This is a shameless attempt to save the the most advanced civilization in
history from imminent self destruction by eliminating carbon emission,
dependence on foreign sources of fuel,obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Cycling accomplishes all those things at once and helps us develop a better
understanding of ourselves, each other and our relationship to the cosmos.

Oh, horse puckey!
I like to ride bikes, have been doing it all my life.
The rest of that crap is just a fringe benefit,
and the blogosphere gives me a chance to share my interior
monologue with virtual rather than imaginary friends.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

In the kitchen

   Traveling by bike provides a different opportunity for eating than either traveling by car, common carrier or backpacking.   Traveling by car, train or plane, one is pretty much stuck with eating in restaurants.   Only a few hotels offer the opportunity for real cooking, and you are pretty much left with microwave convenience meals (if an oven is provided) the crappy buffet in the lobby for breakfast or restaurants.  Unfortunately most people look for more affordable meals and end up with fast food and an occasional "treat meal" from a local bistro.   If you are backpacking you become limited to whatever you can carry and eat cold or warmed on a camp stove.  
     Traveling by bike you have options.  This past weekend, I used them.  When I arrived at my campsite on Friday evening, I took a ride into nearby South Haven to relax and have dinner at Clementines, a 3 star restaurant and bar downtown.

Having a fine dinner and conversation at the bar was a fitting reward for the trip, and well worth the time and money.  After a cruise around to look at the sites and people watch, I was ready to relax around a campfire and went back to share a couple of drinks with Jason and trade stories.
The following day I cooked my morning and evening meals at the campsite.
This is the kitchen.
While looking pretty spartan to the uninitiated, it is really pretty sophisticated stuff.
From the right hand corner you will see a plastic bag which holds one or two SOS pads, I've found that is all I need for cleanup with hot water.  Above to the left is one stainless steel plate, coffee grounds (I'm a coffee snob and carry them where I go), an individual coffee press, a two burner stove on which is a small pot with a pan.  I chose copper clad stainless steel, both for durability and heat conduction.  They are light enough although there are aluminum and titanium options out there for spendthrift weight weenies.  The pot and pans fit together to double as lids for each other and have folding handles so they fit neatly into a pannier or backpack.  I carry that one blue, folding "spork" and the (ever present) Victorinox survival knife (the one with a corkscrew of course).   This is the kitchen when I am traveling alone.  If I had company, I would bring  another plate, spork and use a larger pot and pan from the set of cookware.
Most backpackers find this extravagant.  Single burner stoves are popular for them to warm water for freeze dried meals, and most eat right from the pot to avoid a plate.  Since I have a machine to carry the weight, hell why not splurge and act civilized?
Now on my way back from town Friday night, I stopped at the local grocery and picked up the food I would need for the following day.  I chose some frozen breakfast sausage and eggs with hash browns for breakfast and the ingredients for a stove top casserole for dinner.  The frozen foods come precooked and stay cold enough to be safe overnight, but are easy to heat in the morning.
After boiling some water (which serves to sanitize the cookware before using), I made my coffee, warmed my breakfast and still had hot water to use for cleaning after.
My lunch on Saturday was taken on the run, at a local restaurant and dinner was a stove top casserole.
I've learned over the years to combine a number of different ingredients to make a simple casserole.
For those without the experience, I present to you this nifty chart from
 "The College Students Guide to Eating Well."
It's a simple and delicious way to make a dinner.  Just mix and match one ingredient from each list to create over a hundred great meals.  The recipe makes four servings  of about 215 calories, so you can experiment with the portion size.   A cyclist traveling with 35lbs of gear is probably going to want more!
That's pretty much the routine.  It's another advantage to traveling on two wheels.  You can have variety when you want without being a slave to the fast food market, carrying your food or being subjected to the constant barrage of  70-80% profit margins in restaurants.


  1. I'm going to be riding in the area in a couple weeks. Any good bike campsite recommendations near Grand Rapids, Holland or Bangor?

  2. Grand Rapids is really tough when it comes to a campsite. You have to go north of the city to Newaygo or west to Muskegon to find a state park.
    Holland has a state park on the lake also.
    Bangor is not that far from the Kal-Haven trail which has the campsite near South Haven where I stayed last weekend.
    There is also the Van Buren State Park which is south of South Haven. Other than that, there are some commercial campgrounds (trailer parks) around the area.
    I hope that helps.

  3. Ugh, I think my plan has caved in because of Amtrak's policy towards non-folding bikes. Do you know of any other way to get a person and a bike from Chicago to Kalamazoo ?

  4. Only riding or driving. Amtrak said they plan to upgrade some cafe cars to have roll on service in the future, but that will take a while.