Chefs and pro-cyclists might not seem like they have a lot in common but many have become friends over a shared passion for both cycling and food. After all, is there any better incentive to pedal 100 miles than a great meal at the finish? Here, some of our favorite cyclists and chefs share their top rides, cyclist-friendly hotels, and go-to spots for a post-ride indulgence.
Ted King, pro cyclist for the UCI ProTeam Cannondale-Garmin
“I live in Girona, Spain half the year. It’s said that there are more professional cyclists here than anywhere else on the planet, probably because the great terrain, good weather and all of the airports nearby. One of my favorite rides is the Olot loop, which is nearly 80 miles to the volcanic area of la Garrotxa. Catalonian cuisine is phenomenal. If you want a fancier fine dining experience where the chef will come to your table and schmooze, go to Massana. Restaurant el Cul del Món is more homey and the food makes you feel like you’re eating a recipe that’s been passed down for generations.
I lived in Lucca, Italy, just outside of Florence for two years and any time I race through that area it tugs at the heartstrings. I always like Osteria del Manzo, a family run restaurant in Lucca for osso bucco and chinghiale, which is wild boar. The beauty of Italy is that they don’t mark up the wine like they do in the States. Go with the house wine here.
I was born and bred in New England and still visit in the off-season. One year a bunch of buddies and I did a 200-mile ride from Portland, Maine, through New Hampshire to Waterbury, Vermont, and that route was a food-lovers paradise. In Portland, you have to go to Allagash Brewery, and Fore Street is a diamond in the rough. In Vermont, we stopped at visited Hill Farmstead Brewery and the Alchemist—they are both magical places for beer.”
George Hincapie, former pro cyclist and owner of Hotel Domestique, Greenville, SC
“Here in Greenville, I love the Parkway Loop. You leave Greenville, head up Caesars Head, then up 215 to Parkway, then Parkway to 276, drop down into Brevard and back up the backside of Caesars Head. It’s about 7 hours with more than 10,000 feet of climbing. When I ride in Girona, Spain, I always eat at Nu restaurant. In France, I’d always make a point to eat at La Mère Germaine in a small village in the heart of Châteauneuf-du Pape. The menu changes daily based on what’s available at market.”
Jody Adams, chef of Rialto, Cambridge, Mass. and Trade, Boston
“My absolute favorite ride is the two-day PMC [Pan-Mass Challenge]. On the second day my team gathers in Provincetown at Nor’East Beer Garden for burgers and beers. My favorite training ride for the PMC is about 80 miles from Brookline to Bolton. The ride takes me through different terrains with some good climbs and one great view. We gather at Cafe Fixe in Brookline for a cappuccino. First stop is in Lexington at Ride Studio Cafe for a second shot of caffeine, a cortado; second stop is the Harvard General Store, then I hightail it to Trade for a beer, a tuna crudo, and a flatbread. Trade has become a go-to spot for cyclists.”
Bobby Stuckey, Master Sommelier, Frasca Food and Wine, Boulder, CO
“This past summer, I had the opportunity to ride the beautiful Monte Zoncolan in Friuli, Italy with Sam Beall of Blackberry Farm and former pro-cyclist Craig Lewis. It’s one of the epic climbs of the Giro d’Italia race.
At the top of the mountain, we enjoyed magnums of Champagne and pasta with handpicked mushrooms from the region with Josko and Mitja Sirk of La Subida, a small hotel in the hills, amidst the most famous Collio Goriziano vineyards. If I couldn’t eat on top of a mountain, I’d still enjoy a post-race meal at La Subida’s restaurant: the food, wine and hospitality is top notch.”
Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson, chef, Frasca Food and Wine, Boulder, CO
“With a home base in Boulder and its 300-plus days of sunshine a year, I pretty much ride five to six days a week. Locally, we are blessed with some of the best road riding in the world and my true favorite ride from town is connecting Boulder to the Peak to Peak Highways via Left Hand Canyon and back down through Jamestown or Sugarloaf. This route is spectacular in either direction.
If anyone is looking for a weekend cycling destination in the U.S., you can’t get any better then staying at Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee or the Hotel Domestique in Greenville, South Carolina. Both owners are avid cyclists and the terrain in and around the Smoky Mountains is extraordinary for riding.”
Michael Chiarello, chef of Bottega in Napa and Coqueta in San Francisco
“My favorite ride is just outside my backyard in Napa up the mountain, on Old Howell Mountain road. That’s the same road that we have my Fondo. I love the peacefulness of this climb and there are very few cars. Some days when I’m feeling a bit more fired up, I’ll push myself all 3+ miles of this first climb; but other days I just chill and am thankful for the saddle time. Once you hit the top of Howell Mountain you keep climbing to the top of Angwin, then descend down the smooth pavement of Howell Mountain Road into Pope Valley. Waiting for me at the bottom is this funky old store, Pope Valley Market—it’s got everything a cyclist could need.”
Daniel Humm, chef of Eleven Madison Park, NYC
“Provence is one of my favorite places in the world for so many reasons, and riding is one of them. Luberon in the summer is a special place, stunningly beautiful, but with wonderful biking conditions. I often stay at Domaine de Capelongue, a beautiful Relais & Chateaux property. Any ride in Provence brings with it the smells of your surroundings—lavender, wild flowers, and herbs. Plus, the views of mountains, sunflower fields, and goats and sheep grazing are hard to beat. When I want a challenge, I bike the intense Mont Ventoux climb.
I absolutely love the BC Bike Race, a seven-day mountain bike race from Victoria to Whistler in British Columbia. The scenery is breathtaking and the race covers some exciting and beautiful terrain. And the simple produce and seafood everywhere around the region is all of the best quality.”
Seamus Mullen, chef of Tertulia and El Colmado Butchery, NYC
“My favorite spring/summer race would be the New York Gran Fondo. There’s something really electrifying about being on a road I’ve been on hundreds of times before but with thousands of other cyclists. Plus, it’s in my backyard. Runcible Spoon Bakery in Nyack is perfect for a mid-ride coffee and pick-me-up.”
Christian Pappanicholas, owner of Resto and the Cannibal, NYC
“River Road [or Henry Hudson Drive] is just the most beautiful thing. I first discovered the route by following a group of cyclists over the GW Bridge out of Manhattan. You come off the bridge and make a left and end up in this little oasis with a super steep downhill. You are minutes from Manhattan but surrounded by trees and great riding. By the time you’ve come back over the bridge you’ve ridden about 60 miles and I keep going straight to Morgenstern’s to eat ice cream.”
Matt Accarino, chef of SPQR, San Francisco
“My favorite spring bike race is the Tour of California. It is one of the best multi-day races in North America and brings a lot of great riders and general excitement to Northern California. The race passes through the Santa Barbara area most years. It’s beautiful country, great for cycling. I trained there this spring, taking in the scenery and also making time for some wine tasting. In the evening after, a long ride, I like eating at the bar at the Hitching Post II in Buellton. A steak is pretty good after climbing nearby Mount Figueroa with my Carmichael Training System coaches. Full of Life Flatbread, which is north of Buellton in Los Alamos, is good for pizza. The race-support drivers and mechanics like eating there.”