Bikepacking Recipes with Devin Cowens: Part 1

I manage a bikepacking group known as Radical Adventure Riders ATL (RAR ATL); our aim is to create more inclusive spaces in the cycling community by moving toward enhancing gender inclusivity and racial equity in the bicycle and outdoor adventure scene. We especially seek to center the experiences of BIPOC, queer, trans, and nonbinary riders. One core part of our programming is beginner bikepacking trips for members in the community.

We recently held our first beginner bikepacking trip of the year, which included a wonderful group of women and non-binary folks traipsing through the city and into the mountains less than 30 miles outside of the city of Atlanta, GA. 

I love these types of overnighters because it gives me an opportunity to disconnect for a short period of time, be in community with other bikepackers, and experiment with some new recipes because I have more room for “kitchen” items. This trip, I was determined to incorporate maple syrup into my camp meals, not just for on the bike nutrition.

We arrived at the campsite around 6 pm, which was the perfect amount of time to get my tent setup and organize my dinner plans. I love peanut butter, so I attempted a camp version of a Thai style peanut sauce. I don’t do measurements as it’s too involved, so this recipe included:

Whole wheat pasta
Portabella mushrooms (pre chopped at home)
1 packet of Peanut Butter
Soy sauce
Olive Oil
1 packet of UnTapped Maple Energy Gel
Chili Flakes

I love using mushrooms because it allows for a hearty texture and travels well for an overnighter, plus they’re an inexpensive easy item to prep at home.

My utensils set up for camping is the GSI Outdoors Crossover Kitchen Kit and it has everything I need to prepare food, and I’ve added a pan and plate so I can do “1 pot” style meals.

The tricky part with these meals is that you have 1 burner but may have a multi-step process meal. So first, I cooked the pasta, then set aside in the pot to keep it hot, while saving a bit of the pasta water like I would at home. Next, I added a dollop of butter into the pan and sauteed the mushrooms for a few minutes, then set them aside on my extra plate. For the sauce, I added some olive oil to the pan, plus the peanut butter packet and a little of my saved pasta water to soften up the texture. From there, I mixed in the soy sauce and the UnTapped Maple packet and stirred slowly until it was the consistency I wanted (I used all of the maple packet!). I added the mushrooms back in, a squeeze of lime, plus some chili flakes to add a bit of spice. I let that cook on low for under a minute, then taste tested the mushrooms and the pasta to ensure a solid texture before serving. I plated the meal, squeezed a bit more of the lime, then added a lime wedge for garnish. The beauty of the camp meal for me is that I can kind of improvise and forget measurements, which allows me to play around with the flavors and not be so rigid as I might in the kitchen. I’m happy to report that it was delicious and I’ll be adding this to my recipe rolodex. 

Next up, breakfast! One of my favorite things about camping is brewing coffee outside. In fact, my friend and I host a group every Friday morning at different parks around Atlanta to gather folks to do just that. I gave up cream in my coffee a while back but always enjoy experimenting with new things; after several trips to Vermont last year, I’m a believer of maple syrup in my coffee. 

For a hearty breakfast before a day of riding, rolled oats are my go to. This recipe is a bit more simple but packs a lot of punch:

1 cup rolled oats
1 packet UnTapped Maple Energy Gel
1 packet Peanut Butter
Handful of cranberries

I cooked the oats for a little while, keeping an eye on the pot (oatmeal spillovers are common when I get distracted)! As soon as it was finished, I added it to my plate and I like to pour the peanut butter on as soon as possible to ensure that it mixes well while the oatmeal is hot. I then added in a full packet of syrup, and cranberries. I gave it a good stir and voila! The perfect pre ride meal with lots of flavor and protein. 

All Photos Courtesy of Dessa Lohrey