Quick Dinner Ideas for a Bike Tour

Quick Dinner Ideas

Quick Dinner Ideas for a Bike Tour

Quick Dinner Ideas

We talked about quick breakfast ideas that are my go-to’s in camp, so now let’s focus on dinner. I’m skipping lunch since I usually eat out and rarely cook during the day so that I can just enjoy the ride instead. Dinner is a sacred time as you’re starving after a long day on the saddle. Naturally, you want to make things that are easy, fast, and delicious. Here are some of my dinner ideas when I am on the road.


The staple to most bike tourists is pasta, whether it is penne, spaghetti, macaroni, or the spirally pasta salad varieties. You just boil 2 cups of water, add in some pasta and regulate the flame (so that you don’t overheat the bottom of your cook kit resulting in pasta getting stuck to the bottom). I personally like penne as they are easier to manage in terms of using my spork to stir it around. Spaghetti gets to be too difficult to scoop and check. I like mine al dente, so I try to get it out of the water sooner than what they recommend.

I usually boil spaghetti sauce or alfredo sauce. The only trouble with that is carrying the jar of sauce with you. It’s just a lot of sauce to be traveling with, so we usually opt to get tomato sauce or paste. We would add vegetables, like diced tomatoes, peas, or corn with the sauce. We can include a slice of meat, either hot links or Spam along with our sauce for needed protein.

Another alternative with pasta is to make a pasta salad. That’s simply taking some tuna, mayonnaise, and relish mixing it up to make tuna salad and then throwing it on top of cooked pasta that’s been cooled down. Yum!

Mashed Potato Eiffel Tower

Photo Credit: ge’shmally via Compfight cc

Mashed Potatoes

I discovered this awesome simple meal to prepare from a fellow bike tourist during our Pacific Coast tour. She told me about these Idahoan mashed potato packets that you can pick up at any grocery store. All that’s required is 2 cups of boiled water, with which you pour in the dry mashed potato mix and stir. After a few minutes, the mix coagulates with the water and magically forms into tasty mashed potato.

I’ve picked up a few of these whenever I can as they make a good side dish to your main course, and one packet is plenty to share between 2 – 3 people. They come in all types of flavors. You can even mix in a bit of chili for a complete meal with protein.



Making tacos on the road was a lot simpler than I initially thought. You just need to buy 1 lb of grounded beef for 2 people, taco shells or tortillas, a packet of taco seasoning, fresh tomatoes and lettuce, and hot sauce. You cook the grounded beef first until it turns brown. Add the seasoning to it. Dice up the tomatoes and lettuce. Get the taco shells and tortillas ready to be stuffed with ground beef and veggies. A very delicious and quick meal to prepare. The only setback is that this can get pretty messy to clean with the leftover oil and all.

Pizza w/heart-shape pepporoni

Photo Credit: Sakurako Kitsa via Compfight cc

Pita Pizza

Another quick recipe that I have had on the road is a pita pizza. You buy some pita bread, tomato sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese, and pepperoni. Put the sauce in the pita, then layer it with some mozzarella cheese, and then a final layer of pepperoni. Heat it over a pan maybe even over a flame using aluminium foil. I learned this one from my brother-in-law, Sang Hyun, as this is one of his favorite go-to meals. Interestingly enough, we never got to eat this on our way down the coast last summer. Go figure.


Photo Credit: MinivanNinja via Compfight cc


This was also another thing we learned while coming down the Pacific Coast. I believe it was from my good friend Evadne. She was carrying with her a set of skewers. We actually went and bought a set to bring with us to cook food over the campfire. We would buy steak, bell peppers, and onions. Cut those up into chunks and put them through the skewers. Cook it over an open fire, and it makes a deliciously good meal. Again, with pitas or bread to pair off the meat and vegetable, you can get more carbohydrates. Just don’t over do it with the meat. It can get pretty tempting to eat only meat as your body craves it, but it’ll be wise for you to consume more carbohydrates. See my post which explains why 60% of your meals should consist of carbohydrates.

Kabobs can only work if your campfire setup allows you to grill food over the top. We tried and failed miserably when we tried to make our own apparatus to cool the skewers on.

Rotisserie Chicken & Pita or Tortilla

This is probably the easiest and fastest dinner, besides buying food at a restaurant or fast food place. You just go into a supermarket chain and buy a cooked rotisserie chicken. Pick up pita bread and tortillas along with your whole chicken. Go into camp and just use the pita or tortilla to pull apart the meat. One whole chicken is plenty to feed 2 hungry cyclists. No cooking is involved. Be sure to throw in some vegetables and fruits with this meal as this is very protein rich.

This is my favorite meal after spending a long day on the saddle, and I don’t have the patience to cook. It also works out if I know the campsite is very close so that the food doesn’t get cold. As you can imagine this gets messy. Really messy, so be prepared.

Ramen & MRE

I typically don’t eat too much ramen on my trips, but if it’s the only thing available then it will have to do. Ramen contains too much sodium and is really not that good for you. I do bring a Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE) package, which is freeze-dried food. They are light to carry and is one of the favorite foods among backpackers. I have one with me for emergencies when I get into camp late or if we can’t find a supermarket. You just boil water and add it to the package. You eat out of the package. After you’re done, you can rinse out the package and reuse it as a bowl so that it’s easier to clean the next time. A tip I got from a friend who works as a trail crew in Sequoia National Park. My brand of choice is Mountain House. They taste the best out of all the brands that are out there. These are also very high in sodium so be on the look out for that if you have high blood pressure issues.

Final Thoughts

Like my breakfast ideas, these are certainly not gourmet meals. They just get the job done and suits my palate after a long day.  You can always go out and buy sandwiches or make sandwiches as you go. That is certainly a possibility. Preparing for food becomes more of an issue when you’re traveling outside of well-populated areas. This would probably be an issue when you’re riding through the Southern Tier in places like Texas, where the only food source is a convenience store or gas station. Be prepared and you should fair well.

Do you have any quick dinner ideas? I would love to hear about them in the comments below. Something simple to cook and clean, as well as be tasty, are my requirements.

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  • Frosene Sacco
    Posted at 22:26h, 03 July

    I LOVE Idahoan potatoes.
    On the Trans Am in Ennis, I was craving a LOADED BAKED POTATO. This was the result.
    We also added a can of spicy chili, cheese, green onion, sour cream.
    Still one of my all time cheap and easy faves!!!

    • Johnny Lam
      Posted at 23:02h, 01 October

      @Frosene Sacco – How do you make Loaded Baked Potato?