The ideal picnic by bike

Advice, practical information for your cycling holidays: discover how to properly prepare and succeed in picnics for your cycling escapades.
Picnic on the banks of the Cher

Are you in the final preparations for your cycling trip and wondering how you are going to organize your lunch breaks? 

Trip à vélo has put together a short guide for you to prepare the ideal picnic which will allow you to rest after a sporty morning and regain your strength to cover the last kilometers of the stage.

Along your cycling route, different sites invite you to a short stop to recover. On the banks of the Loire or its tributaries, in a bucolic place in the middle of the countryside, or in a royal setting on the lawns of a castle, you will always find a pleasant place to stop.

But the question you are probably asking yourself is: how do I organize these moments of relaxation on the grass? We answer you.

How to transport your picnic?

Cycling by the water

If you have reserved your bikes with Trip à vélo, no longer have to worry about transporting your picnic. Your bike will be equipped with one or two rear bag(s) (15L/bag) closable and waterproof(s) in which you can store your picnic and a tablecloth. Remember to distribute the weight so as not to unbalance your bike!

Where can I buy my picnic basket?

You can contact Trip à Vélo before your stay to reserve a picnic basket, if this is compatible with your reservation. Before your departure Trip by bike will also provide you with the GPS application a list of bakeries, supermarkets and restaurants along your route where you can stock up on supplies. 

What to put in your picnic basket?

Nautical base on the Loire

To drink and to eat !

A picnic in the Loire Valley is the perfect opportunity to discover and appreciate local products. Stop in a small shop to choose your meal from a wide range of local specialties such as a fouace de Rabelais or fouée tourangelle, small bakery specialties, rillettes de Tours, rillons, fish terrines from the Loire, the Sainte Maure de Touraine, this famous goat's cheese with rye straw... The diversity of dishes is great and you will find something for all tastes. You can enhance your picnic with a fresh, crispy baguette and buy some dried fruit and vegetables to snack on. The Loire Valley is also a market gardening region!

We advise you to choose light meals that can be easily transported and to avoid fruits that are too ripe or too soft at the risk of crushing them, or provide one or two small light containers to protect them (avoid strawberries and bananas that are too ripe). and favor apricots, apples, radishes, etc.). 

Don't forget to take enough water and a thermos or an insulated container to hydrate yourself during the day and in extreme heat. It is strongly recommended not to drink alcohol when practicing a sporting activity, even for cycle touring. Not only does it increase the risk of dehydration, feeling unwell or heat stroke, but the cyclist is also subject to the highway code, with a maximum authorized level of 0.5 gr/l. 

When should I take my picnic break?

You can stop for lunch whenever you want. However, we invite you to take your break during the hottest hours of the day, that is to say between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. Taking a break during a cycling tour does not mean stopping to eat for 15 minutes and then leaving. On the contrary, you need to find a place that suits you, whether it is on a lawn, on a bench or on a picnic table. Take the time to eat and rest a little afterwards to facilitate digestion and not feel bloated when you get back in the saddle. And why not take a short walk before getting back on your bike?  

Some beautiful spots to have your picnic

Gabare on the Loire in Combleux

The favorite place for a bike trip for a royal picnic is of course in the Parc du Château de Chambord. On the lawns around the castle, indulge in the reverie that the place inspires. Your break can also be nature-oriented. While enjoying your gourmet basket on the banks of the Loire, observe the myriads of birds that populate the river: Loire terns, herons, swans, cormorants fishing or drying their wings outstretched in the sun... And have fun doing some ricochets on the water!

Not to forget during your lunch break!

Whether you stop in town or in the countryside, whether you stay near your bike or move away from it, it is essential to secure your bike to a fixed and solid support to avoid finding yourself without a mount after your ride. gourmet break. 

Not to forget for a successful picnic:

  • Cutlery (bring non-disposable cutlery in your suitcase)
  • Some napkins
  • A large, lightweight tablecloth, easy to carry
  • Hydroalcoholic gel
  • A trash bag to collect your waste
  • A bag in which to put your meal to store it in the saddlebags and protect them
  • A multi-tool such as a Swiss army knife
  • Sunscreen and a hat
  • A deck of cards if you want to extend the break 

You now have all the keys in hand to prepare your bike picnics and enjoy a moment of gourmet pleasure on the grass. Now all you have to do is choose the best picnic spots along your route. 

By the way, do you know the origin of the word picnic?

Picnic, isn’t that a funny rhyming phrase? This word actually dates from the 17th century and comes from the verb “to peck” like chickens do when pecking, and from the word “nique”, old French which describes “a thing without value”. By putting these two words together we can therefore deduce that picnic means “to peck at little things here and there”. 

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