Bike expo and pawpaws

We spent Sunday morning on top of a parking garage at the Mississippi Valley Bicycle Expo and Swap Meet helping at the CyclingSavvy info table.

What’s the best way to get to a bicycle expo?  By bike, of course!

Our route took us past the theoretical pawpaw spot.  We rode slowly, with our eyes peeled, until Matthew said, “That’s a pawpaw tree.”


I never would have found this on my own, as I don’t think the tree is particularly “tropical looking,” and it wasn’t in the spot marked on either of the foraging maps.

Whether it was birds, humans, or just a low-fruit year, there were not many pawpaws to be found.  A few ripe dropped fruits on the ground, and a couple more unripe that Matthew grabbed from a tree — not sure if they’ll ripen or not.

Despite the low harvest, it was a successful mission in my book.  We now know the exact location for future years AND there were some fully-loaded persimmon trees with fruit that should be ready before too long!

After our little detour, we proceeded to the expo.


CyclingSavvy’s littlest fan needs a t-shirt of his own!

We bungeed Sir’s BalanceBike to Matthew’s rear rack, and Gabriel enjoyed riding it around the expo.  Sir needs an advertising contract with the bike company.


We also added one more [small] bike to our fleet, picking up a used tricycle for Sir.  Our cargo capacity was already maxed out, so the trike is awaiting pick-up at a friend’s house.

Want to find out what it’s all about?  There are still a few spots open in this week’s CyclingSavvy workshop: course details and registration.

*Bike expo photos courtesy of our friend and fellow CyclingSavvy instructor, Karen.

Hunting for pawpaws

Several months ago, a friend shared a link to a website that maps fruit (and nut) trees in urban public spaces, i.e., an urban foraging map.  The concept kind-of boggled my mind.

If you knew the location of a great patch of raspberries, or a fabulous peach tree, why would you share that information with thousands of people on the internet?  I’m not sure about you, but the food hoarder in me says, “Sshhhh, don’t tell!”

I mean, even if the tree/bush/vines produced more than you could consume and preserve, why not share the information with a small, select group of people, ensuring that your source wouldn’t be overwhelmed?

Apparently some people don’t share my reservations, as they are sharing their spots for edible treasure at

Anyhow, when I checked the map for nearby options, I discovered a marker for pawpaw trees, saying that the fruit ripened in early September.  We have a pair of pawpaw trees out at the garden, but they’re babies and won’t bear fruit for a few years.  Pawpaws are unreliably available at the farmers’ market, and you pay a premium.  Time to forage!

After double checking the map, and the description of the tree as “tropical looking” I headed out on my bicycle early Saturday morning.  I arrived in the indicated area, and spotted a tree that looked promising . . .


. . .  or not.  Despite leaves that could possibly be described as “tropical looking,” I quickly determined that cone/fruit thing was not a pawpaw.  And yes, if I had a bit more tree identifying experience, I would have known right away that the tree in question was a magnolia.


I did a bit of off-roading, circling the indicated area on my bike, looking for other likely subjects.  Finding none, I did a quick check of another section of the park, thinking perhaps the marker on the map was placed incorrectly.

That effort yielded this fruit, perhaps a walnut?  Or some other kind of nut?


But still no pawpaws.  Were they just not there?  Had the trees not set fruit this year?  Had someone misidentified it?

I headed home at that point, wanting to beat the heat and more intense sun rays.  I would have been quite annoyed had I used the car and struck out, but, as it was, I got a nice bike ride out of the deal.

I reviewed the maps and website again for this post and realized that my exact foraging location was based on some kind of Google maps foraging tool, and not the map at Falling Fruit.  The FF map shows a slightly different location for the pawpaw trees — kind-of the same area, but different enough to be outside the area I searched, so now I’m debating a return trip.

Your Turn: What would you do with fruit foraging locations, share or keep it quiet?