Bike Touring Food

Pastor Joe

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So...I'm new to this forum and new (3+ weeks) to a whole food plant based diet. Fortunately things have been good and my wife and I are learning a lot.

I came across a thread about cycling recovery drinks, and it sparked a question. Over this past year I have added bicycle touring to my cycling life. I started with a week long, 470 mile, fully supported ride and am about to do my first self supported week long trip.

Well, before switching to a whole food plant based diet I had pretty much figured out a decent menu for a week's trip. Now...I mostly have to start over.

So, if there are any bike tourers here, what do you eat on trips? (I'll do a search here later, but have a meeting to get to now and wanted to get this out there. Sorry about that...I usually try and search before posting a question!)
 
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Pastor Joe

Pastor Joe

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This trip is about 180 miles over 5 days. Riding the C&O Canal Towpath. This is actually sort of a tune up ride...as there is a van carrying gear for others, but I'm planning to ride fully loaded. Have a 227 mile, 4 day trip I hope to do in March.

Breakfasts ideas are pretty well covered. Lunch somewhat...but dinner options are my main struggle.
 

Lou

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Five days, no refrigeration and weight is an issue?

Sounds like freeze-dried food should make up a majority of your meal plans.

I found this article right away.


Also, we have some bikers here. As soon as they check-in you should get some good suggestions.
 
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Pastor Joe

Pastor Joe

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Thanks Lou. I'll check the link out. I'm helping lead this trip...a group of teens from a local boys home so I'm not sure or easy it will be to shop for groceries. In March, riding from Wilmington, NC to Charleston, SC I'll be passing stores every couple of miles so I'll restock every day.

So, like I said, this trip is sort of a trial run. Anyway, thanks for the link!
 

Lou

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Oh, well, if you are passing grocery stores there is no reason to carry much at all.
 

Sax

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If you're able to visit a grocery store every day or two that makes things pretty easy.

Fresh produce weighs a lot for the calories it provides, takes up a lot of space and doesn't travel well. So I would try to eat what you can at/outside of the store. If there's a salad bar you're golden! A bungee net over your rear rack/panniers can provide storage space for bulky but lightweight food until you get to camp...or use a frame bag to free up pannier space.

If you're only going to see a grocery store every few days...still eat a bunch of greens and other produce when you can. If you can afford the extra time and fuel to actually cook, instead of doing boil-in-a-bag meals, lentils are a good choice. Slice a clove of garlic into it. Onion keeps surprisingly well in a ziploc even after you've cut into it. Cube a potato or two into the pot, add a little curry powder and a squeeze of lime juice.

Multiple days on end with only convenience store food is where it gets challenging. Bring a packable can opener, buy all the freckled bananas, rediscover the joy of eating peanut butter with a spoon. Things like onion, garlic, potato and citrus will stay good for days though and will do a lot for a can of beans.

When you need to go multiple days without any food resupply then freeze-dried is your best option. I usually get Backpacker's Pantry...they've got about a dozen vegan options last time I checked. A ziploc bag of potato flakes and a small bottle of olive oil will add a lot of calories for very little weight/pack volume and some dehydrated veggies help it feel more like real food. A couple garlic cloves are easy to pack. Cous Cous is another option...I like to add sundried tomato.
 

Emma JC

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My suggestion would be to concentrate on starches as that is what is going to give you the most energy.

Greens are great but low in calories so you could include some greens powder which is light and easy to carry.

Potatoes and rice and whole grain pastas combined with beans and any other veggies you can find.

Bananas and other fruits and berries. Nut butters!!

Lots of great ideas in the thread above.

Please let us know what you decide to eat and how it goes. I would love to see a youtube channel of vegan campers. I watch some people that do back country camping and they concentrate so much on fishing for their food and not on starches and then wonder why they don't have any energy.

Emma JC
 

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Where you're touring is the main thing. Without that it is hard to answer.

My husband and I set off to cycle around the world on a fully self sufficient tour some 8 years ago. We only spent a year on the road but have done many 2 or 3 week trips as well. We only camp whilst touring (though that didn't happen in eastern Soviet block countries for a number of reasons including a bitterly cold winter (-20°C at night and lower)). That means we can eat what we wanted.
Lunches were easy. Nut butters on bread, wholemeal multi seed, the substantial stuff, not the fluffy stuff. etc. And lots of. Jam as well on separate sandwiches, anything else we wanted etc. Plus a flask for hot drinks.

Evening meal pasta, lots of with tomato based sauce, onion peppers, beans etc. Different herbs and spices different veg each night do the same meal but never the same. Larger portions than normal. We often dropped in unsalted nuts to the sauce and cooked then to soften them to eat in the pasta sauce. Top up with dried fruit, bread and jam etc.. treats were

At the top of each hour, we'd stop to eat a few handfuls of dried fruit and nuts as a top up. We still lost weight despite eating continuously (well it just felt like we ate continuously).

Breakfast was porridge and jam, bread and jam... we ate so much bread and jam/peanut butter.

But we had no issues with our health whilst on tour. Just the one cold between us in 12 months on the road.

So which country? Are you cooking your own meals? Can you control the portions? And what season? Thay makes a huge difference.
 
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Emma JC

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did you see this story?

https://www.plantbasednews.org/post/vegan-cyclist-wins-epic-6-800km-trans-am-bike-race

Vegan Cyclist Wins Epic 6,800km Trans Am Bike Race - Setting New Record
Abdullah Zeinab cycled across America in just 16 days, 9 hours, and 56 minutes - beating the previous record by more than 10 hours

and here is livekindly's version of the story which discloses he ate mostly hashbrowns

https://www.livekindly.com/vegan-cyclist-breaks-6800km-record-hash-brown-diet/

Vegan Cyclist Breaks 6800km Record on Hash Brown Diet

Vegan cyclist Abdullah Zeinab recently completed the Trans Am Bike Race in a record-breaking finish. The athlete ate a diet of mostly hash browns.


