Hop on your Bicycle & Tabbouleh

It must be spring; herds of cyclists have taken to the roads. Is herd the right word here? Perhaps flock or pack makes more sense. Flock because they fly by in their brightly colored spandex. Pack because of their tight formation as they careen down country roads. Whether you ride solo or are part of a team, gaggle or gang, it’s time to dust off your bicycle and take it on the road.

Even if they lack the romance and mystique of an easy riding Harley, bicycles gave us one of our first, intoxicating taste of freedom. Our bikes quickly took us out of shouting distance from Mom and Dad. We could cruise over to the schoolyard to swing on the swings, down to Longfellow Pond or nowhere in particular. By far, the best part was coasting down Jackson Road in joyful no-hands, no-feet abandon.

Perhaps you know, perhaps you don’t but May is National Bicycle Month. I can’t think of a better time to slip into some spandex and hit the road. If you are more the mountain bike type, hit an old logging road or rail trail. Chances are good that you’ll capture at least a bit of the heady freedom you felt at ten. Not convinced? Here are a few excellent reasons to hop on a bike!

It’s good for your heart and your head. Cycling improves stamina, strength and endurance. Watching your weight? Nothing like a spin on your bike to help keep the pounds under control. Exercise is also good for reducing stress. You’ve probably heard of the runner’s high, well, it works with biking too.

Not just for stress reduction, aerobic exercise is good for clearing your head and problem solving. Whether it is the change of scenery or the flow of oxygen to your noggin, cycling will help you think creatively and find answers. Want proof? Albert Einstein claimed he came up with the theory of relativity while riding his bicycle.

By the way, if you are a regular runner or walker, it’s not a bad idea to switch it up from time to time. An added inducement, the black flies are thick as thieves these days. You definitely can’t outwalk them (I have a few bites to prove it) and it’s hard to outrun them. However, you can probably outride them.

You’ll save money. Whether you use your bicycle to commute to work or for your daily trip to the post office, you’ll save at the pump and on your car’s daily wear and tear.

Not just good for your wallet, biking is good for the planet. Thirty percent of greenhouse emissions in the US are motor vehicle related.

Besides, you’ll be amazed at what you miss whizzing around in a car. A bike slows you down and let’s you check out the scenery. Spring daffodils, a family of loons and much more awaits you. Biking provides a more intimate view of the world.

Shopaholics will be delighted. Whether you favor the outrageously colorful or something cool and subdued, a slinky, new wardrobe is calling. (If the thought of spandex terrifies you, it’s okay to wear a pair of old shorts or snap a rubber band around the bottom of your khakis.) Even if you forgo those zippy bike shorts, the shops may still beckon. What better way to show off the fit, new you than a new outfit (maybe two)?

Have fun and bon appétit!

A delicious addition to your next cookout or picnic, this healthy salad will taste even better after a nice bike ride. Enjoy!
Serves 8

1/4 cup bulgur (cracked wheat)
2-3 scallions, thinly sliced, white and light green parts separated from the dark green
2 cloves garlic, minced
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch allspice
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Extra virgin olive oil
2 cups roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered depending on the size
1 European cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped

Put the bulgur in a bowl and stir in 1/2 cup boiling water to cover the bulgur plus about an inch, cover the bowl and let sit for 15 minutes. If necessary, drain well through a fine mesh sieve, pressing out any excess water.

While the bulgur soaks, put the white and light green parts of the scallions, garlic and lemon zest in a large bowl, season with cinnamon, allspice, salt and pepper, drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, and toss to combine.

Add the bulgar to scallions and garlic and tossing frequently, cool to room temperature. Add the fresh herbs, dark green part of the scallions and juice of 1/2 lemon to the tabbouleh and toss again. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to combine the flavors.

Prep the tomatoes and cucumbers and put them in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, drizzle with a little olive oil and remaining lemon juice and toss to combine. Add the tomatoes and cucumbers to the bulgur and toss again.

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One Year Ago – Mixed Greens with Grilled Asparagus, Cucumber & Avocado
Two Years Ago – Grilled Balsamic Vegetables
Three Years Ago – New Potato Salad Dijon
Four Years Ago – Israeli Couscous Salad with Grilled Vegetables
Five Years Ago – Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
Six Years Ago – Feta Walnut Spread
Seven Years Ago – Bruschetta with Grilled Vegetables & Gorgonzola

Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

How do you stay fit in warm weather? Feel free to share.

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2016

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