The 2010 Tour de France starts tomorrow. I watch most of it each year, for the views of the French countryside probably more than for the competition. That said, there is something fascinating (to me at least) about watching the undulating peleton and trying to grok the dynamics and strategies of the various teams.
I also love to ride, although just for pleasure. Bicycling seems to center the world at a speed that works for me. Consider an anonymous stretch of road in the mid-west, for example. In a car you spot something green and slender and wonder “was that a field of corn?” On foot you think “this cornfield will never end”, but on a bike you register “corn, almost ready for harvest”, nod and ride on. The pacing is just right.
On a bike one can easily stop to take a picture of something pretty or novel, pause by a brook for a short rest, take one’s time and just enjoy the out-of-doors. At least that’s my philosophy. I am probably the least competitive cyclist in the world! And, I often find interesting things on the side of the road, sometimes small change, once a nice wrench, another time a beautiful scarf… you just never know.
I have friends, cycling buddies, and we ride together on the weekends, weather and work schedules permitting. Its good exercise, but also an opportunity to explore some of the smaller towns around here. And, if we time it right it can lead to a meal at the half-way point. It’s just important to remember that we have to ride home again on that full stomach… no sag support here!
When we’re not riding to a food destination, and even if we are, I like to pack these snack bars. They are very easy to make ahead, and will keep in a handlebar bag for hours. They can be a little sticky, so stopping by that brook I mentioned is probably a good idea.
As with pretty much all the recipes I offer, this can be re-fitted and finessed. You can use part granola for a heavier bar, leave out the chocolate (but why?) add dried fruit, get creative and have fun! (And, let us know how you customize it, OK? Ever curious…)
No-Bake Bike Bars
1 C peanut butter
1 C brown sugar
3/4 C agave syrup
1 T water
5 C puffed rice cereal
1 t cinnamon
1/2 C ground flax seed
1/2 C chocolate chips
Line a 9X9 pan with plastic wrap. Put the first 4 ingredients in a microwave proof bowl and heat until boiling, stopping occasionally to stir to incorporate all ingredients. (I find this takes about 6 or 7 minutes). Once boiling point is reached, boil without stirring for 2 to 3 minutes.
While the syrup is boiling, put the last four ingredients in a large deep heatproof bowl. Pour (carefully!! very hot!!!) the boiling syrup over the dry ingredients and stir to incorporate well. Put the amalgam in the 9X9 pan and press down with a spatula. Allow to cool to room temp, turn out and cut into bars. These will keep a few days at room temp. Wrap them in plastic to take on a ride, and grab a nice fresh bottle of water to accompany.
Enjoy with friends and don’t forget to wear your helmets!