Invisible Voices

a voice for the voiceless

Bike commuting food strategies


Dinner used to be my biggest meal of the day. Now the period from 8am until 2pm is my biggest meal of the day.

As a bike commuter, I eat a lot, and most of what I eat is while I’m at work. Fuel for the road. After doing Brendan Brazier’s “Thrive in 30” a few months back, I got back into the idea of a green smoothie in the mornings. I cheat, quite a bit, by using frozen everything. Frozen spinach, frozen fruit. And some Vega.

I’ve never been one for protein powders, and to be honest I doubt I have any real need of this one either. But I figure it might fill in some gaps, in an easy way. And it is pretty tasty.

Before I leave for work, I have half a cliff bar or half a Lara bar. The smoothie is the first thing I have when I get to work. A couple hours later I have some soy yogurt and some granola. A couple hours after that is lunch! I bring whatever leftovers I had on hand; lately this has been Vegan Yum Yum leftovers. And a couple hours after that I have an apple. Sometimes I have a little something extra, like a muffin or cookie if I have it on hand.

It is pretty routine, just the leftovers typically change, but it satisfies me, and it fills the gaping black hole that is my stomach. I work in an industrial park. There is a “cafe” nearby which has essentially nothing I would eat. A few miles further on and there are some fast food places that I’d do my best to avoid. A few more miles and I could find a fairly decent Thai restaurant, but the 10 minute bike ride (each way) has never seemed worth it. So it is my food or nothing. In emergencies I can get peanuts or a trail mix from the vending machine at work – somewhat miraculously, not only are trail mixes stocked in the vending machine at work, one of them is vegan!

My relationship to food has changed a lot since starting my bike commuting. I used to skip lunch. And breakfast. I’d maybe nibble on something here and there, but primarily I ate at dinner. Laziness was my motivation for the meal skipping; it was too much effort to bother gathering lunch items to bring to work. And it is true, there is something comforting in knowing that you don’t have to eat so often, that your body thinks it is normal, that if you have no access to vegan food you can just shrug it off and wait until later. Now, I sometimes feel like my hunger is in the drivers seat. I keep to my formulaic bring-to-work-food at least partially because it is a food formula I’m confident in. Being hungry and facing an hour bike ride is still something that I find daunting. Perhaps this will change after I have a chance to go on some long multi-week bike tours, and have a better understanding of what I can ask of my body, and how much are in reserves.

There are some changes I’d like to make; specifically to get away from the cliff/luna bars, and move to something home made. I’d also like to start making my own granola. The limiting factors, as ever, are time and motivation. The store-bought stuff is easy, it is convenient, and it is one less thing I have to think about or spend the time making.

Then again, considering that I bike commute, even though it more than doubles the amount of time my reverse-commute takes to drive, the quick and easy path isn’t my default. I do go out of my way to do the “right” thing, and processed packaged stuff has never seemed very right to me.

big scary feral kitten!

big scary feral kitten!


2 responses to “Bike commuting food strategies

  1. Mo October 4, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    There are some really simple granola recipes out there.
    Ina Garten has a granola bar recipe on Food All you’d have to do is replace the butter and honey.

    I need to get ahold of a tiffin. This is inspiring! I can’t believe you bike for an hour.

  2. Deb October 4, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    Thanks, I’ll have to check those recipes out! It will be a goal for this month – to make some granola or the granola bars (or both!).

    You know, sometimes I think about it, and I can’t believe I bike for an hour either! I remember the first day I did it, and how giddy I was. It was incredibly liberating to set out on my bike, and to realize that I could get to work without a car. Now it is my norm, and I love it. 🙂

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