The quick weight-loss biking diet

Starting weight: 77Kg, the stubborn remnant of a two-week trip three months ago back home to British Columbia, during which I made too many visits with mom to White Spot and other fine purveyors of fat.

Achieved goal: 74Kg.

Diet: Two all-natural peanut-butter-and-honey-sandwiches on homemade seed bread, two generous slices of Panforte made from a recipe by David the American pastry chef in Paris, two dozen dates, two slices of dense, home-made apple cake the recipe of which I do not have because my sister-in-law offered them to me and I didn’t ask, two generous handfuls of mixed nuts, or what they call here in Germany: Student Feed.

One 500ml bottle of Weizenbier.

Six litres of water.

12 and a half hours’ worth of fresh air

Biking: Pump your tires to maximum recommended pressure.  Check and oil the chain if need be.  Wear bike shorts!  If you’re setting out to ride 185Km in one day – about three times what you’re used to –  you want your tush to be comfy.

Have a blinking light for the rear to display even during the daytime to turn on for those portions of the trip you’ll be riding along roads with no shoulder and traffic screaming by at 100km/h.

Bring toilet paper.  Beware of stinging nettles.

Get up at daybreak and have a couple cups of coffee, then get going.  You want to arrive before sundown.  It might help to bring a map.

Ride along a set path you’ve studied carefully both online and in various maps from just north of Osnabrück to Buxtehude through farmers’ fields, moorscape, beech forests, pine forests, along narrow paved roads lined with centuries-old oak, past cornfields, tobacco fields, ancient barns, haystacks and wedding announcements made of haystacks.

You’ll also be greeted by great, gagging waves of concentrated, liquified pig manure as you continue through the endless green and over railway tracks, six-lane Autobahn and bridges great and small, get lost a couple of times, curse under your breath at the uselessness of viamichelen.com which recommends you take a right down Doktorstrasse in some Hintertürverkehr town that ends in a cul-de sac blocked by a 150-year-old building, find your way again, get lost again, finally get on the right track and continue through ever-changing landscape dotted with pheasant, deer, hare, birds of prey, herons, dairy cows, sheep, horses, chickens and many, many cats out on the prowl for that elusive rodent.

Give up trying to count the number of wind turbines you pass.

Curse once again viamichelin.com for listing streets you must take, when, in fact, the street either does not exist or is not posted on any sign.

Ask locals for directions.  They are friendly and helpful!

Thank the fact you’re travelling northeast and getting pushed the whole way with prevailing winds, without which the trip would be unthinkable.

Curse yourself for having left your camera’s memory chip in the computer, so all you have is 8Kb of internal memory with which to take a few incredibly crappy photos for this post.

Thank that you had the good sense to buy a new mountain bike to replace the one you rode to Bremen in the opposite direction.

Stop and have lunch on a bed of dry, crackling beech leaves looking up at the blanket of foliage blocking out the daylight and marvel that in only a few weeks it will all be gone and the long northern winter you’ve been trying so hard not to think about will surely be upon us.

Ignore pains in the knee and the feeling you might be developing a Charley horse in both thighs.  Breathe deeply.

Call your wife and ask her to take that bottle of beer out of the basement and stick it in the fridge because you want to think about it sitting there waiting as a reward for your day’s efforts.

Don’t tell her your legs hurt.

Ask yourself just how many kilometres getting lost and having to swing around to find the proper route added on to the official total of 185km.  Arrive at a round number of 200km, give or take five.

Ask yourself if cycling so far in one day is that much of a good idea.

Weigh yourself the next morning.  Voilà!  Three Kg. lighter.

This diet is not recommended for anyone over the age of 3 unless accompanied by a desire just to find out if you really can do it.

15 Responses to “The quick weight-loss biking diet”

  1. 1 Mike Rutledge
    September 18, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    Great story. I have dreams of doing a bike trip through Germany some day. In the meantime just normal trips will have to do. I hope that “long northern winter” you mention holds off a few weeks yet as we’re heading to Germany next week for a visit.

