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    Senior Member Doogle's Avatar
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    What foods for touring?

    I am "The" newbie with biking.And I am planning to try touring in mid March.Last week I did a practice ride.I rode 50 miles to a state park in southern California.It is in a desert area with few services around.I setup my tent and went to the park store.They are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.Well supper was my PBJ's and granola bars.The next morning (store still closed) I rode about 10 miles to a small store that had stale bread and 2 out of date foot long hot dogs.I rode 78 miles before I got to an open store.

    It was a good lesson.I don't want to carry a lot of food or cook.But it looks like I may need to reconsider.I'm sure I will go through similar situations.What are common food choices on the road?I can live on PBJ for a couple days if necessary.But I probably need to be doing what the experienced tourers are doing.

  2. #2
    Bike touring webrarian
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    This page has 25 links to information about food and bike touring.

    Not all of them deal directly with food to take (one deals with food poisoning, another lists Chinese characters on menus), so not all will be of interest. But many will give you lots of good food suggestions.
    Visit the on-line Bike Touring Archive at www.biketouringtips.com

  3. #3
    weirdo
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    Hey, Doogle. Due to my routes, and that I tend to take short tours where a few hours detour would be a big issue, I have trouble with that "buy it as you need it" plan too. As you probably noticed, PBJ and granola bars aren`t so bad for a few days, provided you have enough of them. For the hot version of quick and easy, instant oatmeal is my biggest staple. I`ve also had success with instant refried beans (my next favorite, but can be hard to find), string cheese, bagels or tortillas (travel better than most breads), instant mashed potatoes, ramen noodles, tuna pouches, instant rice, and instant Thai soups. I`ve found that some of those instant foods tell you to boil for a certain time, but they usually turn out okay by just dumping in boiling water and waiting a few extra minutes. That`s for my current camping method, which lets me boil water, but can`t really cook easilly. With a more reliable method of cooking, your options grow a lot. Those rice or noodle based pouch dinners are my staple when I car camp and have a studlier stove, but pretty much anything you can cook on a stove at home can be easilly cooked on a white gas or butane stove.

  4. #4
    Wild Horse Country revelo's Avatar
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    If you really want to simplify your life, you can live on bread, cheese and spinach sandwiches indefinitely, assuming you can digest and like these foods, since that combination has all the vitamins and minerals and adequate protein too. Try to use whole wheat bread if possible, to get enough fiber. I typically use the ratio 36 oz bread (1.5 loaves, enough for about 16 sandwiches), 8 oz cheese (8oz of kraft singles = 12 slices) and 2.5 oz spinach (half of a 5 oz bag of pre-washed spinach). There won't be enough cheese for all the bread, but that's okay with me, since I like the taste of plain bread. After making the sandwiches, squeeze the bread to make it compact, then put it back in the plastic wrapper. Cheese should last at least 3 days even in the heat. This diet is not far from my normal, at-home diet and I would never grow tired of it.

    Another great combination, and better for the summer and also lightweight because of low water content, is instant rice and unsalted dry-roasted peanuts, in the ratio 3 to 1. For example, 18 oz rice to 6oz peanuts, or about 1.5 pounds/day. This combo lacks a few vitamins (C in particular) so supplement with a vitamin pill. You don't need to cook the rice. Just mix it with water and eat it right away, or let it sit if you don't like the crunchiness. Salted peanuts can become sickening in large quantities, which is why I prefer unsalted. For some people, even unsalted peanuts will be sickening at the rate of 8oz/day. I've eaten this combination for months on end (supplemented by other foods during town stops) without ever tiring of it.

    Instant rice, instant potatoes and corn tortillas are good non-cook starches for people who can't tolerate wheat bread. I find the texture of cold corn tortillas to be disgusting, but once I get them down my throat, they agree with me. I dislike instant potatoes because of all the sodium bisulfite added as a preservative.

