In Praise of Bananas

July 18, 2014

What a marvelous food is the banana — sweet calories packaged in an easy-opening, biodegradable container.  Slather a whole bunch with peanut butter, wash it all down with a carton of milk, and it's all the fuel I need for a long day's bike ride.

Like the majority of the supermarket shopping public, I grew up thinking there was only one kind of banana. But my bicycle journeys have introduced me to the wonderful diversity of the banana. There are bananas that have a slight taste of orange, I swear. There is short stubby banana in Central America with a reddish peel. It's soft flesh tastes like pudding. I want one now ... but no grocery store that I know of carries it. I've eaten mature bananas in Thailand that were no bigger than my little finger, and one type of banana in Colombia that was so huge, I could barely finish one.

And for the frugal cyclist, they have the added bonus of being cheap (especially if you enjoy them extra ripe).

There are over a thousand varieties of bananas on this planet. Which means I need to do a lot more bicycle traveling ... with a handy jar of peanut butter packed in a pannier.

Photos by Willie Weir

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS is posted every other Friday. Willie Weir is a columnist for Adventure Cyclist magazine. His books, Travels with Willie and Spokesongs, will inspire you to hit the road, and might change the way you approach bicycle travel. He lives in Seattle with his wife Kat. You can read about their adventures at


peter pollard July 24, 2014, 9:21 AM

In india too they have different size of bananas in different state.Thanks for the sharing a lovely resource

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