How To Fuel Like A Pro – On-Bike Cycling Nutrition


The fact that you need to fuel your body on the bike
is obvious, but what isn’t is exactly what with, how often and how much. Before we even get started on the
fuelling side of things, there’s a couple of things I always take out with me in my pockets. The first of those things is my wallet – I tend to put that either in a zipper pocket if I’ve got it, or in the
central pocket where it’s safest. If I’m heading out on a four hour training ride then I tend to take out with me: three energy bars and a couple of gels. If you want to be able to ride your bike
and eat at the same time it’s a good idea to prepare your energy gels or bars
beforehand by cutting the top off the wrapper so that it’s much easier to get into. However, I wouldn’t advise doing this with your gels. It’s not uncommon for people to have
problems digesting energy bars, gels and drinks so if you’re looking for an alternative I’d suggest homemade flapjack, perhaps a soft roll filled
with jam, honey or even Nutella, that’s something that the pros do. Or, like my colleague Simon Richardson will tell you, bananas. Whatever type of food you do end up choosing to take out on a ride, my rule of thumb is always take out at least one item per hour of riding. It’s a good idea to start drinking from your bottles not long after you’ve set out on your ride, before you get thirsty. The pros tend to drink two 500ml bottles per hour when the weather’s hot. It’s a good idea when you do take your drink that you choose a straight, smooth road and ideally you want to be able to replace it in your cage without looking down. I tend to start my rides with two bottles of energy drink, but a lot of pros you see will have one of water and one of energy. If you’re heading out for a really long
time under hot conditions it’s quite a good idea to take a sachet of energy power
out with you in your pocket. That way when you fill your bottles up at a stop you can just empty the powder in. Generally speaking there’s two different
forms of energy drink. One which contains only contains only electrolytes, aimed at replacing what you’ve lost through sweat, whilst the other one also contains a
fast absorbing form of carbohydrates which also adds to your calorific intake. Which one you choose it down to your own
personal preference. I personally tended to stick to the carbohydrate mix unless the temperature got over 30 degrees celsius. While there are no hard-and-fast rules to refuelling on the bike, I’d suggest at a minimum to take one solid piece of food out per hour and drinking one 500ml bottle per hour, but that is on a long ride. If you’re riding for less than an hour, you shouldn’t need to take anything. If you are setting out on a particularly long ride, it’s a good idea to research beforehand where you’re going to be able to stop en route to refill
your bottles and buy some food. What’s your food of preference when you’re
out riding? Let us know in the comments section down below.

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65 thoughts on “How To Fuel Like A Pro – On-Bike Cycling Nutrition

  1. I've hit on the once per hour rule myself. However, if circumstances warrant I change it, got stopped by a train 45 minutes into a race last weekend and so I ate early, but after that I stuck to the hour rule whether I felt hungry or not and the bonks stayed home. I prefer "biko" (aka ricecake, every party I go to I come away with a ref-ful of the stuff) about 2 oz. gives about 150 calories and then I go for chews. I'm still working on the water-electrolyte part of it all, and that is where I failed miserably last weekend the last third of the race found me really struggling and I'm glad I had some gatorade stuffed in my jersey.

  2. Just completed my longest day trip yesterday (240 km). Had a feeling that i was eating and drinking (and peeing) too often; it got annoying at some point! But then, the day was hot as well…. 🙂 Bananas, apples and biscuits worked great for me. 
    How about drinking milk on long rides? I would like to know. Regards, Sourish.

  3. One thing that really helps me out on long rides (4+ hours) are those energy gel flasks. They're 5 oz bottles filled with gels that I can stuff in my pockets. It allows me to take smaller amounts of energy gels more often rather than having to finish an entire packet once it's opened. With the flasks, I am also able to consume gels while riding. I could never do that with packaged gels since the wrapper is too fiddly for me while riding and trying to litter while at the same time trying not to get leftover gel all over my jersey pockets.

  4. Can I ask about drinking is it possible do you think drinking a lot of fluids on a ride could end up diluting your digestive juices and delay the digestion of solid foods?

  5. nature valley granola bars,ham and egg sandwiches(but only on longer rides over 80km),oreo cookies, and my own version of "magic water" -water,honey,salt and lemon.
    solid food(think pasta,rice,meat and veggies) are only eaten if the rides i do go beyond the 5h mark

  6. I'm a big fan fan of Clif bar(peanut butter crunch) and Hammer nutrition(cafe mocha Perpetuem and their endurolyte fizz electrolytes)

  7. Yeah but how do you eat a gel whilst cycling? This skill is on par with putting on a rain jacket in my opinion especially if you wish to avoid spilling and littering

  8. what Is a good suggestion for a pre ride meal, ie breakfast and how long is advised to wait before setting off,  I am new to cycling and still trying to find the basics. I have bonked once and it was hell..  thanksn

  9. I am a fan of a bottle of water with an energy table in It and I always have something like a slice of pizza or a burger wedged in my ass crack so I can just pull it out when I'm hungry

  10. I put pure, organic, maple syrup in my water bottle. I have found, for me, that eating anything on the ride robs me of energy because my body is using energy to both cycle and digest food.

  11. Thank you for this video and the all the rest.
    Any suggestions on how to properly warm up? When I ride up a hill the 1st time I'm a little winded. But when I come back down and do it again I even surprise myself. I'm like sprinting.
    I guess I'm trying to find that sweet spot. I'm not new to riding but will always listen and take suggestions. Thank you again.

  12. nougat
    just the cheap kids stuff with hardly any nuts ,really just gooey sugar, you hardly need to chew it and it doesnt melt

  13. Banana 😉 I'm a rookie and not ready to invest in accessories/not sure where to put them so I tape the banana to my crossbar.

  14. I eat a banana and a Cliff Bar before I start my ride, and then I bring 2 energy bars. I usually only go out for 2 hours or so. Two bottles of water as well.

  15. For a road side pit stop I have a small tin of macral and a tea spoon to eat it with and satsumas  and bananas or my be a bagal with honey.

  16. A personally love a foot long from subway wheat bread turkey ham and pepperoni cheddar cheese (shredded) veggies I get spinach lettuce tomatoes Green peppers banana peppers and onions. Then to top it off honey mustard and a little bit of spicy mustard delicious ! 👌🏻

  17. I eat rice biscuits but are called rice cake one with honey the other with Nutella  to make them into a sanwhich. yum yum.

  18. banana , and on a longer ride, peanut butter, just plain water lots of it. The commercial preperation relie on sugar too much

  19. I can't yet do very long miles. The longest I've ever done in one sitting, to my memory, is 20 miles. I aim to change that, though, because I'm going to do a triathlon sometime in the next 2 years.

  20. Boiled baby potatoes. Put them into a baggie with a little salt and pepper, really hits the spot and works great during a ride.

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