Categories: Recipes, Travel Tips

Recipe: Picnicking While on a Bike Tour

by Jessie Beyer - Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Lunch on the Roll

Ride until your hungry … or can’t get enough of the view

Cycling can certainly kick one’s appetite into gear, and a picnic lunch is a great way to take in local scenery and local specialties while on a bike tour. With a little preparation at the beginning of your day, you’re free to cycle until hunger strikes, and then choose the perfect patch of grass or picnic table. Pull over and unpack a picnic comprised of local goodies from an outdoor market, local deli or grocery store, and you’ve got a perfect bike tour picnic.

Be it along Portugal’s rugged coastlines or overlooking a castle or in the central square of a tiny village in Provence – many of our bicycle tours include a day when we recommend locations perfect for pulling over and soaking in the scenery over a picnic lunch. Cycling away from a market with a picnic on your bike gives you freedom to ride until you’re hungry and take advantage of whatever setting most excites you come lunch time. Picnic lunches are also a great opportunity to sample a variety of specialties  from local markets including produce, meats, cheeses, nuts, dips, spreads, and baked goods. Many small grocery stores in Europe will make a sandwich from their deli counter and wrap it up “to go”.

Bike Picnic Ingredients

Ingredients for the ultimate bike picnic

1. Tips and suggestions from 1 Tour leader (or local)

Ask the experts! If you’re on tour, take advantage of our tour leaders’ local expertise. Tour leaders will suggest towns with great outdoor markets, foods worth giving a try, and scenic spots to stop and have lunch. If you can speak the local language or find an English-speaking vendor at the market, ask for suggestions! From produce to cheese, merchants know their products and will be able to point you towards fresh and local favorites.

2. Food

Temperature is worth considering as you might be biking for sometime between picking up lunch and finding your spot. Many items travel well, (tomatoes, peppers, carrots, cheeses, baked goods such as small baguettes or rolls, nuts, and deli sandwiches) but it is worth considering food temperatures and containers if you’re planning on riding for a few hours between purchasing food and picnicking.  Some cheeses are even better after they have been out of the “fridge” such as brie or other semi-soft cheeses.

3. Utensils

Depending on where you purchase your food, you might be able to snag disposable cutlery from the vendor or stop at a roadside cafe to grab something. Even easier, make sure your ingredients are “finger food” friendly such as rolls, single tomatoes you can bite into etc.

4. Location

It’s all about the location. Again, tour leaders are a great resource in terms of areas along your route that provide a nice picnic atmosphere. If you’re feeling adventurous just let the arrows be your guide and when you see a nice shady spot with a view, and your stomach gives you a growl and a clue, pull over and bon appetite!  We often point out good places for a picnic during the briefing the night before so take note and you can already have a spot on your radar.

5. Good Company

Picnics are can be best shared with good company. Meals are a great time to reflect on your trips events and share stories be it with friends old or new, your spouse or even  your journal. You never know, you might even have the fortune of a few locals stopping by for a chat and new memory.

Picnic Views

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Jessie Beyer - Originally from the suburbs of Washington, D.C., Jessie headed west for college and never looked back. She earned a Journalism and Technical Communications degree from Colorado State University, and has since worked in a variety of industries including radio, sustainability, and wine tourism. Jessie combines her passion for travel, cycling, and storytelling to help people understand the unique power of exploring the world from the seat of a bike. A self-proclaimed travel junkie, Jessie has found herself on many extended adventures. She spent 2015 exploring many corners of the world including tramping through New Zealand's mountains, cycling through Europe, and hitching a boat ride down the Mekong river from Laos into Thailand. At home in Colorado you'll likely find her singing her way up mountain trails, talking to strangers, and seeking restaurants with patios and Spanish wines.

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