Lanes [2], in Boone, NC is great and has done a lot of successful lobbying for more accessibly transit infrastructure in Boone. They even run a bike bus along the Boone greenway to Hardin Park Elementary School on Fridays during the school year! Oaks & Spokes [3] is a Raleigh cycling advocacy group. I haven't interacted with them personally yet, but I've heard good things about them and I plan to join when I move to the City of Oaks.

[1] - Helmets are safer, but you're more likely to get a head injury in a car than on a bike. So as long as I'm not spending a large amount of time in a road I'll pass.

{[2] Harmony Lanes, a Watauga County Multi-modal transportation advocacy group.}
{Oaks & Spokes, a Raleigh-based Cycling advocacy group}