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.
Packing a picnic lunch for your ride 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”.
Ingredients for the ultimate bike picnic
1. Stop by your local grocery or markets
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.
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.
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.
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.