The one trouble with a road trip is that you end up spending a lot of time sitting in the car. So when I found out that Pedal Bike Tours in Portland offers Bites By Bike, a food tour by bicycle, I thought it would be an excellent way to get a little exercise, while learning something about the Portland food scene.
The Bites by Bike tours typically start at 9 am and run about 3 1/2 hours, making six stops to eat in downtown Portland and the Pearl District. Since I needed to get across Oregon to the California border before dark (on Day 2 of my Vancouver-to-LA road trip), the Pedal Bike team arranged a condensed 90-minute version of their foodie ride.
It was pouring rain when I met my guide, Jason, at the Pedal Bike Tours downtown office, so both Jason and I suited up in the company’s brilliant green rain ponchos and matching helmets, and off we went.
Our first stop was World Cup Coffee, a cool coffee shop that also roasts their own beans, where we got a behind-the-scenes coffee geek tour of their roasting operation. Even though I had just learned about cold-brewed coffee from my AirBnB host, I learned even more about roasting and brewing coffee here. We drank coffee as well; mine was a delicious americano.
Stop 2: Elephants Delicatessen, a gourmet shop and cafe, where I got a crash course in locally-made Oregon cheeses, learned about the salami and other charcuterie that the deli makes in-house and sources from other regional providers (that’s a salami close-up at the top of the page), and sampled from a platter of cheese, meats, olives, and almonds. Elephants would be a great spot to pick up a sandwich or provisions for a picnic.
Normally, the tour continues to a bakery, a pizzeria, and either a Thai food cart or the Portland Farmer’s Market, but my ride went right to the sweet finale: Cacao, a chocolate shop. Co-owner Jesse Manis gave us a tour of the shop’s products — chocolates from near and far — and we sampled their decadently rich drinking chocolates. The regular dark would be an excellent drink for chocolate purists, but I also loved the dark chocolate gently spiced with hints of ginger and chili.
Overall, the cycling on this tour was quite easy, rain and all (here’s a rainy-grainy pic of my super-cheerful guide Jason sporting his super-cool green rain gear). This tour is more about the food than about a hard-core biking experience — not that that’s a problem for me! Yet in a city where cyclists are ubiquitous, touring by bike — and sampling local bites along the way — was a great way to feel like a local, if only for a couple of hours.
About the “Hit the Road Hungry” Road Trip
I’m doing a solo road trip from Vancouver to Los Angeles, working with a company called Hit The Road that pairs people who want to take road trips with people who need their cars moved. I’m delivering a forest green 1998 Honda Civic for its owners who are moving from British Columbia to southern California, and I’m eating my way down the west coast.
I hope you’ll follow along as I “Hit the Road Hungry!”
About WanderFood Wednesday
Every Wednesday, you can share a photo or post about own food adventures as part of the WanderFood Wednesday blog carnival. Here’s how:
- Post a food photo on your site.
- Add a brief description about the photo — or a longer food-focused post — and include a link to WanderFood Wednesday.
- Add your blog name and post title to the “Mr. Linky” form below, with a link directly to your post (not to your main blog). That’s it!
[mrlinky owner=wanderfood postid=24Apr2012 meme=2888]
If you go…
Pedal Bike Tours runs the Bites By Bike Tour daily at 9 am; the price is $69 per person. They also offer several other cycle tours of Portland and vicinity and rent bikes if you want to explore on your own.
Photos © Carolyn B. Heller
Pedal Bike Tours hosted my trip. My opinions — and my appetites — are my own.