    Obviously, there's a ton of other possibilities for non-cook foods. I've spent over 1000 nights camping over the past 12 years (at least 100 nights/year), including both the Applachian and Pacific Crest trails and never cooked once. If you WANT to cook, then by all means do so. But don't let anyone tell you you NEED to cook, regardless of the distance between town stops.

    Hello rodar y rodar, looks like we live nearby!
    Last edited by revelo; 02-03-12 at 01:41 AM. Reason: say hello to fellow Renoite!

  5. #5
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Have a look at this thread for links to many more threads about food.
    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...highlight=food

    Or do a search on "food".

    You'll discover that it's a frequently talked about topic here.

    But one tip ... go to your local grocery store and walk slowly up and down the aisles looking at all the food choices on the shelves. Of all of that, what would YOU like to bring with you?

  6. #6
    Senior Member Mardmakarm's Avatar
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    Bananas, sticky rice+fried meat, bread, crackers and some candies.
    Alfine 8(Thai forum but pics say thousand words,right?)

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    Kraft singles are not real cheese ! Prison food is better then that.

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    weirdo
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    Yeah, like some of the other guys said- cooking isn`t an absolute. I didn`t mean to give that impresion that it was, just got to thinking from my personal means and methods.

    Quote Originally Posted by revelo View Post
    Hello rodar y rodar, looks like we live nearby!
    Hi, R.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Thulsadoom's Avatar
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    There's a few foods I usually have with me in case I find myself in the middle of nowhere and can't find an open store. I almost always have a ziplock bag with some oatmeal in it. You can usually find some spaghetti tucked away in my bags somewhere(I carry a small tupperware container to put a little sauce in). I always have a few Clif bars. A bag of pretzels in my handlebar bag, and maybe a couple of banannas. Some bread or bagels smooshed in there. Otherwise I eat whatever I get from wherever I am, shops and restauraunts, which is pretty much anything and everything.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Another tip is to buy your dinner at lunchtime ... or much earlier in the day. Don't ever count on there being food available at the end of the day. Many small shops close up early in the afternoon, or as you found, aren't open at all on certain days.

    So when you stop at a shop for lunch, get what you will need for dinner and breakfast the next morning.

  11. #11
    Senior Member dude72's Avatar
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    emergency pack: dark chocolate (min. 60% cocoa), different sorts of nuts, and apple juice and water to mix an isotonic drink.

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    As someone who was once averse to stoves because of the weight and complication factor, let me recommend giving them a try. You will not regret it...

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    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doogle View Post
    I am "The" newbie with biking.And I am planning to try touring in mid March.Last week I did a practice ride.I rode 50 miles to a state park in southern California.It is in a desert area with few services around.I setup my tent and went to the park store.They are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.Well supper was my PBJ's and granola bars.The next morning (store still closed) I rode about 10 miles to a small store that had stale bread and 2 out of date foot long hot dogs.I rode 78 miles before I got to an open store.

    It was a good lesson.I don't want to carry a lot of food or cook.But it looks like I may need to reconsider.I'm sure I will go through similar situations.What are common food choices on the road?I can live on PBJ for a couple days if necessary.But I probably need to be doing what the experienced tourers are doing.
    Actually I don't see out of date bread or footlongs once in a while as all that much of a hardship. I have days like that at some point on most tours. I do make sure that I have enough of something so that I won't ever go hungry. I feast when I can get fresh stuff including salad makings and maybe even wine at or near dinner time, but don't mind having PBJs or ramen noodles and foil packed tuna a lot of the time.

  14. #14
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    I always carry a small, backpacking stove, a small cookset, some plastic cutlery, and a plastic plate (and a plastic, thermal mug and a coffee funnel.) I try to find a grocery store as close to my destination as possible, but will buy food early in the day and carry it if necessary. When you're planning your route, keep food shopping in mind. It's a good idea to get phone numbers and call ahead to make sure stores will be open. (Okay, I've only done that once in all these years, but it's probably a good idea.)

