Thursday, March 11, 2010

Awesome New York Foodies on Bikes

Last Father's day I went low-carbon when shopping for his present. My Father used to be a food technologist, basically testing the quality of new recipes for large manufacturers. So I biked around Cincy and bought him only locally made products like Coffee Emporium coffee, braunschweiger from Avril Bleh's, a local lindberger cheese, etc.

Thanks to cycling coworker John McKenzie for turning me onto spokesnyt on twitter who posted these articles.

Here is a cool web series on food and bikes! It's called

PEDALING: NYC "Sweet & Savory" from Jim Fryer/BrakeThrough Media on Vimeo.

Riding the City in Search of Food
New York Times Spokes Column

Major Taylor, the great American track cyclist who challenged the race barrier at the turn of the last century, wrote a list of a dozen “don’ts” for aspiring competitive cyclists. Number six is, “Don’t eat cheap candies.”

That kind of foodie-ism still permeates cycling — from Lance Armstrong’s careful weighing of every gram of nutrition that entered his body to the espresso obsessions of cyclocross racing. And cycling has also made inroads into New York City’s restaurant culture, for example Chef Peter Hoffman’s weekly visits to farmers’ markets on his cargo bike (to say nothing of the thousands of pizzas and moo shu porks that are ferried around the city by bicycle delivery men).

Perhaps it is no surprise that Pedaling: NYC was born earlier this year. The Web-based video series features two of urban America’s latest obsessions: gourmet food and bicycles.

Pedaling: NYC follows foodies on bikes and bike-ies who love to eat as they roll around the city in search of their next meal. A crew of single-speed and fixed gear enthusiasts troll Whole Foods (one of the Webisode’s sponsors) in search of pizza toppings, a racer watches waffles being made and “The Saffron King,” a spice importer, rides to Chinatown to deliver ingredients to a high-end bartender.

Smorgasbords and spokes haven’t been seen on screen together in such celebration since the famous breakfast scene at the beginning of Jorgen Leth’s classic cycling documentary “A Sunday in Hell” featuring Roger De Vlaeminck prepping for the Paris-Roubaix by eating a rare steak. (I can’t believe this isn’t on YouTube!)

Jim Fryer and Iri Greco, the show creators, met while working on a documentary about the Tour of California. Ms. Greco, a New Yorker with deep roots in the city’s culinary world, found herself pleasantly surprised and inspired by the cycling world’s knowledge and appreciation of gourmet eating.

The show grew, she said, “partly out of my amazement that pro cyclists and teams and fans are as passionate about food as they are about the sport.”

Soon the pair were shooting on New York’s streets. This was late last fall. Mr. Fryer, a longtime West Coast cyclist who once managed a pro team, strove to show how navigable Manhattan has become by bike.

“Our sub-agenda was to provide some solid info for viewers,” said Mr. Fryer. “The reality is that it is a great city to ride your bike.” And clearly to eat. Among the tidbits of pertinent info is that shoppers who arrive at Birdbath Bakery by bicycle or skateboard get a discount on pastries and cookies.

But not everyone in the bicycle world has embraced Pedaling:NYC. The popular and anonymous Bike Snob blogger has devoted nearly half a dozen posts to poking fun at the series, its hosts and brand sponsors.

But Ms. Greco and Mr. Fryer shrug off the Snob’s lobs. “I think he may be our biggest fan,” said Ms. Greco. “He dedicated an enormous amount of his energy and attention to talking about Pedaling.”

Indeed, Bike Snob is no stranger to epicurean tastes. He has penned lengthy posts on mid-ride muffins and claims to worship a lobster god, in no small part because of its delicious drawn butteryness.

Could there be a BikeSnob/Pedaling cycling and crustaceans collaboration in the future? Maybe. Ms. Greco said her favorite bike-food combo is a ride to Tomales Bay, north of San Francisco, to enjoy a crab omelet at Nick’s Cove restaurant.

The Pedaling duo may be back that way soon as they’re looking into expanding their concept to the West Coast with visits to fellow gastro-cycling areas like Napa Valley, San Francisco and Portland.

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