Biking to Breakfast

I am riding the recumbent bike inside today.  I have already done 25 minutes of drop sets as weight training, so am warmed up nicely for my cardio session.    I sit back in the seat and pedal harder and harder to try and get my heart rate up.  My leg muscles protest, the motion unfamiliar to them since I have been running so much;  it does not help that the bike has a scanning  monitor that gives me the length of time I have been riding, the speed at which I pedal, the number of miles I have covered, and my pulse.  Despite the long phone call with my mother and then the music booming through the living room speakers, time crawls like a wounded animal.   I can’t keep my eyes from the little gray screen in front of me.  It’s there, so I am compelled to watch it.  I try intervals, speeding up to 20 mph for two minutes, then slowing down to 13 or 14 to recover for a minute before speeding up again.  I look out the window and see my friend Amy speed-walking by with her golden retriever.  If I had worn pants today, I would jump off the bike and hurry outdoors to join her.  Unfortunately, I am wearing shorts and a tank; the thermometer reads 19 degrees.  I can’t change and get out there in time to catch her.  I am desperate.  My clothes are soaked with sweat; there’s no doubt I am getting a workout.  I try to conjure up a little summer in my head and think about being outside.

I love biking.  When it’s warm out, I ride my bike for about half and hour or a little longer after a run as a cool down. Speeding along, the wind and wind resistance help to evaporate the sweat from my body.   I feel exhilarated and have enough energy  left after a run to fly down hills and pump the pedals hard to move up them.  To really get going, I stand up and pedal, the same as I did when I was a kid biking around our neighborhood.  I whiz past marshes and ocean all the way to Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester, never wondering how far I have gone or what speed I have attained.  I don’t look at my watch to see when the ride will be over.  It’s my bike and me, out riding until I decide to turn around and go home.

But here in the living room, I struggle to keep my mind busy.  My book group meets today and I have not yet prepared anything to eat.  One of the women is gluten intolerant, so I focus on making a yummy breakfast she can eat.  It’s too cold for yogurt and fruit and I don’t have enough interesting fruit in the house to make fruit salad anyway. I have eggs, and lots of vegetables, a little cheese left over from pizza night.  I’ll make  frittata— similar to a a quiche but without the crust.  I speed up, hurrying the final mile so I can move to the kitchen.

Finally, fresh and clean after a shower, I chop onions, bell peppers and broccoli.  I pull the tall box of egg substitute from the refrigerator and dig around for the cheese.  I find the chipotle Tabasco and pile everything on the counter.  I lift the heavy old cast iron skillet from the cupboard beneath the oven, set it on the stove, and pour in a dollop of olive oil.  My mouth waters as I toss the vegetables into the skillet and begin to saute them.

Hot coffee, a warm cranberry apricot bread, and the frittata are ready for the women when they arrive.  The frittata is puffed, golden and steaming hot.   It has been all I can do not to start eating without them.  We move to the dining room and I serve everyone a big slice.  We eat and talk about the book we read, Tim Egan’s The Worst Hard Time, and when we are done talking, there are only two small pieces of egg left in the skillet.  We note how lucky we are to have the lives we have, as opposed to the hearty survivors of the Dust Bowl, the topic of our book.  Betsy asked for the recipe for the frittata, and I promised her I would write it down.



9-10 fresh large eggs, well beaten or 32 oz. liquid egg substitute

about 3 cups chopped vegetables (I used 1/2 lg onion, 1/2 red bell pepper, 1 lg. broccoli crown, and a handful of cherry tomatoes)

4-6 oz. shredded cheese, cheddar is good, but use whatever you like or have on hand

1 Tbsp. olive oil


In a large cast iron skillet, heat the oil and add the onion and pepper.  Saute until onion begins to soften, about 2 minutes.  Add the broccoli and cook about 3 minutes more.   Halve the tomatoes and stir into the mixture.

Pour 1/2 the eggs or egg substitute into the skillet.  Sprinkle the cheese on top, then add the remaining eggs.  Cook over medium-low heat until eggs begin to set.

Move oven rack to highest position.  Turn on broiler and place skillet on rack.  Broil about 7-10 minutes, checking every minute after the first 7 minutes until eggs are puffed, golden and set.  Pierce the frittata with a knife here and there, making sure it is cooked through.  If  the frittata is getting too brown but not cooked through, move the skillet down one rack level to finish.

Carefully remove skillet from the oven and set on a heat-proof surface.  Allow to cool for a couple of minutes, then slice into wedges.  Run a small sharp knife around the edge of the frittata and remove wedges with a spatula.  Serves 6.

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5 Comments on “Biking to Breakfast”

  1. lise Says:

    Sounds like a perfect day. Tell me more about the Worst Hard Time….worth reading or too depressing?

  2. lise Says:

    And by the way I read the title as bikini to breakfast and had to reread the title at the end when you never mentioned a bikini.:)

  3. Sharon Says:

    So did the book group enjoy the book? And do you have a recipe for the cranberry apricot bread sounds delicious!

  4. Craig Says:

    I know just how you feel about that recumbent bike. It makes my lower back go numb after about 30 minutes, but I keep on going.

  5. […] friend Sharon asked for my recipe I mentioned in the piece Biking To Breakfast.  I am sharing this delicious recipe here for everyone.  Before I do, I want to explain why this […]

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