I know much of this blog has covered our upcoming bicycle trip but since I got rid of my car in March of 2012 and have been doing everyday travels on the scooter or bicycle since then, I thought I’d give an overview of how well a 125cc scooter can work for grocery shopping amongst other trips under 30 miles.
I do feel the need to point out that I also intend to use this size scooter for trips that are much longer than 30 miles but for most people it would be a mode of transportation that would replace their car for short trips around town and running errands. The gas mileage a scooter gets can vary depending on the the size of the engine and other things, including the size/weight of the rider, but most modern day scooters under 150cc get mileage somewhere between 75mpg and 120mpg. That’s a LOT better than a car.
So, I needed to make a run to the grocery store today and wanted to show folks how scooters can carry a good amount of stuff pretty easily. Most scooters have under seat storage. I pack items that are mid to heavy in weight and don’t need to be kept cool under the seat. Heat from the engine does build under the seat and it’s not a prime place for items like milk or ice cream.
Some scooters come with a top case that attaches to a rear rack. These pods are weatherproof and lockable and a great way to carry items that you want to keep dry and clean and they can add quite a bit of extra space. My scooter did not come with one but I purchased a 30L top case right away and it has really helped increase the scooters carrying capacity. Most top cases shouldn’t be loaded with more than 10 to 15 pounds of weight so I pack lighter items there. This case also allows me to safely store my helmet and gloves while I shop so I don’t look like a weirdo wandering around the grocery store.
Lastly, the heaviest items, like milk, juice, cheeses, etc, go into a padded cooler bag that rests on the floorboard between my feet. There is a small hook closure to attach the bag straps to (this feature is common on most smaller sized scooters) to keep it from falling and my feet are also holding the bag in place. Having the heaviest items low and right behind the front wheel is the best because it helps to transfer that weight to the wheel which has the most braking power.
Here’s a picture of all the groceries I picked up today and was able to carry home on the scooter without it being overloaded or awkward to ride.Now, this obviously won’t work out well if you need to pick up groceries for more than two people or if you have a large family and need to buy items like toilet paper and laundry detergent in large quantities. Not all of the space available to me on my scooter was used for this trip and I could’ve added a few more items if need be. I also have side saddle bags that can carry a lot of weight and offer a lot more space but they aren’t necessary for most daily trips so I don’t keep them mounted to the scooter.
I’d also like to point out that with front and rear racks on a bicycle you can easily add grocery panniers. These are pretty cheap, like $25 for a pair, and are boxy and open at the top so you can really load them up with groceries. Between my scooter and bicycle, they will carry about the same load. One is much easier and faster to ride but the other one takes no gas at all and includes exercise that might help counter any delicious junk food you bought at the grocery store.