Emma JC
 
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Lou

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Does anyone know how these things work? Is it like ultramarathons where they give you a place to sleep but you carry everything else? or is it like you have a chase van with everything you need?
 

Emma JC

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Does anyone know how these things work? Is it like ultramarathons where they give you a place to sleep but you carry everything else? or is it like you have a chase van with everything you need?

I think the second link I put above explains it a bit more. They have to be self-sufficient.

Emma JC
 

Lou

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I think the second link I put above explains it a bit more. They have to be self-sufficient.

Emma JC
Oh. i hadn't seen that second link.

and now.... diner hash browns. Wait! What? he stops at restaurants?
 

Emma JC

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Oh. i hadn't seen that second link.

and now.... diner hash browns. Wait! What? he stops at restaurants?

yup and he still beat everyone by like 10 hours.... I think they have little choice, either restaurants or supermarkets and get to cooking....

Emma JC
 

Lou

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yup and he still beat everyone by like 10 hours.... I think they have little choice, either restaurants or supermarkets and get to cooking....

Emma JC

What about the nights? I imagine they all stop at the same place for the night. Do they get hotel rooms?
 

Emma JC

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Rule #1: No complaining about the rules. These rules are essentially a slightly modified version of the Tour Divide’s ruleset. They are not perfect but they are pretty close to what represents the bikepacking ultra-racing ethos.

The Trans Am Bike Race is based on one guiding principle: Cycle the Trans America trailend-to-end, as fast as possible in a solo, self-supported fashion.

The Particulars:Who: Any who would like to RACESpirit: Above all, attempts are intended to be solo/self-supported, self-timed, and observed as one stage, i.e. the clock runs non-stop. The challenge is complete upon arrival to the oppositeTrans Am terminus from start. There are no required checkpoints or designated rest periods oncourse. There is no finish time cut-off! Modus operandi: To complete the Route, a rider may resupply food/equipment, rent a room,launder clothing, even service their bike at commercial shops along the way. The intent is to ride unsupported between towns, and function self-supported when in towns. Any services utilized must always be commercially available to all challengers and not pre-arranged. No private resupply, no private lodging.


You can google for more rules.

Emma JC
 
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Pastor Joe

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Sorry folks...just got back around to this forum...had a pretty busy weekend with a wedding and funeral on Saturday and then a full day a church. Anyway, if not too late I'll add some specific info about my nearest tour and the next.

I leave Sunday to ride the C& O Canal from Cumberland, MD to Washington, DC. It would be possible to stop to resupply, but not real convenient. This is a group with about 8 or 9 teen boys from a nearby Boys and Girls Home. Time, heat, and the plans of the leader from the home will dictate a lot. We are camping most every night. I believe we will be eating out...but I'm not comfortable assuming that where we will be stopping for dinner each night will offer a lot I will eat...though I hope I'm wrong. This means I am going ready to prepare my own meals. I typically get up in the mornings about 5:00, so I don't want to have to wait a couple of hours for everyone else to get up before we go eat...so again, I'll be prepared.

My plan is to only carry about two days worth of food...but have a box in the van where I can resupply as needed. This is a supported trip, though I am planning on riding it self-supported...carrying my own gear rather than putting it in the van/trailer. I'm using this as a training trip. I became "re-interested" in touring about a year and a half ago after being a fairly serious (but not competitive) cyclist for the past 14 years in various disciplines. Last fall I did a 470+ fully supported ride across North Carolina...the Mountains to Coast ride...to put in a position to ride long distances 7 days in a row. This past spring I was able to get out for an overnight self-supported ride on the Natchez Trace when I went to visit my parents in Nashville. So, this is another step on my journey to self-supported touring. This one is easy logistically...I MAY be able to stop for supplies if needed or the van driver can go for me, I'm just glutton for punishment.

My next hope is to do a self-supported ride from Wilmington, NC to Charleston, SC next March...hopefully before tourist traffic picks up. This ride will utilize the East Coast Greenway.
 
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Pastor Joe

Pastor Joe

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OK...I'm back from my trip and trying to get back in my daily routines. Besides being a good trip, journal can be read at http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/cando2019 for those who may be interested, things went mostly smoothly.

Not knowing what to expected...this was a group, and I was one of the leaders but not in charge...I carried breakfast and lunch food for each day and dinner for 3 nights, I believe.

Before leaving I made up my own "instant" oatmeal using rolled oats, brown sugar, and flax seeds. These were put in individual baggies. This made it pretty easy for me to get my breakfast each morning at 5:30 a.m. as everyone was still sleeping. Hot oatmeal and coffee while overlooking the Potomac River while the sun came up was not a bad way to begin each morning.

For lunch, I carried one of my standards for trips...tortilla shells, peanut butter and jelly. Simple, yet gets the job done. Though some of the days I at what our van driver picked up...and he did a good job of being sure it was something I could eat. Yea, it was fast food, but it was vegan and it was convenient.

Dinner was similar...I went prepared to do my own meals. I believe I was prepared for three nights...planning on picking up, or having our van driver picking up, something from the grocery store if needed. Before leaving on the trip I dehydrated some spaghetti and sauce....it was pretty good. I also dehydrated some black beans, and then combined them with instant rice and taco seasoning and some corn chips.

Everything worked out great and I learned some options that are light weight and pretty easy to fix. Planning a week long solo trip from Wilmington, NC to Charleston, SC in March and may venture out a little more and do a little "real" cooking as I will have more flexibility in my stopping and shopping options.

Thanks for all the suggestions and help!