I love food. I am food-motivated. Who isn't? Often times I find myself out on a ride and in my mind I'm already planning where to stop afterwards to get a bite to eat. When I'm lost in thought thinking of burritos is usually when I clip my pedal on a rock and take a tumble. But that hasn't stopped me from daydreaming about post-ride food. Besides, there's nothing more rewarding after a day out on the trail than to stop out some local eatery and replenish those "lost calories."
More than simply thinking about food, I think about such things as the impact economically on local communities that sports and activities such as mountain biking brings. For a stretch of time within the last few years I had spent a good amount of time reading about how not only tourism, but mountain biking specifically, has on local economies. I visited numerous places, most often small towns, that were in the midst of transitioning their economies from resource extraction (e.g. mining, timber, etc) to something new. More often than not the storyline was the same. When the mill or the mine closed it sent shock waves throughout the community as jobs were lost. People would move out, population would dwindle, and the plight of the community spiraled downward.
But then in some places visionaries began beating a different drum. Rather than digging deeper to reestablish some lost industry, instead they spoke of tourism dollars, building new trails, and the economic benefits this can have on their community. Impassioned by a new future, they cast a vision of what could be. The mine closed. The mill shuttered its operations. The genie cannot be put back into the bottle. Instead, the only way forward was truly to go forward.
That's why burritos matter. Yes, its about fun and replenishment after your ride whether you're alone or with your squad. But it is more than. It is a direct and tangible investment within a local economy. The effect is cyclical. The more burritos you eat and the more is invested locally it spurs on more trail building which brings more riders and thus more income to the local economy. Obviously, that's an oversimplification, but you get the point.
Your love of burritos becomes a win-win for everyone. You win because of the fat burrito that you eat. They (the business owners and community) win because of your investment in their business and local economy. So yes, the next time you ride, stop for the burrito.
Words by Sean Benesh, Loam Coffee Founder and Brand Manager. Photo by Mike Cartier