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Old 06-01-09, 02:48 PM   #1
Neilonhisbike
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Newbie food and drink question

Hello forum!

I've been a visitor for a couple of weeks now and have been reading with great interest. Especially loving the tips thread.

This July im riding to the Vendée region of France from Kent via Dieppe. Its approximately 400 miles and i anticipate doing it in around 5 days camping along the way.

I'm basically a newbie to touring and so I have quite a few questions.

My 1st question however is whats the best type of food/drink to carry and buy? Currently i'm thinking pasta as a staple. Drink wise, is water best or is it best to add an energy mix to it?

Thanks in advance, Neil

Last edited by Neilonhisbike; 06-01-09 at 02:58 PM. Reason: just thinking...
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Old 06-01-09, 03:08 PM   #2
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Pasta is good but requires water and boiling...if you're touring where it's readily available, then that's fine.

I highly recommend flour tortillas. They make a good food conduit. You can put peanut butter in them and drop in some dried nuts, granola and dried fruit for your own DIY cliff bar.

You can also use them with salami and cheese, etc.,

I pack hard cheeses (parmesians) and cured meets (proscuiotto, salame, etc.,) because they don't need any refrigeration and keep for several days.

Canned tuna is also nice to have and can also be placed in a tortilla.

I do enjoy a good loaf of bread, but for packing a tortilla is hard to beat!
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Old 06-01-09, 03:21 PM   #3
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Carry just enough food for supper that night and breakfast the next morning, and maybe just a bit extra just in case. There's no need to carry more than that where you are.

For lunch, stop at a pâtisserie or boulangerie in whatever town you're going through around the middle of the day, and at some point in the early afternoon, stop at a grocery store to pick up supper for that night and breakfast the next morning.

In fact, in France, a lot of the campgrounds have a service where you can order breakfast to be delivered ... usually pain du chocolat and chocolat croissants. Mmmmmm!!! Great way to start the day!

Pasta is all right, but go with whatever strikes your fancy for supper. It's a tour ... enjoy some of the local foods.

As for beverages, I usually drink Orangina in France.
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Old 06-01-09, 04:01 PM   #4
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Like others have suggested, do give the local foods a try.

-I'll add it's usually pretty easy to fix up a cold meal (I'm thinking breakfasts/brunches/lunches) in France. Pick up some bread, and whatever else suits you. I fixed up awesome inexpensive sandwiches with veggies, cheeses and pate'. Pate' (spreadable meat) is inexpensive, normally a delicasse in the US.

If you enjoy wine, you can't really go wrong sampling the local growers with your meal(s).
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Old 06-01-09, 04:06 PM   #5
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Like others have suggested, do give the local foods a try.

-I'll add it's usually pretty easy to fix up a cold meal (I'm thinking breakfasts/brunches/lunches) in France. Pick up some bread, and whatever else suits you. I fixed up awesome inexpensive sandwiches with veggies, cheeses and pate'. Pate' (spreadable meat) is inexpensive, normally a delicasse in the US.

If you enjoy wine, you can't really go wrong sampling the local growers with your meal(s).
I ate a lot of cheese in France. The cheese aisles in the grocery stores were awe-inspiring ... cheese isn't terribly expensive and there's a huge variety of it.
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Old 06-01-09, 04:28 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Neilonhisbike View Post
Hello forum!

I've been a visitor for a couple of weeks now and have been reading with great interest. Especially loving the tips thread.

This July im riding to the Vendée region of France from Kent via Dieppe. Its approximately 400 miles and i anticipate doing it in around 5 days camping along the way.

I'm basically a newbie to touring and so I have quite a few questions.

My 1st question however is whats the best type of food/drink to carry and buy? Currently i'm thinking pasta as a staple. Drink wise, is water best or is it best to add an energy mix to it?

Thanks in advance, Neil
Breads might be more convenient than pasta, at times. I found some wonderful homemade breads in France; they were being sold at small roadside stands, along with other small-farm products. The people were very friendly and great to be around.

I usually go with water plus fruit or fruit juices rather than energy drinks.

