August 4, 2009

Cancelled: Slow Food Cycle Sunday in Pemberton. Instead: Agassiz & Chilliwack Aug 22 & 23

Mountain view

Update August 8th

Well, my post was unfortunately premature… by a year, now, in fact, as this year’s Slow Food Cycle Sunday has been cancelled due to the forest fires. The 5th annual event will occur August 15th, 2010. I’m very disappointed, but all is not lost as on the 22nd and 23rd there are cycle farm tours in Agassiz and Chilliwack by Slow Food Vancouver, although these require advanced registration and cost $10 — $20. I’m going to get on that and invite the folks who were planning to attend the Pemberton event. Too bad! If you still want the amazing potatoes, however, visit a Vancouver Farmers Market and look for Helmer’s.

On Sunday, August 16th, we’re celebrating the 5th annual Slow Food Cycle Sunday in scenic Pemberton, BC.* The flat, paved road through the farming valley is perfect for cyclists of any age and skill level. And of course, what we’re ultimately drawn together here for is the food! After my first trip last year, which was capped by a traffic jam on the way home that had us moving slower than a kid on a bicycle, I felt the potatoes alone were SO worth the 50 km ride and the road trip. They are phenomenal.

The sense of community up there, even though people have come from all over, is wonderful. The hosts are welcoming and work very hard to make the experience memorable for visitors and neighbours. Honestly, it was because of the Slow Food Cycle that I started cycling again after a long hiatus and a lifetime of sporadic, low-confidence cycling. I confess I’m now an addict, but this time will pay more attention to the food and community atmosphere than to the riding.

Lunchtime on the farm

This year I’m going up with a contingent of eager riders from work, which will be huge fun! Nothing like a road trip with friends. I’m also pleased to be riding a bike that fits me, instead of a horrible mountain bike. If you haven’t ridden for awhile, I recommend making sure your bike fits you well so you don’t get sore (the next day is Monday, after all). Make sure you’ve had some time riding it to ensure comfort and an enjoyable ride. (You can get fitted at most bike shops.) Fit your bike with panniers for take-home food and extra clothing.

Helmer’s Organic potatoes are available at Vancouver Farmers Markets, too.

Tips for folks new to the event: dress in layers, so you can keep warm in the morning and peel off if it heats up like it did last year. A change of clothes for after the ride is also smart. Bring your non-toxic sunscreen, reusable stainless steel water bottles (there are filling stations), and cash for snacks, lunches, and produce. Don’t forget your camera!

See you there!