Bike riders in New South Wales have been spreading jam and cream, not the virus, along a new country trail that has gained popularity through the pandemic.
The Central West Cycling Trail was launched in July by volunteers at the Mudgee Bushwalkers and Bike Riders group, after giving up on the exhaustive rail trail debate in NSW, and opting instead to design a route along quiet roads connecting quaint country towns.
And perhaps unsurprisingly, bike riders have made it all about the food stops along the way.
Goodfood.com.au described the trail as "a 400-kilometre tour of small towns and wild flowers in the Wiradjuri nation, with many opportunities for country cooking along the way. Baked treats are provided by friendly farmers."
Route designer David Allworth says that the food angle has been great for riders and businesses along the route, stating: "I've been amazed that if you put a scone in front of cyclists, it becomes the talk of the trail. People start altering their stopping points."
And now good old fashioned country pubs along the way have started to happily add vegetarian options and event craft beers to their menu to cater for the new lycra-clad crowd.
Ballimore pub owner Bill O'Leary told Good Food: "Our lamb cutlets and parma have always been the most popular menu items, but with more health-conscious cyclists coming through, the vegetarian burger has become a big seller. We're now creating other plant-based dishes. It's not a big stretch to offer food which appeals to a hell of a lot more patrons."
But don't worry, the parma isn't going anywhere. As rider/photographer Patrick Tangye said: "When you're wrecked and starving after riding 80 kilometres, a big country parma is as good as it gets."
This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.