Bike. Camp. Cook: An Interview With A Bike-Touring, Food-Loving Author

During our bike touring adventures, two of the people we communicated most with were Tara and Tyler – another couple also going around the world at roughly the same time.


This is a great cookbook if you want to learn how to eat well while bike touring.

We’ve yet to meet them in person but always kept in touch and helped each other out with information as we travelled. One of the things that impressed us most about their trip was the inventive and delicious food that Tara would cook on tour, so we weren’t at all surprised when she published a bike touring cookbook after arriving home.

Bike. Camp. Cook. is a gem of a book – full of easy, inspiring recipes, clear instructions and beautiful photographs. If you like to cook and are embarking on a bike tour, we highly recommend it.

Recently we caught up with Tara and asked her to tell us more about her love of cooking and cycling.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you come to write this cookbook? What inspired it?

I am a writer and photographer living on fledgling homestead in the Green Mountain National Forest of Vermont.

A few years ago, my partner Tyler and I embarked on a two-year, mostly-bicycle-powered tour across Europe, parts of Northern Africa, and Asia. Prior to this adventure, I’d camped only a handful of times, and had never ridden a bike more than a few miles.

I was, however, an accomplished cook, baker, and avid foodie. While we were on the road, I prepared real meals for us nearly every day. For me, cooking was a way of connecting with the places we traveled: we frequently stopped at local markets, and I tried to use local, seasonal ingredients in all of my dishes.

The idea for the cookbook came early on. A few months into the trip, I’d finally gotten the hang of cooking on the road, and it seemed like the people we met were impressed by it. What I considered to be normal activities—whipping up dumplings for homemade soup, or making jam with foraged fruit, for instance—were actually fairly unusual.


Tara picking wild garlic.

Since I was not a cyclist, camper, or outdoorswoman when we left, I didn’t really have a sense of how other people ate on tour. I didn’t realize that folks subsisted on oatmeal, peanut butter, bananas, and bread. I knew nothing of those just-add-water packets either!

So, bolstered by folks’ interest in my culinary adventures, and inspired to share all the tricks and techniques I’d learned, I began writing the cookbook in earnest after finishing our trip.

2. You say the book is the “hungry cycle tourist’s guide to slowing down, eating well, and savouring life on the open road”. Why is it so important to slow down and eat well? Plenty of bike tourists cover 100km a day and survive on peanut butter sandwiches.

I know that many people feel a deep sense of accomplishment when riding long distances on tour. There is nothing bad or wrong with this, but do I think it is important to recognise the tradeoffs that follow this style of travel.

You captured my objection right in your question, saying, “Plenty of bike tourists cover 100km a day and survive on peanut butter sandwiches.” The key word there is ‘survive’. For me, the idea of bare survival on tour is not appealing.

I love riding, but you will never find me pushing to go further for the sake of mileage—that’s the antithesis of everything I love about bike touring. If I couldn’t stop regularly to interact with the people and landscape I’m passing through, I wouldn’t bother going at all.

Tara exploring local markets during a bike tour.

Tara exploring local markets during a bike tour.

I know some find their passion in the riding itself, but I do not. I believe something very special is lost when we go too quickly and don’t take time to really be in a place.

To go on a little tangent, I think the most rewarding thing about writing this book has been receiving emails from folks who’ve used it on tour. Often, they’re single guys who rack up a TON of kilometers, and have, historically, eaten really poorly. They proudly send me pictures of their latest adventures with my recipes, and I beam with pride. My secret wish is to convert all the bread-and-banana-eating-speed-demons into slow-pedaling gourmands. Ha!

3. Were you always a good cook, or does this book represent an evolution in your culinary skills? Could anyone cook the recipes in this book, even if they’re not a natural chef?

I’ve been cooking as long as I can remember, and have worked at a handful of bakeries. So no, this book does not represent an evolution in my culinary skills. That being said, this book is wonderful for those who don’t consider themselves to be natural cooks, or even those who don’t know how to cook at all!

