Apples, tomatoes, potatoes, and kale.
Focaccia, semolina, barley, and polenta cornbread.
Spreads, cheese, coffee, and even a raffle.
They’re all found with an elementary spin for many to the farmers’ market.
One of life’s simplest pleasures is eating, and among those who appreciate the basics of food are bicyclists.
Food is fuel, sustenance, and reward, and pedaling to get it another down-to-earth spartan-yet-pleasing fundamental.
Market day for many is a thing of the past, replaced by round-the-clock convenience stores and supermarket chains.
But the beauty of living in in a small mountain town is having the seasonal opportunities to check out the local offerings at area farmers’ markets through the fall.
So why not incorporate a little stop and shop on a road or mountain bike while out for a spin?
Pedal to market. There’s plenty of produce and locally-made sundries that easily fit into a backpack or a pannier-style bag. Of course, every cyclist knows that baked goods are even easier to carry once they are gleefully consumed before remounting the saddle. And bicycling offsets the cost of gas to get to market too.
If market day is Sunday all the better. Sunday mornings are unique, at least in the old-school sense. Okay, the days of those thick city newspapers are winding down, but not the ringing of the church bells through the alpine air and the shouts of children playing on the town green.
And that’s why market day combined with a spin is so special. It harkens back to quieter times and forces you—encourages you—to embrace the community in which you’ve chosen to reside. You see friends, neighbors, colleagues, and those people who you only see outside your realm of scheduled normalcy—those people you will always recognize but never meet.
The market isn’t the only way to do this. Cyclists can do the same pedaling to flea markets and even yard sales, providing that bed or couch fits in the pack (or you make other arrangements). As the leaves turn, young athletes return to the gridiron.
Though Friday night lights are popular in high school there are still many areas where football games are played during the day—Saturday. And there are other fall sports like cross country, mountain biking, tennis, and volleyball with fields and venues making for fine pedaling destinations.
Just as hikers never spend enough time on the mountaintop after exerting all that effort to reach it, cyclists likely don’t spend enough time in those favorite spots they find while out on a ride, from a swimming hole they promise to visit or that corner cafe for a coffee. Sure, they stop, but time is always of the essence because no journey is complete until you are home again.
Cycling with a sense of community in mind forces riders to spend a little more time in those places they ride through, a chance to see things, places, and people anew, and a chance to pick up something sweet for the table later on to share.
Image by Steve Legge/SkiVermont