#Quaxing at Currumbin
Last week I learnt a new word. It wasn’t just a word from the dictionary that I hadn’t seen before. It was a new, new word.
Back in January, an exchange on Twitter between a citizen and a politician in New Zealand saw the politician tweet: “the very idea that people lug home their weekly supermarket shopping on the train is fanciful”.
To which the citizen replied “I get groceries on my bike”.
The politician, Dick Quax, thought the citizen was joking (he wasn’t) and tweeted a flippant reply.*
In the Twitter-sphere, people started posting photos of themselves shopping by bikes, trains and buses identifying their posts with the hashtag “Quax”. The hashtag started trending in New Zealand and globally, to the point that a definition was assigned**. This is the new, new word that I learnt last week:
“Quax, [verb; past: quaxed, present: quaxing] — to shop, in the western world, by means of walking, cycling or public transit.”
Over the past five months, I’ve been regularly quaxing. I’ve been collecting photos of my shopping journeys with a plan to write about it but to just call it shopping seemed so uninteresting… Enter this new, new word… and shopping just became a whole lot more exciting to talk about!
As a result of my bicycle experiment, the groceries for our household are predominantly transported by bicycle.
Someone said to me a few months ago, “how do you get your shopping… you must do a lot of small trips.” Well not really although we do buy from a few different locations. We gather supplies from our local Saturday markets, from two speciality organic shops and also some items from the local shopping centre. My return journey to these destinations ranges from less than one kilometre to just over nine kilometres.
Importantly, our bikes have panniers – they’re the yellow and black saddle bags that you see attached to the side of my bike – which carry quite a good volume of groceries. It is an acquired art though to successfully arrange groceries in the hollow of a pannier and this adds a little time to my shopping excursions. Also to cater for fridge items, I carry one or two small soft coolers each with an ice brick.
Two weeks ago, I managed to carry this bundle of shopping in my two panniers: 2 litres of milk, 1kg of potatoes, 3kg of oranges, a bunch of kale, a tin of coconut cream, 1 dozen eggs, 400gms of beef, 500gms butter, a bunch of celery, half a kilo of grapes and a litre of yoghurt. Yep! that was a slow 4.5km ride home and perhaps my biggest load ever but no real worries.
There are a few tricky items that have needed some imagination to carry home. There is no way a twelve pack of toilet paper will fit in a pannier (in a Dutch cargo bike it would and I can’t wait to see more of them getting around the streets in Australia). Neither does a 15 litre carton of spring water fit. And when it comes to mango season in the summertime, carrying a tray of mangos home is definitely an adventure. Yet all of these groceries, while awkward or delicate to transport, have been transported home by bicycle, safely.
So I can happily report that quaxing at Currumbin is alive and well!
*The full twitter exchange can be read here.
** NZ tweeter @ByTheMotorway