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A Bike Touring Feast: Our 3-Course Gourmet Camping Meal

Posted July 20th, 2011

There’s just something wonderful about a good meal at the end of a long day in the saddle, and although any food tastes good when you’re hungry, it’s fun to go all-out once in a while.

Last weekend, we did just that. Together with some friends, we each took responsibility for a dish and between us, we turned out some truly fantastic camp food. The best part is that it’s all so flexible. This meal is vegetarian, but could easily have meat if you prefer, and most of the ingredients should be available in most countries, or easily substituted.

First up: corn fritters with sweet chilli sauce, and served over a salad (this was our dish). Just mix a 300g can of corn (drained) with 2 eggs, 1/2 cup flour, 1 tsp baking powder, salt, pepper and 1/4 cup grated cheese. Fry with a little oil in a non-stick pan (a small non-stick frying pan and spatula are part of our standard bike-touring kitchen).

Corn Fritters

Serve over salad, with a bit of Thai sweet chili sauce.

Corn Fritters

Next, Simone & Trevor got chopping and working on the main course. They had a good selection of vegetables: onions, green beans, red and yellow peppers and carrots.

Simone; the happy chef

Simone tipped a bit of coconut milk and Thai green curry paste into one pot and stirred, adding the vegetables a bit at a time.

Thai and Sweet 'n' Sour Curry

She saved some vegetables for a second main dish: a sweet ‘n’ sour vegetable mixture. To this dish, she added a can of pineapple as well as the vegetables, and a bottle of sweet ‘n’ sour sauce.

Thai and Sweet 'n' Sour Curry

This was all served over rice, and was fantastic!

Curry & Sweet 'n' Sour

After all this goodness, we barely had any room left but we still had desert! Alicia made this course. She picked a sweet number with coconut milk, sugar, bananas and lychees. It’s really simple. You just heat the coconut milk with a bit of sugar (brown sugar is nice).

Alicia cooking Bananas and lychees in coconut milk

Then add in some chopped bananas and a drained can of lychees.

Bananas and lychees in coconut milk!

It was super sweet, and would be a great energy-booster and warming desert on a chilly autumn night. We enjoyed it in the summer too, but it would be especially nice in cooler temperatures.

What great bike touring meals have you made? We’d love to see your recipes and ideas for going beyond the typical pasta and tomato sauce that fuels so many cyclists.

A Pick-A-Path Bicycle Tour: Meet Indiana June

Posted July 2nd, 2011

Indiana JuneA bike tour can be full of decisions. Should you pick the dirt road or the city route; should you shelter from a storm in a hotel, or hide out in your tent?

Most of us make these decisions on our own but today we heard about Indiana June, who’s going to let everyone else – that’s you! – call the shots for her bicycle tour.

On August 6th, Indiana June will load up her bicycle with four panniers and a tent, and take off for a bicycle tour.

She’ll be on the road for at least 3 months, maybe as long as one year, and the public will be able to vote on all the important decisions that come up along the way.

We asked her why she choose this particular format for her bike tour:

“I literally wrote down a list of all the things I love in life and then came up with a way to combine them all at once. I love spontaneous travel, I love meeting new people, I love telling stories through written and spoken word as well as through sketches and paintings and of course I love cycling from place to place at my own pace.”

“I always remind myself that life is about the journey, not the destination – now it’s time to put that philosophy to the test,” she says.

Indiana June is no stranger to quirky ways of travelling. In 2007, she did a 20-country roadtrip through Europe in a purple ice cream van.

And in case you’re wondering about that name, no, Indiana June isn’t her real name. She’s actually Diana Tansey but a fat-fingered customs official once entered the name ‘Indiana June’ into his computer, giving Di the inspiration for her on-the-road character.

 

8 Tips For Better Bike Touring Photos

Posted May 23rd, 2011

Don't just admire the view. Capture it.When you first start cycling, it can seem hard to take good bike touring photos.

Too many of us have returned home with dull photos that show little more than empty roads and hardly reflect the exciting trip we remember. Andrew & I should know because our first year of bike touring photography was hardly inspiring. We’ve learned a lot since those early days, however – largely thanks to other cycling photographers who showed us a few tricks.

In this post, we give you 8 tips for better photography during a bike tour. The advices comes from us and from bike tourists who are known for their great picture-taking skills: Paul Jeurissen, Dennis Koomen and Harry Kikstra.

1. Know Your Camera. “Sometimes you have to quickly change shutter speed and aperture or maybe your ISO. If this takes you 5 minutes, probably the situation is gone. To learn how to use your camera, read the manual then go outside and take a few of the same pictures but with different settings. Try it with close-ups, landscapes, high-contrast and low-light situations etc. Go home and look at which picture you like the most and remember the settings for these specific situations,” says Dennis.

Continue Reading 8 Tips For Better Bike Touring Photography

Tips For Better Bike Touring Photos

Posted May 23rd, 2011

Don't just admire the view. Capture it.When you first start cycling, it can seem hard to take good bike touring photos.

Too many of us have returned home with dull photos that show little more than empty roads and hardly reflect the exciting trip we remember. Andrew & I should know because our first year of bike touring photography was hardly inspiring. We’ve learned a lot since those early days, however – largely thanks to other cycling photographers who showed us a few tricks.

In this post, we give you 8 tips for better photography during a bike tour. The advices comes from us and from bike tourists who are known for their great picture-taking skills: Paul Jeurissen, Dennis Koomen and Harry Kikstra.

