Mix It: Food and Bikes

Reader Contribution by Winona Bateman
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Photo by Pixabay/Okboks  

Recently my passion for pickles was reignited, burning green, burning bright, and leading me to think constantly about food, even as I’m thinking about bike touring. Pickles led to bread, stew, then fudge (the kind my grandma used to make)…well, you get the picture.

It’s not the worst distraction for my field. Food and bike touring definitely mix. Whether you’re trying to pound calories on your cross-country tour, or pedaling locally in search of the best snacks, I think I can safely make the claim that cyclists love food.

We’ve written about food several times on the Adventure Cycling blog. Sarah Raz posted about salted chocolate chip cookies. Josh Tack posted about “On the Bike Food” and warned of the dangers of leaving your food out for bears (a big no-no, just in case you were wondering). Recently, Jenn Milyko enlightened us about a new hostel on the Pacific Coast Route that is especially aware of cyclists’ need for satisfying food. According to Jenn’s post, the hostel’s overnight fee “includes a free breakfast buffet of items such as fresh-cut fruit, fresh-made oatmeal, bagels, croissants, muffins, toast, and never-ending peanut butter, jam, and Nutella.” Yep, cyclist-friendly menu alright!

In the last few weeks, I’ve come across some inspirational stories, tours, and resources for cyclists who love to blend the joy of bicycling with the pleasures of — and their passion for — savory, sweet, and salty.

We’ve already posted several times about FarmStayUS.com (but I can’t help mentioning it again, I love farms). A seemingly fab online resource that touring cyclists may wish to add to their planning toolkit (in addition to WarmShowers.org and CouchSurfing.org). You can read more about the burgeoning agricultural tourism trend in last week’s New York Times piece, “Small Farms Find Profit in Tourism” — it’s a business piece, but for those of you interested in the new possibility for accommodations, or an agriculturally-themed bike tour — it’s a pretty fun read. (For urban farming inspiration, this weekend I’m joining the Missoula Tour de Coop.)

Sara Salo plans to kick off her School Food Tour this August and ride 6,000 miles to promote improvements in school meals and cycling for transportation and recreation. As reported on Good in April, “I have really tried to focus on including a very diverse selection of regions, populations, and neighborhoods,” she says. “From huge metropolises to small farm towns, I plan to see it all. One of the most exciting parts of my ride will be learning about the unique influences that impact each school’s meals and student wellness.”

For local culinary enthusiasts, celebrate the flavors of your hometown with a little food-themed cruising. The Huffington Post reported last week on a cool sounding tour company in Chicago that leads culinary tours around the Windy City — sign me up for the “cured meat tutorial!” Check out this overview of the company’s Global Doughnut tour from Time Out Chicago subtitled, “Stop at three spots for churros, paczki and bismarcks on this Fork and the Road tour,” uh yes, and can it immediately follow the cured meat option?

Taking a local food or agricultural tour this summer? Riding to advocate for food or farming? Planning a killer menu for your upcoming summer adventure? Have a great recipe to share? Let’s talk cycling and food! Comments and cravings welcome — just please be sure to include links!