dandyEATS: Hearty homemade soup with Alex Legum


Sometimes even the most dedicated winter cyclists need some incentive to brave the chill and icy streets, and there's nothing that warms you more than a favourite meal. This is part of a dandyhorse winter series where we track the winter riding habits of cyclists and follow them along to their favourite restaurant, where they tell us about their favourite dish on the menu.

dandyEATS: Hearty homemade soup with Alex Legum

Why and how do you ride in winter? What makes it more challenging that summer riding? 
Riding keeps me moving more than anything else through the winter. Fresh air is key for me to stay happy throughout the year, and staying on the bike lets that happen. It's also still the cheapest and most reliable way to get around. 

Good layering (clothes that let me move around), good gear (windproof and waterproof), and keeping deadly salt off my bike are the biggest challenges. 

What are your tips for new winter cyclists?

For those new to winter riding, I recommend stopping by your local DIY shop monthly to take a look at your bike and lube all of its moving parts - chain, cables, derailleurs and brake pivots. You can do this at home too, but getting someone to walk you through it the first couple of times makes it easier.


What do you wear while winter riding?
I wear a lot of wool. A wool something over my ears, a windproof shell with some wool underneath, winter boots, wool socks, lobster gloves and ski goggles. Ski goggles are my favourite thing when it's below -5, or if anything cold and wet is coming from the sky. I hate scarves - they make me overheat - but goggles keep my face warm anyway. I ordered some quality, fog-proof goggles through Sweet Pete's from Giro so they're good to go all season, no matter the temperature. I have zippers in key spots to deal with aforementioned overheating, and I keep the layers thin so I don't feel trapped.

What modifications do you make to your bike?
It depends on where I'm going! I commute on the mountain bike trails to work. This year I'm taking advantage of the fact that we're doing fat bike rentals at Sweet Pete's and I'm riding a 2016 Kona Wo with 4.8" tires and 26" wheels. This bike lets me ride the trails without sliding off if they're icy or snowy and without chewing up the trail if it's a little more on the wet side. It's pretty wacky fun. I also have some amazing lights from Gemini that light up the trail. I almost always work past 5 p.m., and a high power light is absolutely necessary for riding trails at night without injury.
If I'm going somewhere further afield, I use my winter-ready commuter. I have a lovely three speed with cruiser bars and fenders to keep me upright and dry.

What do you do for a living? 

I'm the Program Coordinator for the Active Living program with Evergreen - which just boils down to managing most of the fun things that involve movement at the Brick Works. I manage Bike Works - the DIY shop on site - in addition to helping out with the bike programming involving Sweet Pete's. I also coordinate the yoga program, walks and hikes, active and adventure lifestyle partnerships and running. I also help with major festivals and celebrations like our upcoming Family Day Celebration on February 15 

What's your fave winter food? Tell us about your favourite dish.

Soup! I am all about soup in the winter. I do pretty much only home cooking in the winter - a habit from being less employed in the winter months while working as a bike mechanic. I make a lot of spicy squash-based soups for maximum warming. It's also a great draw to getting people to come over rather than having to leave the house.C360_2016-01-25-14-51-18-213

Tell us a bit about the route you ride to the restaurant (from home or work or school)?

My commute to food (read: home) is the best. I leave the Brick Works and head up the goat trail next to the railroad tracks that parallels Bayview. Then I duck into the Pottery Road trail head parking lot and do the climb up to Loblaws. As long as I don't have anywhere to be, I do a downhill loop or two in Crothers Woods. The ride from Loblaws to my house is about one kilometre, so I grin the rest of the way and think about how much I like bikes. I start and end my day with trail riding, and I'm loving not having to take much of a break from the trails this winter, thanks to my Wo (just can't ride trails on the really sloppy days).


Anything else you want to include?
You asked for a recipe! Here ya go:
Alex Legum's Squash and Whatever Else is in the Fridge Soup (6qts)

  • 1 Squash (I usually butternut, but you can use anything)
  • 2-3 white/yellow onions
  • 2-3 leeks
  • 1 head of garlic (maybe you don't like garlic as much as I do)
  • 1-4 jalapenos
  • 3-4 carrots
  • 3-4 sticks of celery
  • 2-4 small red potatoes
  • 1 litre of stock (veg, chicken, anything)
  • 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp of berbere (or some other mix of cumin, coriander, cayenne, paprika, fennel, etc.)
  • Coconut or olive oil or butter
  • Sometimes more green things!
  1. Sauté the smaller things (garlic, onion, jalapeno, and leeks) in oil/butter on low to medium heat until soft
  2. Add spices and mix 'em around
  3. Heat up stock
  4. Throw the rest of the things in the pot
  5. Pour stock over things
  6. Cover rest of the way with water
  7. Simmer for 1 - 4 hours (take a nap, read a book, go for a bike ride)
  8. Blend with immersion blender (or don't)
  9. Throw the parmesan in
  10. Eat soup 



Related on the dandyBLOG:

dandyEATS: Winter riding with Carolyn Wong to the Union on Ossington

dandyEATS: Bizzards and bagels with Lisa Logan

dandyEATS: Winter riding series — Laurie Featherstone at Café con Leche

dandyEATS: Snow and steak stilton

dandyEATS: Pub essentials with Andrew Kaiser

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