Touring - Carry food vs. buy food
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I was looking at the loaded touring bike pic thread and noticed that most people have a lot of gear on their bikes. I am planning an 1800mile circumfrence of Lake Superior this summer and can easily fit all my gear in two rear panniers and a rack. This made me think that some of you must carry most of you food? I was planning on carrying snacks for the day but stopping at grocery or convienent stores along the way for the main meals of the day. Basically just wondering how others manage their food on longish tours. Thanks
05-07-07, 09:45 PM
I start with a good amount of food including some staples like rice, olive oil, oatmeal, hot chocolate, dried fruit, etc, and buy meat and fresh or canned veggies/fruit each day. I've had to buy a few days worth of meat and veggies when staying in a park for a few days.
I carry all the makings for breakfast, (usually rolled oats and some honey to sweeten it with) and an emergency meal, Cous cous and a coup sachet.
The rest I buy as I go along:)
I generally buy food every couple of days.
05-08-07, 08:39 AM
It depends on the area. I carry...and avoid at all cost...a couple of freeze-dried meals for those times when there is absolutely no place to buy food. I only gag them down if I can't get anything else...like shoe leather or old bicycle tires ;) Otherwise, I buy food as I go along. If a section of a route looks like it won't have food for a while (you get a feel for where this happens), I'll stock up with a few days worth of rices and noodles (Lipton makes some stuff that's almost edible) and some foil packed chicken, ham and maybe tuna (although I think I'd eat the freeze-dried and old tires first:o )
When I can, I'll buy fresh meats and vegetables but that can be hit or miss. Play it by ear and be prepared.
I think people just carry lots of stuff or have bulky stuff with them like sweaters. And people also prefer to spread their gear out through 4 panniers though the weight of the paniers themselves is considerable.
I thnk you might find you need to buy food for a few days on that route, but I haven't done it myself.
05-08-07, 09:46 AM
We carry food because we are both diabetic and regular access to food is critical to blood sugar management.
I've tended to carry staples, like rice and lentils, oats or pasta, and buy other food (mostly bread) along the way. The advantage of carrying grains is always having a high-energy food source available. Oats and brown rice beat pasta, which is high in energy but not much else, and takes up a lot of space besides. I've also found peanut butter to be an incredibly important component of on-the-road nutrition. Bread is something to buy along the way. You can usually get day-old bread for good prices at bakeries. Honey or other "food amendments," you might call them, are probably a good idea. Plain brown rice is incredibly bland, which makes it difficult to get down sometimes. Even just mixing in some lentils makes a tremendous difference. I'm going to try carrying oats next time I take a trip, I think, with honey or maple syrup to sweeten it.
05-08-07, 06:44 PM
Just curious, but has anyone given thought to purchasing a case of MREs and bringing them along?
05-08-07, 08:47 PM
Just curious, but has anyone given thought to purchasing a case of MREs and bringing them along?
Yep, too bulky and heavy. I use freeze dried and light weight high energy foods.
05-10-07, 10:26 PM
I've toured some of the most out-of-the-way places in the USA (Idaho and Montana, Continental Divide Trail, Sawthooth Mountains) I've never carried more than 3 days of food. It's just too much weight, too much packing and planning. 90% of the time, I buy food every day!
I just go to small Mom and Pop stores and buy whatever food they have....often in cans, like Chili, soup, veggis, pears, ect. Saltines are good, lots of Snickers, sunflower seeds, and any fresh fruit or veggies I can find. I keep ramen for any time I can't find food. And tea.
Don't worry about food! You'll find it on the road and it's an adventure afterall.
05-11-07, 01:41 AM
I carried a screw top plastic container, about 6"x6", with ice in the bottom. I stored my Yves or Lightlife Deli Ham (vegetarian), a container of carrot sticks, salad green mix, and maybe a little cheese in there. Then I carry some hoagie rolls in my bag for sandwiches. Other things I may have - Granola bars, salted-in-the-shell peanuts, snack crackers. When the ice melts, I use it for spare water, if needed. I refill the ice at convenience stores along the way.
