Cycling & Camping Kitchen
Food is one of the most important considerations when cycling, not only to give you enough energy, but also to make the experience enjoyable, food is a pleasure, especially on a long-distance tour. Being able to cook whilst on the road is crucial and to do this you need to be self-sufficient. This includes carrying stoves, fuel, water, forks, sharp knives, herbs, salt, teabags and of course a way to keep everything hygienic and clean up up after yourself (yes you still have to do the washing up!).
Cycling makes you hungry and we often joke that cycle tourers are a bit like hobbits... when it comes to food anyway...
Pippin: But what about breakfast?
Aragorn: You’ve already had it.
Pippin: We’ve had one, yes. But what about second breakfast?
Merry: Don’t think he knows about second breakfast, Pip.
Pippin: What about elevensies? Luncheon? Afternoon tea? Dinner? Supper? He knows about them, doesn’t he?
Many cyclists may simply see food as fuel and many (male) solo cyclists seem content to survive on banana sandwiches and dried noodles. At times you may have to, however with a bit more effort, some imagination and the right kit, you can eat a whole range of great food.
So what do we eat on the road? Well in Australia and NZ, where supermarkets are well stocked, something like this...
Breakfast – I have porridge with sugar, not salt. Porridge is magic, it gives you so much energy as it slowly releases. Also oats are quite cheap to buy.
Chris was eating cereal bars, but has now moved to having bread or toast (we have a little toasting grill thing) with peanut butter and chocolate spread (although not on the same slice!).
Lunch - Cheese and salami sandwiches were the order of the day pretty much without fail. However cheese struggles in the heat, so we have discovered that tinned tuna works well. We also have fruit, biscuits, fruit cake and rice crackers – depending on what’s available. We recently bought a thermos flask so that we could carry tea with us, to have at lunchtime.
Dinner – as you can imagine pasta and rice feature quite heavily on our evening menu, however I am a huge mash potato fan too, despite it taking longer to cook, it is comfort food in itself. So some of our meals include:
Sausage and mash, with onion and oxo gravy, sometime with apple, leek or carrot, often with brocolli on the side. This is my idea of heaven.
Penne Pasta with chicken breast, onion, leek, garlic and tomato sauce, with cheese on top. We also do another verison of this with tuna instead of chicken.
Chicken, leeks, carrot and onion with rice and a chicken stock cube (like a risotto but without the white wine, cream and parmesan!).
Stir fried Pork: with carrots, peppers, cabbage, leeks, onion, brocolli (or a combination of some those veg) stir fried with a honey and soy sauce. Served with rice or noodles. Yum!
Cornbeef Hash with baked beans, very good although challenging to cook and serve hot – by the time you’ve mashed and mixed the corn beef in, it has cooled down alot, re-heating results in it sticking to the pan. But still good even luke warm, especially if you’re ravenous.
Chris’s special pasta with salami, paprika, tomatoes and whatever veg we have. Cheese on top.
Sweet and sour pork with rice, sauce in a jar is bought, whatever veges we have get thrown in.
Beef stew – takes a while to cook – beef, onions, carrots, leeks, potatoes, oxo cube.
We also carry packet soup and noodles as emergency food. During the day we have dried apricots, mini mars bars, bananas or choc chip cookies in our bar bags that we can eat when our sugar levels drop. Fruit cake is also great as a snack to keep you going. We carry tea bags, powdered milk and sugar too, plus little camera film pots of salt, pepper, herbs, stock cubes etc.
Kitchen Kit we carry to cook all this
We have 2 pressure stoves with us, both run off petrol (or any fuel), one is quiet but very hot – so great for boiling water for a brew, but it’s easy to burn things with this one; the other is noisy but has an adjustable flame setting allowing you to simmer and we generally cook more with this one. We have two stainless pans and one lid for cooking with, and a small titanium kettle which is very lightweight and handy. Australia has lots of free BBQs in parks and public spaces, so you can cook other things too.
We have a folding kitchen utensils ‘bag’ which we made to hold eveything, this includes a wooden spoon, a pen knife, a potato peeler, sporks, metal spoon, fork and knife set, swiss army knife, washing up liquid and a lighter – everything has it’s own place to slot into. The joy of this is that you can see when something is missing and therefore avoid leaving a potato peeler behind on the side of a hill whilst cooking in the dark! The whole thing then folds up and fits neatly into a pannier.
We have plates that have collapsable sides doubling up as bowls, and the back can be used as a chopping board. We have cups based on the same design.
These are great space savers, durable and easy to clean.
We carry a folding, washing up bowl which is a great investment and one item that we can definitely recommend. We also have a couple of scourers and have cut up a trek hand towel, to make a tea towel ( and two face cloths).
Water is one of our main priorities of course, for cooking, drinking and cleaning. We have three 4 litre water bladders and one 10 ltr bladder, plus chlorine tablets, iodine tablets and a ceramic water pump which allows us to filter the water and ensure that it is safe to drink.
It probably all sounds like a lot of stuff to carry, but when you are on the road for 15 months, you need to eat properly and for us, this trip is not about suffering, we want to enjoy our meals as much as our cycling!
If you are planning a trip and don’t want to eat the same thing for days on end, have a look at The Hungry Cyclist – Tom Kevill Davies for some recipes ideas and all things to do with eating whilst on the road…
“I love riding my bicycle and I love to eat. It really is that simple. As a journalist, author and photographer I enjoy writing about and photography almost as much as eating and cycling, which basically means, I bicycle to wherever I can find good, well prepared, locally produced, fresh and traditional food before eating it and writing about it. ”