A Four Bagger

We had what we call a “Four Bagger” today. A Four Bagger is a trip to the grocery store that requires two bikes and four large panniers to carry home the load. Most of our fill-in grocery shopping trips only require one pair of small panniers and a basket, but when the pantry needs restocking like it did today, only the big guns will suffice. It’s really quite amazing how much food you can stuff into a quartet of Basil panniers. Of course, real cargo bikes laugh at little loads like this.

14 Responses to “A Four Bagger”

  • Karl OnSea says:

    Cool! Some questions for you on this . . .

    * What’s the capacity of those bags – the ones on the Princess give a hint at their width, and they look huge!

    * How do you find paniers on your Sovereign? I’ve been a little disappointed at the way the stand fouls them when in the ‘up’ position (because its wider than the rack they’re attached to).

  • Donald says:

    I purchased a Burley Nomad trailer for the same purpose. I tell them at Trader Joes, when I pull up on the bike with the Nomad, that I will do anything to keep from having to drive my car into their overly crowded parking lot. So far I have fit $150 worth of groceries into the Nomad but when it came to the large package of paper towels and toilet paper I had to dismantle them to fit them into every spare corner. It takes a bit of effort to get the whole rig rolling but once it is moving you do not even know it is there. (yeah…right). It makes shopping a whole new work out experience.

    Sacramento, California

  • Alan says:


    1. 45 litres

    2. The Basils are rigid, so I push the stand up against them as far as it goes and hold it in place with a velcro loop. It’s not an elegant solution, but it works perfectly fine.


  • bipbip38 says:

    Cargo bikes owners don’t laugh very long when you need to carry more than 150 lbs in the “steep” … (unless you only carry cotton) but effectively my Yuba can easily carry four 40 litres bags (http://bipbip38.blogspot.com/2008/12/160-litres-pour-une-course.html)

    Laurent, France

  • Gavin says:

    Pretty happy shopping with the Madsen. But of course, we have seven mouths to feed.

  • Adrienne says:

    I take umbrage at that! My Batavus is as much a cargo bike as any. My Basils get stuffed to capacity, then the kid goes on, and on a really heavy day, I can attach the trailer, too. It isn’t about how much payload, it’s a about how well you do it : )

  • Andrew says:

    I work at TJ’s in sac, probably the one mentioned in the above comment. I wish more people rode bikes(and had trailers!). I’ve found that a front wald basket with a cargo net and a sturdy front rack can fit about 2 full bags of groceries.. or at least 1 gallon of milk plus plenty of lighter stuff.

    Are those basil panniers pretty heavy? They are certainly gorgeous, but would you say they are, from a functional viewpoint, better than say.. the minnehahas?


  • Duncan Watson says:

    I am lucky myself, I live 3 blocks from my grocery store. We basically grocery shop European style, that is nearly every day, small loads.

  • Adrienne says:

    @Andrew- I have Basil panniers similar to Alan’s (I have the Blossom Twig pair)- they are not terribly heavy and they are fantastic. They are easy to open and fill, you can shove our whole family in them, they are sturdy and attractive and they are not terribly expensive (mine were $50, although the ones Alan has are a bit more fancy and expensive -$175 @ Vélo Orange). If my cheap ones are great, I bet Alan’s are even better!

  • wilhelm says:

    such loads also snickered at by the SUV of a bakfiets


  • Alan says:


    The Basil panniers are well-built from heavy canvas, leather, and brass. They’re probably heavy (weight wise) as panniers go, but who’s counting grams on a utility bike anyway? :-)

    I haven’t compared them side-by-side with Minnehahas, but it’s my impression that they’re probably tougher. Of course, at their price they ought to be. One caveat: these are not easy-on-easy-off panniers. Because they’re held on with old fashioned straps and buckles, taking them on and off is a little fiddly. Most people will probably prefer to put them on and leave them on.


  • Alan says:


    Now that’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout. Serious bike lust just kicked in…

  • Gavin says:

    My wife originally fell in love with the Bakfiets, but the price and availability moved us toward the Madsen http://www.madsencycles.com We probably still will, at some point, get a Bak or something like it.

  • 2whls3spds says:

    I can vouch for the Basil Karavans. I can get a solid weeks worth of groceries for 4 adults in there with no problem. Biggest issue is making sure you have the Euro sized utility racks. They will not work on the smaller US sized racks at all.


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