In my book, a good exercise session involves a worthy reward. I’ll walk for miles if my journey ends at the ice cream shop. I’ll jog—to meet a friend for a manicure. And if there’s a picnic finale for my bike ride, I’ll be pulling on my spandex shorts.
I love to bike—I really do. Since I spend a lot of time cooking and eating, and I’m known to mix up drinks to toast, with friends, to all our hard work, I end up craving the physical exertion of a cruise through the park, both the tough uphills and the exuberant downhills. (I waxed poetic about riding the Manhattan Bridge recently, in this post, and I’ll actually have more about biking for you tomorrow.)
By the time I’m done sweating, my mind and body are both in the mood to relax and hang out with friends. Even as summer gently morphs into fall, that hang out can still be a picnic. If you’re planning to meet up with friends, best to pack your blanket, snacks, and drinks in a sturdy backpack so you can concentrate on the ride. That means a couple laps around the park, or a decently long jaunt on the path by the waterfront.
I can’t carry all the picnic necessities as I ride, so any mobile picnic has to be a potluck. I’m happy to tote the bottle of Smirnoff Sorbet Light Lemon, so long as I’ve assigned the limes, seltzer, and lemon-lime soda to a buddy.
Other necessities? Cups, of course. Plates, napkins, and some kind of silverware is preferable, if you only use those plastic knives to cut limes and stir drinks. (I should say: check out the rules that apply to your public spaces to be sure you can drink there.) I also recommend a Frisbee, for when you get your second wind, post-ride.
Rest the bike, unpack the backpack, pop open the drink. Sitting at a post-bike picnic, matching cheese to crackers and sipping my cocktail, I’m pretty sure I’ll never dread working out again.