When I was writing the book, my husband Tyler would edit it and do the recipe testing, pretending like he didn’t know a thing about cooking. He is actually great in the kitchen, but he’d force me to address issues I’d taken for granted. “What is a “roux”?” he’d ask. “How do you cut an avocado?”

He’d question everything to the point where I would get exasperated and say, “But EVERYONE knows how to cut an avocado!!” And of course, Tyler’s point was that not everyone knows about food. So, I’d re-write the recipe and make it more accessible for folks who have never cooked before.

Tara wild camping and rolling out dough for dinner.

Tara wild camping and rolling out dough for dinner.

4. You highlight many foods, spices and tools in the book. If you could narrow it down to a list of Top 5 things you couldn’t do without, what would those be?

  1. The spice bag. I carry an ample number of spices along with me, each in their own little baggie, then stored in a larger plastic bag. With my spice bag at hand, I’m able to transform any strange ingredient I find into something palatable. I’m also able to add local spices to my collection as we travel.
  2. A non-stick pot & pan. I use them for everything, and they make cleaning a breeze. I once tried switching to stainless steel for a month or two, and washing dishes suddenly became a horrible nightmare. To make cooking on the road a worthwhile adventure, you really need to use non-stick.
  3. My camp stove. I cook everything over the rugged MSR Whisperlite. It gets crazy hot and it sure is noisy, but it’s the main workhorse in my camping kit.
  4. Collapsible dishes. Sea to Summit makes a great set of collapsible silicone dishes. What I love about them is that the bottom of the bowl or plate doubles as a cutting board. Since I don’t generally have any kind of flat surface in my camp kitchen (no counter, picnic table, etc.), I rely on the hard surface for food preparation.
  5. A wooden spoon. I used to have a fancy set of camp cooking utensils, but they melted in the pan the first time I tried to use them with oil. You cannot go wrong with a simple wooden spoon! I bought mine at a grocery store years ago, and it’s still as sturdy as ever.

5. Can you share a favourite recipe with us?

Absolutely! Here’s my recipe for a simple but super-tasty granola you can make on the road:

This crunchy, caramelised, camp-friendly granola is extremely tasty, and far more exciting than its humble list of ingredients would seem to indicate. For more substance, add four tablespoons of nuts along with the oats and raisins. If you want to make more granola than the recipe calls for, make it in separate batches.

Cinnamon Raisin Granola (prep & cook time: 10 minutes; makes 1 cup)

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
A pinch of salt
12 tablespoons (3⁄4 cup) rolled oats
4 tablespoons (1⁄4 cup) raisins

First, get your ingredients ready: measure the butter, sugar, cinnamon, and salt into your large cooking pot.

-Measure the oats and raisins into a bowl and set aside.

-Now, get cooking: prime and light your stove, turning it to a low setting. Holding your pot an inch or two above the flame, stir the mixture together for a minute, or until it is completely melted and very bubbly.

-Dump in the oats and raisins, and stir continuously for about two minutes, or until the oats smell very toasted.

-Remove the pan from the heat—the granola will still look a bit damp at this point, but it will get crispier as it cools.

-Once cool, enjoy the granola with or without milk, or store it in a container to snack on later.

Tara’s Bike. Camp. Cook. cookbook is available from her website.


  1. Orest
    13th May 2015 at 10:20 pm #

    That is exactly what we were planning right now for our bike trip. Thank you very much!

    • Tara
      31st July 2015 at 5:32 pm #

      Hi Orest,

      You’re welcome! 🙂

  2. Tara Kenny
    13th May 2015 at 10:31 pm #

    LOOOOVE this cookbook. I am not the cook on the road, that’s my husbands job 🙂 The brown butter crepes and homemade tortillas are a huge staples for us (our hydroflask water bottles make fantastic rolling pins). We have a hard copy of the book at home (we make the meals at home often too), and keep a PDF copy on the computer and on our kindles as well. Plus your blog is super inspiring. Thanks many times over!

    • Tara
      31st July 2015 at 5:33 pm #

      Thanks so much, Tara! I’m so happy you love the crepes and tortillas!

