In some parts of the world, it’s difficult to find fresh fruit and vegetables. When traveling in rural parts of the United States, gas stations and roadside diners become the main source of nourishment. You can expect hot dogs, burgers, ice cream, and chips, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a bag of baby carrots.
As a hard-pedaling traveler, you’ll be ravenous. But your body needs a balanced diet to keep you cycling strong: plenty of carbs to fuel your workout, protein to aid in muscle recovery and growth, and healthy fats to reduce inflammation and help absorb nutrients.
Try to incorporate fresh foods into your daily menu and feed yourself small, carbohydrate-based snacks every hour or so while cycling. This can be fresh fruit, chickpeas, crackers, chips, or energy bars with oats, buckwheat, or quinoa.
As with water, it’s better to have too much food than too little. Keep a couple of spare protein bars or other energy-packed snacks tucked away in case you run out of other food sources.
Some cyclists stock up on fresh foods and carry them for a few days, eating them as they ripen. The trick is to store them deeply in a pannier, away from direct sunlight, and not to wash them until you’re ready to eat, as washing speeds up spoilage.
Foods like avocados, tomatoes, and bananas should be purchased before they’re ripe unless you want to eat them immediately. Ripe foods can spoil quickly in a pannier.
Here’s a list of some of the toughest fresh foods for your panniers.