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Adventure Blog

Food, Cycling, Adventure

Buzz Poole
09/25/2012 - 06:28
Cycling in Burgundy, via Adventure Center

I've made no secret of the fact that food is my favorite part of traveling. In truth it is one of my favorite things about life in general. Part of this relates directly to the pleasure I find in cooking. I don't mind spending hours in the kitchen; I'm happy to devote the time to tasks endeavored by prep cooks and sous chefs. For me, chopping and dicing is meditative. While I still get out to plenty of restaurants, I don't dine out of the house (or order in food) nearly as much as many New Yorkers. Obviously, you spend less money this way, eat healthier, and make the times you do let someone else do the cooking that much more special.

When traveling, however, eating out is the name of the game. I often prefer meals assembled from various market stalls and restaurants with more locals than tourists over high-end dining. I've never taken to the tactic of saving money during a trip by eating canned soup in a hostel kitchen. There are plenty of ways to eat on the cheap, or at the least not make every meal an extravagant affair, when traveling; plus, you don't see as much of a place when you're preparing your own meals. But even with this sort of approach to eating when on the road, the longer the trip the more you can start to feel a bit bloated. I mean, how can you not try a new type of empanada? Or a French pastry the likes of which you've never seen? When's the next time you'll be in Buenos Aires or Paris?

National Geographic's Intelligent Travel blog has put together a list of Bike Tours for Foodies, proving ample opportunities to explore local cuisines while burning calories as you go. A few of the itineraries are based in the hilly, moderate climates conducive to grape growing and wine production, including Virginia's Blue Ridge, California's Napa and Sonoma Valleys, Piedmont, Italy, and Burgundy, France. But even more interesting are some of the more surprising suggestions, like Turkey's Mediterranean coastline where "you will cycle through the citrus-perfumed countryside . . . exploring the seaside towns of Bodrum and Datca." Or how about Rajasthan? In this region of India "royal kitchens turned the preparation of food into an art form, cooking scarce meats with elaborate curries, dried fruits, and yogurt. Sleep in palaces and feast on some of India’s finest cuisine in towns such as Umaid Bhawan, Jodhpur, and Udaipur, sharing lonely roads with camel trains and shepherds en route."

All ten of these trips sound great, but they are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to exploring a region's food on two wheels. There are numerous itineraries across the globe that make sure you stay hungry while also getting a feel for how the locals eat and live. 

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