  3. Brad
    12th June 2015 at 4:21 pm #

    I will get this book and use it to learn how to cook for our cycling week in the mountains this September. Look out, fellas! Thanks for thinking of us Tara and Tyler! I will then use these cooking skills to feed myself well, as well as I can, on my cross the USA trip!! I was NOT looking forward to peanut butter and water. One question: Do you keep any perishables onboard and how, or do you go fresh at markets?


    • Sam
      12th July 2015 at 6:21 am #

      Hi Brad, I hope Tara replies because I’m interested in reading her techniques, but my wife and I have toured quite a bit include in northern Japan. We try to eat as much fresh fruits and veggies as we can.

      Whenever possible we buy fresh; this is often part of our lunch stop #2 (early afternoon) or whenever we pass through a town or city. What we buy, how long it lasts and how we store and carry it really depends on what “it” is. Things like apples and cheese are more durable and last longer so we can buy more than a single day’s supply if needed. Other, more fragile and perishable stuff like spinach, bananas, eggs, milk etc we buy the smallest quantity we can find and plan to use it up between dinner and the next day’s breakfast.

      The question of perishables is also weather dependent…on cooler rides we can pack enough insulation around these items to preserve them for a day or more; when it’s warmer we plan on consuming them at the next meal.

      We carry a couple of cheap plastic containers (Glad brand are good) that weigh almost nothing and can be used to protect fragile items like eggs as well as leftovers that will be eaten at the next meal.

      I haven’t read the book yet but that’s the very next thing on my list of ‘to-do’s’!

      Good luck!

      • Tara
        31st July 2015 at 5:37 pm #

        Hi Sam, we do much the same as you when buying/thinking about/packing perishables. I talk all about food purchasing, storage, and perishables in my book. 🙂 Happy bike camp cooking!

    • Tara
      31st July 2015 at 5:35 pm #

      Hi Brad, I hope you’re enjoying learning new cooking skills! I’d love to hear how your bike tour goes. As I’m sure you’ve discovered by now, how I deal with perishables is talked about in great detail in my book. 🙂

  4. Terri
    6th September 2015 at 1:16 pm #

    Great article – Tara shares my attitude – about not going too quickly and taking the time to really be IN a place – I’m planning to set out on my long trip next Spring and I’ll get this book for definite…

  5. John
    16th March 2016 at 4:13 pm #

    Wonderful! I loved reading this post. I, too, enjoy bike touring and eating well- the two seem to go naturally together.

  6. Manu Khandelwal
    12th September 2016 at 8:11 am #

    Great one! i love bike and cycle riding. And if these trips are to be done on mountains then the experience become more amazing.

  7. golden goose
    28th June 2022 at 10:54 pm #

    I needed to draft you one tiny note to say thanks a lot again for your marvelous advice you’ve contributed on this site. This is really remarkably open-handed of you to offer publicly all that a few people could have distributed for an ebook in order to make some dough for their own end, certainly considering the fact that you could possibly have done it if you ever desired. These tricks additionally served as a easy way to know that other individuals have similar passion like my very own to grasp a great deal more with regard to this issue. I know there are some more fun occasions ahead for individuals that go through your site.

  8. kawhi leonard shoes
    14th July 2022 at 12:13 pm #

    I must voice my affection for your kindness in support of visitors who need assistance with this important field. Your personal dedication to getting the message all over became extraordinarily insightful and has always allowed others like me to arrive at their goals. Your informative report indicates a great deal to me and still more to my office workers. Many thanks; from all of us.

  9. kobe shoes
    14th July 2022 at 12:14 pm #

    I really wanted to write a small message so as to thank you for the marvelous points you are placing here. My time intensive internet look up has finally been paid with pleasant content to go over with my close friends. I ‘d claim that we readers are unequivocally blessed to dwell in a magnificent place with so many outstanding individuals with great concepts. I feel rather privileged to have seen the web site and look forward to so many more fabulous times reading here. Thanks once more for everything.