I usually stop for breakfast, after 10-20 miles of early morning riding. Lunch and snacks is a picnic with the above. And dinner may or may not be out.
05-12-07, 05:17 AM
You'll find it on the road and it's an adventure afterall.
Yeah, but it is normally rotting already - I'm not that adventurous :eek:
05-12-07, 12:38 PM
I've done that ride!! Better carry some food up in Canada 'cause there just isn't anything up there except breathtaking vistas. In White River (pop 30) the mayor served us breakfast. lol.
The ride from Thunder bay to Nipigon was a white knuckler!! You have to share the road with big trucks and there is little to no shoulder. It was awful, but the rest of the ride made up for it.
05-13-07, 05:44 PM
In addition to cereals/grains as specified, roasted salted almonds are a staple of mine. Extremely nutritionally dense and replaces electrolytes rather well. I recommend them.
I carry a couple days worth along with 100 oz water. I use Trail mix, powered choc. milk, and bagels. I can get dried fruit, protien, dairy, grains in all that. Personally I found it nice to just stop in a resturant. Fire season makes it harder to eat a hot meal.
05-14-07, 03:02 PM
One of the advantages of bike touring versus backpacking is that a good dinner is often only a short ride away from camp. I used to be a gear freak and would carry food, stove and fuel. I eventually discovered this was utter silliness for the places I toured as I more often than not went to a local diner and saved myself the trouble of food prep and cleanup. Over the past ten years, I have logged many, many miles under my wheels without food and stove and have never been short of sustenance. Now I tour almost exclusively using restaurants or deli's in grocery stores I pass along the way. I research my route carefully and if I find a section that appears may not offer much in the way of dinner, I'll try to time my ride to stop at the last town prior to my day's destination to stock up on some easy dinner fixings that don't require heating.
05-14-07, 08:28 PM
PurpleK has a good point...finding food is a great way to meet people on the road and tossing all the cooking gear load lighter.
But then again, I'm not a picky eater.
I did the ride from Toronto to Thunder Bay. I carried enough food for 2 days but didnt' need it. There are towns every 40-60km. So bring something to snack on ..peanut butter and bread is always good. You should be able to find a town for dinner.
One post was right , the views are great but at times you are sharing the road with big trucks and little shoulder. Also do the ride from west to east. We went east to west and faced at least a 20km head wind everyday ..all day!!. We were very jealous when ever we saw other riders enjoying themselves going the other way.
The Canadian side (I don't know about the American side) of Superior isn't terribly populated, so I'd certainly bring at least two full meals worth of food when over here. The road just East of Thunderbay (this part of the TransCanada is called the Courage Highway) is terrible and shoulderless for a good deal of the time. It eventually clears up around Nipigon I think but a guy I met and rode with for that part almost got smoked like 3 times due to logging trucks (including a big flyaway piece of wood) and bad road conditions. I didn't even take a picture of the bad road, I really wish I had, because I think my mind was so focused on not dying instead of taking pictures. They were doing construction when I passed through, but it would take a lot of construction to fix all the problems with the road.
Be aware that, between Wawa and Sault Ste. Marie, there is a park (Superior Provincial Park I think) where there is nothing but big hills and beautiful scenery for about 90km I think. I did that stretch without food because I thought I'd hit a place to stock up as I left Wawa. Big mistake. There is an information center in the middle of nowhere in there but they only have a drink vending machine.
I have a few pics of that area uploaded, starting here:
Sorry, Sebach was right ..i forgot about that. The road through Superior Provincial Park doesn't have any restaurants or stores. (but it's one of the better parts of the ride). We camped just at the north end and ate some pasta we carried with us. But we did manage to find food for dinner the rest of the time.
Sebach was also right about the trucks. They were very scary. It was my first bike tour in Canada at the time so i thought this was regular traffic. But i've never had traffic (Trucks) that bad since. Once we counted 11 trucks passing us at once. The were all bunched together and going very fast.
....i was right about going west to east (thunder bay to toronto) ...:)
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