Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Great Fooding

Waiting in line at the grocery store, I look at the array of candies and chocolates that is always at the cashier’s. Hesitantly, I pick a bag of chocolate and place it on the conveyer belt, hold it there for a few seconds while contorting my face into all sorts of well-meaning expressions, then put it back.

“Nice self-control,” says the cashier.

I look up at him and reply, “Actually, I’m going to get ice cream instead. It’s more calorie dense.”

- - -

Next to, Are you going to bike across the oceans? one of the most common questions I get is, What do you eat?

When on a bicycle tour, one basically becomes a vacuum that consumes everything in his or her path. With a fully loaded bicycle, the average touring cyclist might burn around 55 calories per mile. Let’s say you average 12 mph and pedal for 6 hours a day, so that’s 72 miles a day. That means you’re burning about 4,000 calories from biking alone. There’s the additional 2,000 calories the average human burns just by being alive (assuming you don’t just lie on the couch all day… *cough* America), so let’s say the average cycle tourist needs to consume about 6,000 calories a day.

You can see why it’s important to consume calorie-dense foods - eat something “healthy” like Cheerios that only has 100 calories per 1 cup serving and you need 60 servings, or 5 entire boxes to make sure the pedals keep turning. Eat something a less less “healthy:” peanut butter, which has 200 calories per 2 T serving, and you only need 30 servings, or 2 containers.

Of course, while eating straight peanut butter is cheaper than eating straight Cheerios, variety is still necessary (and nice). Here are the results of my first trip to the grocery store:

I would later recall the benefits of Nutella (it tastes good) and add that to my daily food regimen. The green bags are dried soup -- again, calorie dense, but lightweight.

So, calories are one food group for the touring cyclist. The other? Salt. It’s funny how our bodies adjust our enjoyment of food so what is needed tastes good at the time -- anybody else who eats fries with me on tour probably thinks I’m disgusting. But after biking 30 miles I swear fries taste like nothing unless they have a least an entire salt packet or two emptied on them.

What do I eat on tour?

Whatever I want. But also… whatever I need.

I made it from Minneapolis to Madison and am spending the week here with friends. Expect another post soon - likely Thursday, 4/20/17. We’re just getting warmed up.

1 comment:

  1. It must be an interesting challenge and learning experience to balance calorie-dense with weight. Interesting insights into long distance bike touring. Love you.