By JB Rumburg
My fiancee teases me about my cheese belly. Unfortunately, for me, it is an occupational hazard of being a cheesemonger.
I live, breathe and often dream about cheese. In fact, the only thing I might be more obsessed with than cheese is bicycling.
Growing up in Mill Valley, cheese and bikes were two formative influences on my upbringing. On March 3, I get to merge these two loves in the Tour du Fromage, a cheese-focused bike tour of San Francisco.
The Tour du Fromage is a blending of San Francisco’s cycling community and our cheese community – two passionate and surprisingly connected groups. All cheese and bike lovers are welcome. Together we will ride to some of the best independent cheese shops in San Francisco, including Other Avenues (3930 Judah St.), Rainbow Grocery (1745 Folsom St.), Mission Cheese (736 Valencia St.), Little Vine (1541 Grant Ave.), Say Cheese (856 Cole St.) and Cheese Plus (2001 Polk St.).
At each shop expect a sample or two selected by the cheesemonger and fun facts pertaining to either milk varieties, aging process or pairing suggestions.
The Bay Area has a rich history of cheese makers and purveyors, spanning the likes of Ig Vella to Sue Conley and Peggy Smith of Cowgirl Creamery. San Francisco is lucky to have one of the pre-eminent cheesemongers in the nation, in Gordon Edgar of Rainbow Grocery Cooperative.
A handful of Bay Area cooperatives (the Cheese Board, Rainbow Grocery and Other Avenues) have contributed a legacy of knowledge and shaped how people in our city eat and view cheese today. What you will find at all the stops on the Tour du Fromage are well-curated selections of cheese that reflect each cheesemonger’s taste and those of their neighborhoods and communities.
The tour itself isn’t for the faint of heart (or, rather, the faint of belly). There will be some hills, but we’ll be powered by delicious, protein-packed cheese. Plus, riding bikes with friends is just easier than riding alone.
So, come out for the Tour de Fromage. The ride promises to stretch your legs and your taste buds, taking you to the far reaches of the fromage frontier – from Ocean Beach to North Beach and beyond. And hey, if you aren’t already a lover of cheese and cycling, this ride may just make you as obsessed as I am.
Tour du Fromage: 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. March 3. Rides are free for S.F. Bicycle Coalition members; a $5 donation from non-members is appreciated. Meet at McLaren Lodge, 501 Stanyan St. Rain cancels ride. Bring a lock for your bicycle. www.sfbike.org/?chain.
Bike About Town is presented by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, a 12,000-member nonprofit dedicated to creating safer streets and more livable communities by promoting the bicycle for everyday transportation. For more biking resources, go to www.sfbike.org,
JB Rumburg is a freelance writer. email@example.com