Hurray—It’s National Bike Month! And we can certainly understand why—the warm temperatures and gorgeous weather have us savoring every moment we get to spend outdoors, especially after being cooped up inside for so long. What better way to get some fresh air and exercise than to go for a casual bike ride, culminating in a light snack or scenic picnic?
Whether you’re a biking beginner or a cycling champion, here are some helpful tips and tricks to keep you riding (and snacking) with ease:
Biking Tips for the Cycling Enthusiast
- Plan your food and drinks according to the length of your ride. “The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrate per hour of exercise.” A good baseline for short rides (less than 1 hour) is water or a low-carb electrolyte beverage and a banana. (Source: bicycling.com.)
- Use food as fuel. Consider packing portable foods that will provide you with energy and essential nutrients. Some great choices are: bananas, PB&J, and trail mix or energy bars. (Source: eatright.org.)
- Plan your recovery. Some other sources of sustainable energy are oatmeal, greek yogurt, almonds, tuna or salmon, and honey—consider incorporating some of these into your post-workout snack. (Source: verywellfit.com.)
- Learn the lingo. Pro cyclers or those training for a marathon may look to energy bars, gels, chews, and sports drinks for sustained energy as their ride time increases. If this is you—it may be worth doing some additional research into these other types of “fuel.” (Source: rei.com.)
- Hack your bike. If you’re an adventure biker or often go on long rides, consider packing along extra tools and looking for helpful tips and tricks to get the most of your gear. (Source: bicycling.com.)
These easy-to-make sandwiches are filled with all sorts of energy-boosting food fuel to keep you “going the distance.” Peanut butter provides a source of protein and healthy fats, while the dates, honey, and bananas add some carbohydrates and fiber for a steady source of energy. Use either Martin’s 100% Whole Wheat Potato Bread or Rolls for an added health benefit.
The peanut butter and honey should help the sandwich adhere together so it should make for a mess-free mid-ride snack, but you can also try removing the crusts and sealing the sandwich edges with a fork or spoon.
Bike Picnic Tips
Looking for something more casual—perhaps a brisk ride to the park for a picnic with the family? Consider these tips:
- Pack securely. Consider how you will store and carry your food. Does your bike have a front basket or a way to fasten something to it? If not, look for special bike bags or panniers that attach to the handlebars or body, or use a compact backpack.
- Pack light. Be sure not to pack anything too fragile or that can be easily squished. Use sealed storage containers and firmly wrapped packages.
- Pack accordingly. You may want to consider packing a light blanket or tablecloth, depending on your destination. You’ll also want to be sure to pack weather-appropriately—bring sunscreen or an umbrella if the forecast calls for either.
- Keep food cold. You can freeze water bottles to double as ice packs and make sure everything stays cool during your journey.
- Aim for variety. Try for handheld and easily prepared foods, fresh veggies w/ portable dips, and snackable items like charcuterie, cheese, grapes, olives, and nuts.
- Pack the essentials. Be sure to bring along any preparation tools or utensils such as a cutting board, knife, or serving or eating utensils.
- Check out these articles for more resources and ideas:
These delicious Italian-inspired cold cuts are the perfect picnic fare; plus, they’re easy to assemble on-the-spot. With a simple combo of prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, and arugula, plus any desired condiments like Dijon mustard or balsamic glaze, they make a perfect al fresco lunch on a bright summer day. Enjoy with fresh fruit and veggies, olives, nuts, or other snackable accompaniments!
To keep your subs from getting soggy while biking to your dining destination, here are a few tips: 1) Toast the Hoagie Rolls ahead of time, then pack them in individual bags (or repackage them in the bread bag) until ready to assemble. 2) Keep your meats, cheeses, and arugula in separate sealed containers or bags while traveling. You can keep the fresh mozzarella whole and bring a small knife to slice it when ready to serve.
No picnic is complete without dessert! And what better summertime sweet than the classic cherry pie? These convenient “hand pies” take the hassle out of transporting your dessert to your choice picnic spot. They’re simple to make and travel well. First, flatten out slices of Martin’s Potato Bread. Next, top with a spoonful of prepared cherry pie filling. Then, close up your sandwich pocket and crimp the edges with a fork. Finally, cut vents in the top of your pies and bake them in the oven for a few minutes. Let cool, then top with a simple icing glaze. Once the glaze is set, you’re free to wrap them up in parchment paper or a storage container and bring them along to your picnic! You can even make these in advance and freeze them (particularly helpful if you’re prone to spontaneous outings).
Enjoy your ride!
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