Fall is, in our opinion, the absolute best time to bike. You're looking good because you don't get so sweaty, and the scenery's looking good because all the leaves are changing. So we recommend taking advantage of the weather and the vistas by planning a bike picnic! Great for a romantic twosome or a boisterous group of friends, it's a unique, fun way to spend time with people you love--and here's what you'll need to make it happen!
The best part of any picnic is the food, so brainstorm with your friends or plan something tasty with your partner for your upcoming bike date. Remember you'll be eating this outdoors, so if you choose something messy, bring napkins. If you are packing a lunch from home, make sure your food and beverages are sealed, and that you've got all the utensils and condiments you need. We'd recommend not bringing along anything breakable, in case you take a spill, or unless you have appropriate padding--which bring us to...
How many people will be joining you on your bike date? How much food are you taking or picking up on the way? Are you going somewhere it might be a little wet? All these are things to consider as you decide on how big, how thick, and how nice of a blanket you'll be carrying. Since there are at least two of you on this bike picnic adventure, split up the goods between picnickers, depending on what accoutrements you each have for hauling--which remind us...
Whether you're packing from home or picking up from somewhere, it's important to know you'll be able to carry everything without hindering your ability to bike or spilling the precious cargo.
Bungeeing a blanket and a backpack filled with deliciousness to your back rack is your most basic option, and it's fine, so long as your food won't be squished by the cord. Fresh fruit and sandwiches in baggies or foil probably won't survive, and neither will crumbly things like crackers or cookies. Panniers are another option, so long as you pad each to prevent your food and beverages from bouncing around and squashing each other along the way.
Our favorite way to carry is in a crate attached to the rear rack: Lay a portion of your blanket along the bottom as padding, pile in the beverages and food, and tuck the rest of the blanket over the top and around to keep anything from bouncing out while you're riding. Et voilà!--you're ready for your bike date!
Once you've got everything you need, hit the road! Ride to your favorite green space and enjoy. Hang out with your friends or get cozy with your partner, take pictures of the leaves, kick a soccer ball around or play 20 questions, or go for a leisurely ride through part of the neighborhood you haven't seen before. Just remember to be safe: lock up your bikes if you're going to leave them unattended, and make sure you have lights, in case it gets dark while you're out.
If you're in Columbus, Ohio, RideHome bike shop offers a full bike picnic package: bike rental, basket, lock, blanket, candle (you heard right) from Columbus-based Candle Lab, and of course food, including sandwiches from local bistro La Chatelaine, wine from nearby wine shop House Wine, and cookies (yes, cookies!) from Worthington's Sassafrass Bakery.
If you happen to be staying at the Hotel Arts in Calgary, Alberta (Canada), bikes come free with your room (you can reserve them for a specific time by adding them to your online booking), and you can add on a Yellow Door Bistro picnic for the full bike date effect. (Just be sure to bring your own picnic blanket or find a nice bench for your meal.)
Have other fall bike activities you'd like to share, or know any other good bike picnic packages? Let us know by leaving a comment below or tweeting at us!