  2. September 18, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    Clearly, I couldn’t manage that ride. For one thing, I don’t have a bike. But that plate of food looks marvelous. Maybe I should ease into the diet one step at a time, and begin by eating all that. I can use my apple cake recipe to help round things out. Then, I could browse mountain bike websites to get a little more into the spirit of the thing. I might even go out for a walk.

    I do love the bridal couple – what’s the weird sign your bike’s parked beside? Dead end? Cul-de-sac? Bicycle parking spot?

    • September 18, 2012 at 4:13 pm

      Hi Linda,
      This is a diet for one! You can vary it as you like.🙂
      For the panforte and the bread, both came from my kitchen with slight variations on the original. Just another post I’ll get around to sometime.

      About the weird sign: that’s what you see for a dead end here. Why viamichelin chose to send me down a dead end, I couldn’t figure out.

      @Mike: enjoy Germany! It’s not that cold yet.

  3. September 18, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    Wow! 200 km! I’m glad you made it! Funny picture of the bridal couple made out of hay – you know you’re in the country when you see that kind of thing!

    I bet that beer was the best beer you’ve had in a long time, right? Were you really sore the next day?

    • September 19, 2012 at 4:57 am

      Hi Sarah,
      That’s one wedding announcement that’s hard to miss, eh? I like all the quirky country traditions you see here. And yes, my legs were so sore, I could hardly move them without wincing, even in bed!

      Hello Angel – I wish it had been only 185, but because I zigged some places I should have zagged, it was more like around 200. The route description kept on giving the amount of time I should have taken to reach a turning point, and I lost a lot of it by getting lost. The GPS thingy I had with me, calibrated for cycling, didn’t help much because I was often off the grid – it showed no roads where I was.

  4. September 18, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    Finding out what you can really do is always worth a try🙂
    Fun fact: It is always more than you thought before you started out. As with high-altitude-climbing: it’s all in the mind.

    Congratulations! 185 kilometers on a mountain bike is no mean feat.

  5. September 19, 2012 at 6:12 am

    I second the request for the bread recipe.

    I am also interested in the David Lebovitz panforte (thanks for the link) — I get lots of ice cream inspiration from him.

    Do you have a “pan fitted with a candy thermometer”? What does that look like?

    • September 19, 2012 at 7:13 am

      Cliff! I will get to the bread recipe, if not before the October holidays, then soon after.

      The panforte is a specialty of Tuscany, which by coincidence is where we’re headed. I substitute out a few ingredients: I use the same weights, but instead of candied fruit I cut up dates or figs, or even some raisins. It’s dried fruit, after all, and keeps forever. I also don’t use so many nuts. The batch you’re looking at there in the photo has only 2/3 the nuts David calls for. I subbed in 1/3 shredded coconut because I was out of nuts and it came out great.

      I think the candy thermometer pan sounds a little too fancy-dancy for me. I just use a regular candy thermometer the long thin glass ones that can measure temperatures even above 200C, which is also good for checking oil when deep frying. You can hold it in your hand, and as long as you keep the end off the bottom of the pan, it will give an accurate reading.

  6. September 19, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    As for the GPS thingy:
    I always recommend my ‘Wander-Navi’, Garmin eTrex Vista (HCx if you are interested in better height evaluation). Combined with the Open Mountainbike Map (here: http://openmtbmap.org/de/download/), which is routable and specifically calculated for hikers and (mountain-)bikers, it has never failed me yet.
    (I also own the new eTrex 30, but unless Garmin greatly improves the firmware, the Vista is still the better GPS.)

    OSM coverage for the Alps is excellent. I suppose this also goes for the rest of Europe.

  7. September 19, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    This was a wildly entertaining post, Ian, even without the descriptions of food and drink.

  8. September 26, 2012 at 11:25 am

    This diet food looks yummy! I would loved to try this…:)

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