What You Need for Self Supported Touring by Bicycle
Considerations - Food
It has been noted that knowledgable "All-You-Can-Eat" restaurants, when they see a group of cyclists coming, lock the doors and put up the CLOSED sign. This is not entirely true. Some have people posted several miles away in either direction to give advance warning.
What should you eat and how often?
Where to get your food
- Eat what you like.
- Eat before you are hungry.
- Restaurant or Cafe?
Cafes exist to provide you with a captive audience of locals who like to converse with anyone else there. Restaurants exist to provide isolated eating areas for those who don't want to cook, and charge extra for this environment. In any case, don't forget to get your water bottles filled with ice, and topped off with water.
- Grocery Store
Many groceries have a bakery and a deli - great for making your own size of sandwich. Add some chips and a beverage and have a picnic.
Fresh, warm bread in the morning is a treat.
- Convenience Store
If you carry a can opener and a large spoon, you can buy beans or veggies, and microwave them. Sit out by your bike and attract locals to talk to.
- Invited Guest
If it fits your schedule, being invited to dinner is one of the best things that can happen to you as you tour. In addition to the food, you get friendly conversation from interested people, and maybe some new friends. They can also tell you what is happening locally and places to ride or avoid.
- Roadside market
Fresh fruit at a reasonable price - just remember, forgetting that you packed juicy squashables can be memorable.
- Sporting Event
Generally, food you get here will probably revisit you in the next few hours, and may demand urgent attention.
- Try to have at least one water bottle more than you think you need. It may be useful for cleaning a wound, a sponge bath, sharing with another tourist, soaking the bandana around your neck, or if you misjudged the distance to the next water source.
- Tap water is usually good every place but a cemetery, where the 'locals' are not expected to drink it.
- Emergency Food
You should always carry enough food to get you through the next 24 hours if there is no place to provide it. You may also find yourself not able to ride for a while, through sickness or injury, and having something to eat will help. Granola bars, jerkey, or nuts can help fill this bill.
- A large meal takes longer to digest. Your body will give priority to digesting, and you will go slower for a while.
- Some small eating places, or homes into which you are invited, may not fully cook your meat. If a place looks questionable, go someplace else, or avoid eating meat. The 2am trots are no fun.
- Ready-made celo-wrapped sandwiches can be soggy, and unfresh.