  10. yeezy shoes
    28th July 2022 at 9:23 am #

    I am also commenting to let you understand of the outstanding encounter my wife’s girl had reading through your site. She even learned several pieces, which include what it’s like to have an awesome teaching mindset to have other folks effortlessly fully understand specified extremely tough topics. You really did more than her expectations. I appreciate you for showing the warm and friendly, healthy, informative and as well as unique guidance on the topic to Kate.

  11. yeezy 500 blush
    28th July 2022 at 9:25 am #

    I simply needed to say thanks once again. I am not sure the things that I would’ve sorted out in the absence of the actual creative concepts revealed by you regarding that subject matter. It absolutely was the fearsome circumstance in my view, however , understanding your specialized mode you dealt with that took me to leap for fulfillment. I am happier for your work as well as hope you know what a great job you are undertaking teaching men and women thru your blog. I’m certain you have never met all of us.

  12. kyrie 5
    2nd August 2022 at 10:06 pm #

    I just wanted to post a brief note to be able to thank you for these fabulous ways you are showing here. My considerable internet look up has at the end been paid with brilliant points to write about with my partners. I would assume that most of us readers actually are truly lucky to be in a great place with many awesome professionals with useful suggestions. I feel quite privileged to have seen your webpage and look forward to many more entertaining minutes reading here. Thanks again for all the details.

  13. supreme clothing
    14th August 2022 at 8:59 pm #

    I must convey my appreciation for your kindness giving support to those who need help on that concept. Your real commitment to getting the solution across has been amazingly practical and has always enabled men and women like me to arrive at their objectives. Your warm and helpful tips and hints indicates a whole lot to me and a whole lot more to my colleagues. Many thanks; from everyone of us.

  14. cheap paul george shoes
    21st August 2022 at 8:35 pm #

    Needed to post you that tiny observation to finally give thanks as before regarding the wonderful guidelines you’ve shown at this time. It has been really surprisingly open-handed of you to provide unreservedly exactly what a lot of folks could have sold as an e-book to get some dough on their own, mostly considering that you could possibly have tried it if you wanted. These thoughts also acted like the great way to fully grasp that the rest have a similar keenness really like my very own to grasp way more when considering this problem. Certainly there are millions of more pleasant occasions in the future for folks who check out your site.

  15. ggdb
    21st August 2022 at 8:35 pm #

    I want to get across my affection for your kind-heartedness for women who really want assistance with this particular matter. Your very own commitment to getting the message all-around ended up being extraordinarily valuable and have truly helped girls much like me to reach their targets. Your amazing interesting suggestions indicates a great deal to me and further more to my office workers. Regards; from everyone of us.

  16. link
    9th October 2022 at 11:25 am #

    I really enjoy the blog.Much thanks again. Great.

  17. Sliding Doors USA
    1st November 2022 at 2:13 pm #

    Major thankies for the article. Awesome.

  18. Fishing License Online
    14th November 2022 at 11:34 am #

    Thanks for the blog.Much thanks again. Cool.

  19. indian fabric shop
    26th December 2022 at 11:20 am #

    The things i have observed in terms of computer system memory is that there are requirements such as SDRAM, DDR and so on, that must fit in with the technical specs of the mother board. If the personal computer’s motherboard is very current while there are no main system issues, replacing the ram literally takes under one hour. It’s one of several easiest personal computer upgrade treatments one can imagine. Thanks for revealing your ideas.

  20. mp3juice
    31st December 2022 at 6:29 pm #

    Can I simply just say what a comfort to find someone who really knows what they’re discussing online. You certainly understand how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More and more people must look at this and understand this side of your story. I can’t believe you are not more popular since you surely have the gift.

    21st April 2023 at 3:11 pm #

    }Fashion doesn’t have to be confusing. It may seem overwhelming sometimes, especially when other people seem to be so ahead of you. Everyone is different and so is how they express their fashion sense. Remember the tips you’ve read here as you learn more about fashion.

