A guide to getting you and your delicacies to the supper by bike without mishap.
If you’re not packing your loved ones into the car and torturing yourselves with a car trip in stop-and-go traffic on the “expressway”, you should consider a superior form of transportation this Thanksgiving weekend – bicycles. Bikes are a natural fit for Thanksgiving. They eliminate the stresses of fighting for parking at the grocery store or farmers market, not to mention that riding home from Thanksgiving dinner is the perfect way to wake up from a food coma.
Anyone that uses a bike regularly for their shopping trips knows that you need a system to transport your food home from the market.
If you’re young and hip enough to define dinner as a 12 pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon and Veggie Surprise, all you will need to do your shopping is a backpack or messenger bag. Those of you with more sophisticated epicurean tastes will need a more advanced system to transport your goodies home, such as a bike rack with panniers. If you’re hosting the big Thanksgiving shindig, your best bet is a cargo bike: groceries can be packed into the panniers, cases of wine and seltzer can be strapped to the rack.
If you’re new to shopping by bike, the method of packing grocery bags is slightly more precise than when shopping by car. Solid things – frozen butter, rice, cans etc. – go at the bottom of the bag. The middle layer should comprise of durable, but slightly more delicate things: flour, root vegetables and frozen meats. The top layer should contain the most delicate items such as tomatoes and eggs. When you load up your panniers or backpack, make sure you don’t squish the delicate things on top with the fastener system.
Now that you’ve gotten all your food home and made some delicious family recipe to take to the supper, how do you get it there by bike without making a mess and spilling the bisque all over your ball gown?
Carefully consider the food item you are bringing. Does it need to be kept hot? How much liquid and grease does it contain? Can it be assembled at the party?
Some things, such as salads and snack trays are fairly straightforward to transport on a bike. Prepare all the ingredients at home in small containers or bags, and then assemble them at your friends’ house. A tray of pre-cooked stuffing or sweet potatoes is easy enough to cover in tinfoil and stick into a pannier. Other things, such as pumpkin soup or meatballs, are more challenging because they need to stay warmish and have potential to leak and make a big mess. Cook these type of foods in a dutch oven or other heavy lidded pot. When you are done cooking, let the pan cool until it’s warm to the touch. Use 2” wide masking tape to tape the lid on the pot for transportation. Clear packing tape will work too, but sometimes it leaves a residue on the pot. Ideally, everyone will love your dish, so you can wash the container and bring it home clean.
It may seem counterintuitive, but yogurt containers aren’t ideal for transporting liquids by bike. Their lids always come off at the most inopportune moments. If you’re transporting something with real spill potential and you don’t like the idea of transporting it in the pot, mason jars are the a sure-fire way to prevent spills.
Before loading your bag or pannier, take a quick look in there. Is there anything that would be a pain to clean if there’s a leak? Take it out and give the bag a quick rinse to make it clean for the food.
We here at Yuba Bikes hope that you and your family have a healthy and safe Thanksgiving.
This article was originally published in Triple Pundit, an online magazine about sustainability and business.