Bicycle Bites is a series of guided bike tours of international dumplings in Brooklyn. We'll be exploring the diversity of our neighborhoods by bicycle, fueling our rides with delicious dumplings from local businesses.
More than a dozen countries from around the world can claim dumplings—which I’ve loosely defined as something delicious wrapped in dough—as a part of their cuisine. Many of those cuisines even include several types of dumplings—savory and sweet! We’re lucky to live in a city that welcomes people from all over the world, and celebrates both our differences and similarities. Let’s try as many dumplings as we can, evoking memories of other foods we’ve had in our travels, our childhoods, or even in our day of biking around eating dumplings.
Brooklyn is home to more than 300 miles of bike paths and lanes, the most of NYC's 5 boroughs. Not only does biking allow us to cover the most ground in the least amount of time, it also lets us connect with and enjoy our neighborhoods, in a way that's not possible when we're zipping around on the subway underground. Plus, we'll be building our appetites for our next delicious dumpling stop!
I’ve set the dates for 2 tours to get started this spring: the first, on May 6, is for omnivores, and the other, on May 13, is geared towards vegetarians, or vegetarian food lovers. All are welcome on either tour. They'll both be about 10–12 miles on various bike paths and roads. We’ll be getting dumplings from at least 3 places during each tour. The cuisines that might be covered include Chinese, Georgian, Korean, Polish, Slovakian, Tibetan, Turkish, Ukrainian, and Uzbek.
I'm starting out with two rides for now, and if stars align, more events this year. Funds will go towards dumplings, staffing up the rides to help keep everyone safe, and rewards (plus Kickstarter). I'm excited to share this experience with more lovers of biking and dumplings!
How it all began
I first started thinking about this after a trip to Turkey, where I had manti for the first time — tiny pieces of dough wrapped around specks of lamb, covered in a yogurt sauce. I was struck by how far from home I was, and far from where my family is from — Vietnam and China — yet here I was, eating dumplings, covered in yogurt, in Turkey. Since then, I've led two small groups on dumpling rides, and most recently, a group of 12 on a ride through Ditmas Park, Sunset Park, and Gowanus for delicious dumplings.
I was born and raised in Boston, to a Vietnamese refugee mom, and an entrepreneurial Chinese-American dad. I've always admired the strength and bravery of my mom for fleeing communist Vietnam with her brothers and starting over in a foreign land, and the courage and skill it took for my dad to establish and lead two small businesses as I was growing up. I think these elements of my upbringing are the foundation of my deep appreciation for New York City’s wide array of people and cultures.
It took a ridiculously long time for me to learn how to ride a bike. The pressure was on during the summer before fourth grade—that was the year the entire class went on a bicycle safety field trip—how embarrassing it’d be to have to sit it out! Luckily, it clicked one day that summer, and my struggles remained a secret.
As an adult, I fell in love with biking in the summer of 2012, when my friends Michelle and Emily invited me to join them on the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative’s Epic Ride: 40 miles from Greenpoint to the Rockaways. At that point, I didn’t even own a bike, so I rented one and got hooked. I bought my first bike that August, carrying it up and down my 5th floor walk-up more often than I expected I would.
Five years later, I would still describe myself as a very casual cyclist. I generally just love being on my bike, exploring the city on a beautiful day—it just doesn’t seem right that it’s so efficient, economical, healthy, and makes no environmental impact! My favorite rides are on the Shore Parkway Greenway and the Jamaica Bay Greenway in Brooklyn, and on the Greenway along the Hudson River in Manhattan.
I’m now a grad student at the School of Visual Arts, studying interaction design, after 8 years building a career in nonprofit communications.
Risks and challenges
Biking in the City. I'll try to keep us on bike paths as much as possible, but it will be necessary to ride alongside traffic on roads without bike lanes at times.
Weather. If it rains, depending on its intensity, we'll either forge ahead or reschedule for the next day (Sunday).
Time. The schedule needs to be pretty flexible, in case it takes a while for food, or if it takes longer to get around.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (14 days)