  22. supreme
    12th May 2023 at 3:51 am #

    I must get across my gratitude for your kind-heartedness supporting persons that actually need help with this particular theme. Your real dedication to passing the solution up and down had become wonderfully beneficial and has consistently allowed ladies much like me to get to their goals. The useful report can mean a lot to me and even more to my fellow workers. With thanks; from everyone of us.

  23. leadership podcasts
    13th May 2023 at 10:46 am #

    It’s something new. Just remarkable!

  24. güncel haberler
    21st May 2023 at 11:53 pm #

    Türkiye ve dünyadan son dakika haberleri, en son haberler, gazete manşetleri ve köşe yazarları, il il namaz vakitleri; yerel haber, siyaset, spor haberleri için tıkla

  25. bape outlet
    22nd May 2023 at 10:45 pm #

    I simply wanted to appreciate you once more. I do not know the things I would’ve created without the tricks provided by you over my area. It had become the horrifying dilemma in my view, but viewing a specialised form you dealt with the issue took me to jump for gladness. Now i am thankful for the support and as well , hope you really know what a powerful job you’re putting in instructing others all through a site. More than likely you have never met all of us.

  26. golden goose francy
    23rd May 2023 at 5:11 am #

    I have to express my affection for your generosity supporting visitors who need help on in this subject. Your personal dedication to getting the message all through appeared to be rather effective and has surely helped guys just like me to reach their goals. Your own useful hints and tips means so much to me and far more to my mates. Thank you; from each one of us.

  27. off white nike
    30th May 2023 at 11:46 am #

    I simply wished to thank you so much yet again. I’m not certain the things that I would have undertaken without the actual tricks contributed by you on that concern. Certainly was the frustrating scenario in my view, but understanding a specialised mode you solved the issue made me to leap over contentment. Now i am happy for this information and thus trust you realize what a powerful job that you’re carrying out instructing most people by way of your site. Most probably you have never come across any of us.

  28. yeezy
    11th June 2023 at 11:30 am #

    I am just commenting to let you understand what a terrific experience our child obtained viewing the blog. She mastered many issues, including what it is like to have an awesome coaching style to make many others with no trouble fully grasp chosen complicated subject areas. You undoubtedly did more than people’s expectations. Thank you for providing the helpful, trusted, educational and even fun thoughts on the topic to Lizeth.

  29. giannis antetokounmpo shoes
    16th June 2023 at 1:49 am #

    I precisely had to appreciate you once again. I’m not certain the things I would have implemented without the information documented by you about that area. Entirely was a challenging difficulty for me, nevertheless considering a specialized tactic you handled that made me to weep for happiness. I am just thankful for the support and even pray you know what a great job you’re undertaking teaching others thru your websites. I know that you haven’t encountered all of us.

  30. devamı
    18th June 2023 at 12:56 am #

    Hurda bakır alan istanbul hurdacı firması olarak her türlü madeni değerinde alıyoruz. Şimdi arayın. İstanbul hurdacı firmasıyız. İletişime geçin.

  31. longchamp
    28th June 2023 at 1:40 pm #

    This site is really a stroll-through for all the information you needed about this and didn抰 know who to ask. Glimpse right here, and you抣l positively uncover it.

  32. en yakın hurdacı
    25th July 2023 at 7:14 am #

    Hurdacı firması seçerken dikkat edilmesi gereken en önemli kriterlerden biri de güvenilirlik. Bu konuda da, adresindeki firma, müşteri memnuniyeti odaklı çalışmalarıyla güvenilirliğini kanıtlıyor.

  33. hurdacı istanbul
    5th August 2023 at 12:53 am #

    Esenyurt Esenyurt hurdacı firmasıyız. Esenyurt hurda fiyatları ile yerinden hurda alan istanbul Esenyurt en yakın hurdacı firmasıyız..

  34. Naoma Redfield
    22nd August 2023 at 3:34 am #

    You would certainly be in awe of exactly how great this is at what it does!