    I ran into a guy in Glacier N. P. who wasn't carrying a stove or cookwear. He had to get back onto his bike and ride to a "store" while I was sitting down, preparing my dinner. The stuff he came back with was pretty gross. It would be nice to carry less weight, but I'm sticking with what I do.

    I always carry some peanut butter, jam, and a loaf of bread. I have diabetes 2 so I can't just buy any snack. I eat PB&J almost every day. I've had PB&J sandwiches for dinner when I wanted to stop and camp before I'd bought food.

    I try to eat stuff I like, but will eat just about anything in a pinch (provided it fits my diabetic diet.) Quantity is the big thing; I have to eat a lot on bike tours.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    Actually I don't see out of date bread or footlongs once in a while as all that much of a hardship. I have days like that at some point on most tours.
    Oh man! Flashback to '09 in Olney, MT. Small store that had been mostly cleaned out of pre-made lunch items by early rising loggers and railroaders. GF has a cheeseburger that had probably been sitting in a heated cabinet since 7 a.m. I had a beer brat that looked like it had been soaking in a crockpot for a couple of days. We both had a good laugh and made the best of it.

    That was the first day of my first tour in a rural area in 9 years. Forgot how important it is to make sure you have at least something so that you don't go hungry. Riding from/ to home I am usually not more than 20 miles from a good food source.

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    I have toured with and without a stove. On the "without" trips (usually in places with great local cuisine), I can find myself far from a restaurant at least once so I carry some "iron rations" for emergency use. You need something which stores well and is not damaged by squishing. A can of sardines in oil and some pumperknickle bread will get you through a night without you going into calorie deficit. I'm sure there are parts of a military MRE that will work. You could survive on trail mix or other snacks but I prefer a more meal-like ration.
    Some people carry a minimal cook system for Just Add Water foods, basically a metal cup and alcohol or solid fuel stove. Using firewood is often not permitted but if you do, then you need a tiny fire made from small sticks.
    Cooking in bear country is another tale.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Doogle's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=revelo;13803244]Obviously, there's a ton of other possibilities for non-cook foods. I've spent over 1000 nights camping over the past 12 years (at least 100 nights/year), including both the Applachian and Pacific Crest trails and never cooked once. If you WANT to cook, then by all means do so. But don't let anyone tell you you NEED to cook, regardless of the distance between town stops.
    =================================================================

    Revelo,this sounds like what I would like to do.Emergency foods which don't need cooking.I am not a finicky eater.What ever is on the table is what I eat.On motorcycle trips I can almost forget to eat some days with no problem.But when pedalling I get a little light headed and semi sick feeling at times.At first I thought I was dehydrated.Last summer I was hospitalized over night for dehydration-another sport.But,even though it felt the same,I thought it was probably lack of food.I didn't like the hospital visit.So I stay hydrated.I have been mixing Vitalyte at a reduced rate,which takes the plastic taste out of the water.

    I think I will buy some of your foods and try them at home first.I would never have guessed Kraft Singles would stay good up to 3 days.

    Over 1000 nights camping and never cooked.Now that's music to my ears.Thanks.

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    Craft singles are petrolium based...that's not cheese......
    Everything should be as simple as possible...But not more so.---Albert Einstein

  19. #19
    The Rock Cycle eofelis's Avatar
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    We usually carry one or two Mountain House freeze dried meals as backup meals in case we don't find a meal elsewhere at dinner time. We carry some snacks too.

