Marty, Ben, and Mike from The Heywood Ride can regularly be seen sharing gravel charcuterie posts from their local rides as well as big races like The Mid South. But what's behind it, and is it an actual thing? Here we discuss the spirit behind gravel charcuterie and how it all started.
Chatting with Marty, Ben, & Mike from The Heywood Ride
So how did gravel charcuterie start
I think charcuterie and gravel really started with the desire to eat real food while riding. Gels, bars, and other ride marketed foods have their place, but when we started riding rides like Almanzo and other all day events, food with substance started to become much more enjoyable.
Friends used to put on an aid station at Forrestville State Park and they used to have beer, meat, cheese etc, which was amazing 60 some miles into the day.
From there it transitioned to this additional idea of taking time to really enjoy these rides. Stopping to eat with friends, enjoying the food, conversation and camaraderie really plays a big part in this idea for us. We’re none of us fast, we may as well have fun.
What do you bring and how do you carry it?
You gotta have a knife. Small knifes with thin blades work great. They’re not a bad idea to carry adventuring anyway, and cut meat, cheese and fruit well. A small cutting board is nice if you have room for it, if not, paper wrapped salami or cured meats work great for establishing a clean work station.
Various bag types work great for carrying food etc. We’re big fans of bar bags, and half top tube bags. They offer more room than you need, key if you're bringing food to share with others (which you should).
What foods and ingredients do you recommend?
Basically anything that you'd eat at home that won’t melt. A mix of salty and sweet is nice, as is a mix of textures.
You do this on casual rides and at races. What's the spirit behind the charcuterie board?
This goes hand and hand with the idea of our loosely confederated, fake racing team, Faux Preaux Racing. Its the idea that we are all participants in races, not racers. We’re mid pack finishers at best at most of the events we participate in.
Why not enjoy the time spent to the fullest?
The spirit of gravel charcuterie is based on that idea, that we’re all in this together to live these events and experiences to the fullest. It's about sharing, meeting new people, listening to and sharing stories, and about having and helping people have a great time.
We took over eight hours to ride the MidSouth 50 mile race this year. We had an hour and a half lunch in the shade of a ditch tree and cheered people on, shared food with them, and had an amazing time. I, (Ben,) went swimming in a lake at one point. It was a fantastic day in all measures. We wouldn't do it any differently.
I think thats about it. It boils down to camaraderie and sharing the joy of being on a bike in beautiful settings.