Last edited by Niles H.; 06-01-09 at 07:13 PM.
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Old 06-01-09, 07:23 PM   #7
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Pasta is good, particularly couscous as it cooks fast and doesn't need any extra water to cook.
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Old 06-04-09, 03:28 PM   #8
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Thanks for your replies. Think I was getting too het up on high energy foods and drinks. By the sounds of it a healthy balanced diet will keep me riding all day. Cant wait!!
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Old 06-04-09, 06:11 PM   #9
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Thanks for your replies. Think I was getting too het up on high energy foods and drinks. By the sounds of it a healthy balanced diet will keep me riding all day. Cant wait!!

Yes, definitely!! And will probably taste better too! I don't mind having an energy bar ... or even better something like an oatmeal raisin cookie or two ... along for during the day, but when I'm on tour, I like to enjoy eating.
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Old 06-05-09, 01:41 AM   #10
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So one day I'm looking at my "energy bar" wrapper and it says 10g Protein and 50g Carbs and I think that sounds familiar so I go look at the bagels. Bagels taste better. Especially when you put stuff on them, but even when you don't.

You need a lot more water than energy drink. Nothing wrong with them as a portion of your liquid intake but they are not at all well balanced as a primary source of water.
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Old 06-05-09, 04:43 AM   #11
imi
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My staple for evening meal is beans and rice. Cook up the rice (about 1 dl/person + salt), when it's done boiling (ca. 15 mins) throw a can of beans in (preferably without the can ... done... tabasco and olive oil to flavour...

Many shops in France close between noon and 4 p.m. Mondays many shops can be closed all day (aswell as sundays, so stock up on saturdays). Outside of larger towns you'll find great hypermarkets (open all day, but most often closed on sundays aswell).

My quick energy fix through the day is a french speciality "pain au chocolat"... dark chocolate whacked into baguette or "pain au banan" (work that one out!)...

Bon voyage et bon appetit!
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Old 06-05-09, 05:02 AM   #12
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Eddie Merckx used to eat stake for breakfast on the morning of a big ride cf A sunday in Hell.

A tradition in the tour de France was that the domestiques steal wine form local bars and cafe for the team favorites. Now I know you will not have a domestique and I don't condone stealing but reasonable wine is cheap in France and as we all know drinking makes your stronger and faster as well more attractive to the opposite sex, funnier e.t.c So I recommend wine, red preferably.
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Old 06-05-09, 06:39 AM   #13
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Thanks for your replies. Think I was getting too het up on high energy foods and drinks. By the sounds of it a healthy balanced diet will keep me riding all day. Cant wait!!
This Neil when on HIS bike carries trail mix for snacking between meals, but otherwise doesn't use energy foods and drinks when on tour. They are pricey and not terribly filling. Also, some bars (such as Powerbars) have ingredients that can have a laxative effect, which is NOT what I want on tour!

Cordially,
Neil B.
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Old 06-05-09, 07:06 AM   #14
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Thanks for your replies. Think I was getting too het up on high energy foods and drinks. By the sounds of it a healthy balanced diet will keep me riding all day. Cant wait!!
On a long tour you get sick of powerbars pretty quickly. Regular snacks like Fig Newtons, oatmeal raisin cookies, other baked goods, and even jerky if you crave it are all good snacks. I prefer to snack a lot and not eat huge meals on tour.

The one thing that I have found useful is Gu. Carrying a few Gu shots is a good idea if you will be doing days where you may push hard enough to possibly bonk or even just need a "boost". I did a 142 mile day on my last tour that was comfortable and fun, but I was close to hitting the wall at one point. A couple Gu shots got me through the last 40 miles in comfort rather than agony.
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Old 06-05-09, 09:35 AM   #15
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As to the water question, one thing to remember is that sweat is not clear water. Sweating robs your body of essential electrolytes that need to be replaced. Under low sweat conditions regular eating is sufficient. High sweat situations (think when you are leaving white patches on your clothes when they dry) you will need some electrolyte replacement in addition to your eating.
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