    We also tour with a backpacking stove. We have used MSR Dragonfly or Whisperlite stoves. For my last few backpack trips I used an Esbit tablet stove and it worked well for heating a bit of water for tea, oatmeal or a MH meal. Smaller and easier than an MSR stove, and only costs $10.
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  20. #20
    Banned. Bekologist's Avatar
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    ramen noodles, instant oatmeal, tea bags, candy like peanut m&Ms always in bag. Stuff to keep on hand in addition to your planned meals.

    i've done the 1 freezedried meal as backup too.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Compact, high calorie food is basic. Peanut butter, hard cheese, trailmix, Snicker bars. For bread, totillas, bagels and wheat thins travel well. All else as desired. Bottle or two of V-8/day when on long tours and iffy diet, especially in hot weather. Vegetables/minerals.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  22. #22
    Wild Horse Country revelo's Avatar
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    Just to clarify. Kraft singles are healthier than "real" cheese. Milk consists of fat, sugar (lactose), whey protein and casein protein. Traditionally, pastoral peoples have mostly been interested in the fat, which is hard to find in nature, whereas protein and carbs are readily available. The whey, which is the healthiest part of the milk, was usually fed to the dogs. The casein, which causes constipation and other problems, was kept because it makes the cheese solid. The lactose, which many people can't digest, is used by the bacteria that makes cheese.

    Kraft singles use extra whey protein, the healthy part of milk, to keep costs down. Protein powders also use whey protein, partly to save money and partly because it is healthier than casein. To replace the casein, Kraft singles use gummy vegetable substances, guar (from the locust bean) and caraageen (from seaweed). Many yogurts also use these vegetable substances to make them more solid. Kraft singles also include plain and skim milk, so they have more lactose than real cheese, and that is why I qualified by saying "if you can DIGEST". Most people of northern European ancestry can digest lactose as adults, at least in small quantities.

    Bottom line, Kraft singles have more and higher quality protein than real cheese, more carbs (which is good when you are exercising heavily), less fat. Kraft singles and similar store brand processed cheese products are NOT petroleum based. There are some ultra-cheap store brand processed cheese products which are based on soybean oil--these taste horrible and are probably unhealthy as well. Read the labels.

    If you are lactose-intolerant or want extra fat in your diet, then real cheese is better than Kraft singles.

  23. #23
    Wild Horse Country revelo's Avatar
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    Another comment to the Newbie: I STRONGLY recommend you get some OPsak's (available from the manufacturer at loksak.com, or from REI and other distributors) to store your foods, if you plan to camp in campgrounds or anywhere there are human-habituated rodents. Rodents have a very good sense of smell and can easily smell through regular plastic wrappers or dry sacks. If they smell food, they will then gnaw through to get to it. While eating your food, then may decide to defecate, leaving behind the germs for Hanta virus or Bubonic plague, both of which are very dangerous.

    Rodents are not such a problem in wilderness areas, since there they do not associate humans with food. On the contrary, they take one look at us and assume we are predators and so avoid us.
    Last edited by revelo; 02-04-12 at 10:07 AM. Reason: spelling

  24. #24
    Senior Member Doogle's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=revelo;13808370]Another comment to the Newbie: I STRONGLY recommend you get some OPsak's (available from the manufacturer at loksak.com, or from REI and other distributors) to store your foods, if you plan to camp in campgrounds or anywhere there are human-habituated rodents. Rodents have a very good sense of smell and can easily smell through regular plastic wrappers or dry sacks. If they smell food, they will then gnaw through to get to it. While eating your food, then may decide to defecate, leaving behind the germs for Hanta virus or Bubonic plague, both of which are very dangerous.

    ================================
    I read mixed reviews for OPsak's.I lean towards double ZipLocks.

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    I like rice crackers (or Wasa whole-rye crispbread) & hummus & Clif energy bars. All depends on weather, availability of good grocery stores etc. Quick-cooking oats might be good, I've eaten those uncooked (just soaked in water) & still OK. Read a book about sprouting that suggested making sprouted beans, alfalfa etc while traveling though I only did sprouting at home. Dried beans, alfalfa seeds etc are very light & the sprouts are nutritious & tasty. Athletic instant-drink powder can help supply a nice amount of calories with minimal weight.

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