  35. hurdacı istanbul
    3rd September 2023 at 1:10 am #

    İstanbul’daki en güvenilir hurdacılar. İşlerini dürüstçe yapıyorlar ve her zaman randevularına sadık kalıyorlar. HURDACI

  36. Contact Me Code
    3rd September 2023 at 3:27 pm #

    For all your home and also family members requires!

  37. avrupa yakası hurdacı fiyatları
    4th September 2023 at 3:26 am #

    İstanbul’daki en güvenilir hurdacı firmalarından biri. Hızlı geri dönüşüm hizmeti sayesinde çevreye katkıda bulunuyorlar. AVRUPA YAKASI HURDACI

  38. hurdacı
    5th September 2023 at 11:17 pm #

    Hurdacı firma, eski eşyalarımı geri dönüştürmek istediğimde her zaman ilk tercihim. Hem hızlılar hem de fiyatları uygun. BAŞAKŞEHİR HURDACI

  39. en yakın hurdacı
    13th September 2023 at 1:44 am #

    Adresten hurda alımı yapan hurdacı

  40. kd 15
    16th September 2023 at 8:09 am #

    I抎 must check with you here. Which isn’t one thing I usually do! I take pleasure in studying a put up that will make individuals think. Additionally, thanks for allowing me to remark!

  41. camiseta miami heat 2021
    19th September 2023 at 7:03 am #

    |When wearing sheer clothes, make sure the sheer parts are in the right areas. Make sure that you remain classy at all times, and cover your private areas.

  42. supreme
    14th October 2023 at 9:12 am #

    Would you be desirous about exchanging hyperlinks?

  43. gap yeezy
    15th October 2023 at 11:24 pm #

    This site is known as a walk-via for the entire data you needed about this and didn抰 know who to ask. Glimpse here, and also you抣l undoubtedly uncover it.

  44. yeezy gap hoodie
    28th October 2023 at 8:42 pm #

    Would you be involved in exchanging hyperlinks?

  45. kyrie 9
    5th November 2023 at 9:38 pm #

    It抯 laborious to search out educated individuals on this topic, however you sound like you recognize what you抮e talking about! Thanks

  46. supreme clothing
    13th November 2023 at 8:24 pm #

    I precisely had to say thanks again. I am not sure the things that I would have carried out in the absence of the type of smart ideas discussed by you on this concern. Certainly was a real traumatic setting in my position, but viewing a specialised mode you managed the issue made me to weep with fulfillment. I am just happy for this support and have high hopes you comprehend what an amazing job your are carrying out instructing many people through a web site. I am certain you have never encountered any of us.

  47. curry 9
    14th November 2023 at 5:19 pm #

    Thank you a lot for giving everyone a very breathtaking opportunity to read from here. It really is so amazing and jam-packed with amusement for me personally and my office friends to search the blog particularly thrice a week to learn the latest guides you will have. And indeed, we are actually fulfilled concerning the dazzling points you give. Some 3 facts on this page are basically the most efficient we’ve ever had.

  48. kd shoes
    26th November 2023 at 8:13 am #

    My wife and i ended up being now comfortable Chris managed to complete his basic research by way of the precious recommendations he made while using the web site. It is now and again perplexing just to continually be handing out tricks that other people may have been selling. And now we already know we now have the writer to appreciate because of that. The entire illustrations you’ve made, the straightforward website navigation, the relationships you will aid to promote – it’s got mostly sensational, and it’s really helping our son in addition to our family imagine that this idea is brilliant, and that is extremely essential. Thanks for the whole thing!

  49. westbrook shoes
    29th November 2023 at 12:36 am #

    I intended to draft you one little bit of remark to finally give many thanks the moment again for all the precious opinions you’ve featured at this time. This is so open-handed of you to convey unhampered precisely what most people might have sold for an ebook to get some money for themselves, even more so now that you might have done it if you wanted. These points additionally served as the great way to comprehend most people have a similar fervor the same as my own to grasp a whole lot more related to this issue. I believe there are millions of more pleasurable opportunities in the future for folks who examine your website.

Leave a comment