Grocery Shopping on a Scooter

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.

Under seat items

Under seat items

The rest of the items under the seat

The rest of the items under the seat

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.

Fruits, veggies and bread in the top case

Fruits, veggies and bread in the top case

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.

Grocery bag on floor board

Grocery bag on floor board

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.groceriesNow, 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.


8 thoughts on “Grocery Shopping on a Scooter

  1. Awesome! Katie & I were just talking about getting scooters in the future. You really can pack a lot on them! Do you know if there’s an option for a side cart that could accomodate an 85lb dog? If so, I’m definately going to look into purchasing one once I’m settled in the future 🙂

    • I don’t think side cars are very common or available for most scooters. Some old models have them but then the scooters are also old and not really as good on gas mileage or other modern features that I think you might want. You might just have to leave the dog at home….sorry. Scooters are a lot of fun and they save a lot of money if you can get rid of a car and use them instead for all your daily needs. If you need to take longer trips renting a car is always a good option. With the money you save from not owning a car you usually have plenty of extra cash for car rentals and most rental cars are in good shape with low mileage, which is more than I could ever say about my old car!

      You could always go for a motorcycle as they are more likely to be able to mount a side car. I’ll look and see what I can find out about that for you.


  2. Well, I am very proud of you for making a big change like that. But I could not get one grocery trip in that scooter and there is just dad and I. I could see myself in one of those little toy cars just for trips locally. I think they get 60 – 80 mph.

  3. When I was only biking last summer, I was surprised how many groceries I could fit on a simple front and rear mounted rack and a backpack. I liked it because it really made you evaluate grocery needs. However, i agree that it was impossible to get toilet paper or cat food home.

  4. Awesome! Ever since the Wife and kids and I moved into a city,I’ve threatened to buy a scooter and go car-lite (or,minivan-lite,as is my case,LOL). I grew up racing motocross and once had a valid on road license (years ago),so it shouldn’t be a huge ordeal to renew. I’m not above riding a .49cc so avoid that,but the one big hill leading out of here to town (same hill that keeps my Xtracycle in the workshop on many grocery runs since moving here a few months ago,LOL) makes me think I’d want more…but then I start thinking,”Well,I had a few small displacement (250cc or less) dual sports that were fun and I coud trail ride”,which leads to “well,if I’m going to spend that much,why don’t I just go for a….”…..I’m bad for such though,LOL! 😛

    I enjoyed this post,seeign how you’re getting to use your scoot for utility,posts like this always bring smiles to my face 🙂

    The DC

    • Hi DC,
      I originally agonized over getting a 49cc or going larger. I decided on the 125 because it was going to be my only means of motorized transportation…but the gas mileage on the little guys is so great these days I’m guessing I’ll get another scooter in a smaller size at some point. And of course a larger one for roads trips 🙂 It’s hard not to get more than one once you’ve been bitten by the scooter bug.

      How’s the Xtracycle working out? I’ve been reading about them and hope to get one once we settle down after this trip. I play guitar and it seems like a great way to carry the instrument around with me as well as anything else I might want.

      • While I won’t be in line to give up my van anytime soon,I’d like to have a scooter myself,seriously. I may look into one next year (I don’t see it happening this year financially). Don’t think me awful on the van thing though,LOL,the DC stands for “Disabled Cyclist”,when my spinal injuries from ’01 flare up,I can’t ride (motor or pedal),barely walk-plus it’s just too convenient with 2 kids and several mtn biking buddies (I sold a sub-13 second Mustang GT ragtop I bought new in ’94 to buy that old beat up van…first time I had 4 muddy bikes and 3 buds in there,been happy ever since :p ),not to mention easy to get into/out of on bad days. I’ve even gave thought to going full size for more room next trade-in since now a days they get about the same mileage as my ’98 mini.

        On the Xtracycle,I have nothing but good to say,it’s awesome! Before moving across town to this place (we rented there,own here 😉 ) where there’s a 3+ mile hill on a bad-for-cycling road (either direction I’d go),I rode it everywhere,errands,groceries…even took my few ever S24O camping trips on it last Summer. I LOVE it.

        I could get really specific on the Xtracycle subject,or go into details with any specifc questions you may have…it might be less cumbersome to do that via email,I could give you my email addy if you like 🙂

        The DC (Steve :p )

      • I don’t think poorly of anyone who has a car. Everyone has to make the best decisions they can for themselves. For some folks it would be very hard to do without them (it sounds like you might be one of those folks) others live in rural areas where not having a car would be very difficult especially in the winter. It would be nice to see more people who live in urban areas or warmer climates using bikes and scooters instead of cars but at this point the US lacks a lot of needed infrastructure to allow this sort of transportation to happen safely and comfortable for masses people and I don’t fault anyone for being afraid of riding with traffic. It can be very scary.

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