1. Know Your Camera. “Sometimes you have to quickly change shutter speed and aperture or maybe your ISO. If this takes you 5 minutes, probably the situation is gone. To learn how to use your camera, read the manual then go outside and take a few of the same pictures but with different settings. Try it with close-ups, landscapes, high-contrast and low-light situations etc. Go home and look at which picture you like the most and remember the settings for these specific situations,” says Dennis.

Grab the moment

Sometimes you have to be quick to grab the moment. Photo by TravellingTwo.

2. Keep Your Camera Nearby. “During a bike trip, great photo opportunities can happen within seconds. You’ll see colorful locals cycling in the opposite direction, kids running towards you and even elephants that seem to appear from nowhere. So try to keep your camera close by in a handlebar bag or shirt pocket. That way you won’t miss these shots by having to spend extra time rummaging through a pannier for it,” says Paul.

Keep That Camera Handy

Keep that camera handy so you can grab a quick shot. Photo by Paul Jeurissen.

3. Put Something In The Background. “When you see an object like a distance marker or a funny traffic sign, take the picture with something in the background; for example, your friend cycling past. It becomes more lively and has more depth. Focus on the object and try to make the background a bit blurry; just enough so that you can still see what’s happening,” says Dennis.

Cycling In Scotland

Cycling In Scotland. Photo by Dennis Koomen.

4. Optimize Wisely. “This has different meanings, depending on the moment. It could mean getting the best lens and camera setting, or shooting as fast as possible. Never loose a quick shot because you think you have the wrong lens on, the light is wrong, and never change settings if it needs too much time. Just shoot and see later if it worked out. If you have the time and are waiting for a nice sunset, then optimize in getting the right spot and light, setting up your tripod, lens etcetera,” says Harry.

Ivana cycling in the mist

Ivana cycling in the mist. Photo by Harry.

5. Pick Your Viewpoint. “Even if there are no interesting features in the landscape such as rocks or plants that you can include in your photo, you still can take unusual and interesting photos by shooting from other camera standpoints. Instead of just standing on the road, try holding the camera above your head, sitting or even laying down. Changing the camera standpoint makes a big difference to how the photo finally turns out,” says Paul.

Pick Your Viewpoint

A unique viewpoint can make all the difference. Photo by Paul Jeurissen.

6. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask. “Sometimes you see a person or situation that would be great to photograph but you don’t take the photo because you’re afraid people will mind. Don’t be scared. Just ask. Most people are very kind and won’t mind having their picture taken. Many are even flattered. It helps if you can make a connection with them first. Say hello and start a conversation and then pop the question. Usually the answer is “yes” with a smile,” say Friedel & Andrew.

Happy To Pose

This couple were happy to pose for the camera, after we stopped to chat. Photo by TravellingTwo

7. Use A Cyclist To Show Scale. “Mountains are huge and deserts can be immense. How do you bring the enormity of the landscape to your photo? By stepping back and zooming in on a cycling partner. As you can see in the picture below, the small red cyclist gives a sense of scale to the landscape. Try putting a finger over the photo and blocking out the cyclist. You might think that the photo was taken in a child’s sandbox,” says Paul.

A Cyclist Adds A Sense Of Perspective

A small cyclist stands out against a big landscape. Photo by Paul Jeurissen.

8. Lose The Bike And The Cyclists! “Yes, I know these are cycling photography tips but trust me, having a cyclist or bicycle in each and every photo is boring for every non-cyclist as the bike usually is the centre of attention and it hardly ever changes. Cyclists don’t have a large wardrobe either. Shoot yourselves and others off the bike as well, and bikes without their riders. Remember that the bike is basically a transportation device to see wonderful people and places and enables a different lifestyle. You spend more time camping, cooking, talking to people etc than actually cycling, so show that as well. Where and how do you park your bike, pitch your tent, shop for food?,” says Harry.

Ivana jumping in Salar de Uyuni

Ivana jumping in Salar de Uyuni. Photo by Harry.

Want even more great photo tips? Check out:

Biking Eurovelo 6: Along Europe’s Rivers

Posted May 11th, 2011

Eurovelo 6 is a 4,000km long bicycle route that runs from the Atlantic Ocean in France to the Black Sea and follows 3 of the largest rivers in Europe: the Loire, Rhine and Danube.

David Piper recently returned from a ride along part of Eurovelo 6. In this guest post, he describes the route and offers tips in case you want to cycle the same path.

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Perhaps one of the most popular cycle routes in the world is that along the Danube river between Passau and Vienna. It’s so popular that the route now follows both sides of the river to ease the two-wheeled traffic congestion.

What isn’t always appreciated by the people cycling along the Danube is that this is just one section of the Eurovelo 6 (also known as EV6 or VR6) that stretches from the French Atlantic port of Nantes to Constanta on the Romanian Black Sea coast.

Eurovelo 6

Image courtesy of the Eurovelo 6 website

This Easter we rode a 1,000 km section of Eurovelo 6. We started in Basel, Switzerland and rode to Orleans in France. Here are a few key facts from our trip:

1. The route follows inland waterways. It runs along the Rhine-Rhone Canal, The Doubs, The Saone, The Canal du Centre and the River Loire. This means it’s easy to pick up the trail no matter what your starting point.

Continue Reading About Bike Touring Along Eurovelo 6