These past few days we've been definitely testing the limits a bit more on our bikes (but just a little bit). On Saturday, the weather was rainy and gross, but Tracy put on her rain suit and bought a whole bunch of groceries. I did the same, though the rain was mostly gone by the time I went out. I discovered that I can carry about 50 pounds of groceries total, in my side basket, back rack, and backpack.
In a non-bike venture, I also learned that our little granny cart can carry 60 pounds of kitty litter (plus an oversized brand new fancy litter box) without breaking. I ended up buying said litter box from a local store within walking distance, even though it cost $8 more than at Petco, because to get to Petco, I would have needed to rent a Zipcar for 1-2 hours.
Yesterday, I got a gig working as a handyman for a friend. He lives in West Roxbury, about 4 miles from our house. It wouldn't have been economical to rent a car, so I decided to ride my bike. I was pretty nervous as to how I'd manage to haul my tools. I ended up putting my steel craftsman toolbox (partially loaded) onto the back rack of my bike, strapped on with three bungie cords. The rest of the tools and hardware, I carried in my backpack. The toolbox stayed on no problem. I will say when I finally got home at the end of the day, my legs were pretty tired from moving the extra load, but I'd definitely try it again (both the handyman part and the riding part). I told a friend about it, and he said he knew a guy a while back who made his living as a handyman and had no car. Apparently he had a bike trailer that he could use to carry lumber or pipe, when he needed it.
As much as I appreciate Zipcar, I'd rather get around by bike any day. Getting better at hauling stuff is making that more possible.