Let's Talk Ride Fuel!
Updated: Jun 26
Food is a good part of any adventure. Donuts, cookies, or the classic coffee/pastry combination if you're a cyclist. Honestly, some of my favourite rides have been bakery rides. Short and sweet, with some treats in between.
But, for those longer adventures, food is also crucial to keeping up your energy and your mood! So, here are some of my favourite pre, during, and post ride foods.
Overnight Oats or Oatmeal: these are super easy to prep the night or even weekend before.
Great for early morning rides so you don't have to wake up even earlier to make breakfast! To mix it up, you can throw on different toppings every day. Personally, I like peanut butter and/or banana as well as chia seeds, but many people will do berries, syrup and more! There are lots of great recipes online. Oats are a great slow-releasing carb which will keep you satisfied for longer.
Eggs and Toast: for when you want a nice warm but also fairly quick breakfast, eggs and toast are a great option. Get a source of protein and carb in to prep for your adventure! I sometimes like adding avocado to my toast.
Pancakes: okay, who doesn't love pancakes! Throw some protein powder in the pancake mix and you will be full for hours (although, you should still fuel every hour if you're doing a nice long ride). They're also super versatile in terms of toppings - I like Nutella, strawberries or some good maple syrup.
During the Ride
Bananas: okay, bananas are great but I will say bananas in the summer heat turn mushy real fast! They are a great natural boost of energy though. I personally prefer carrying foods that are less messy (usually has packaging) but everyone is different. Do some experimenting!
Clif Bars: SO MANY OPTIONS. Clif bars are small, not messy and very filling. That being said, I do find that you can get tired of them if you buy a big box and eat the same flavour over and over again. Sometimes, they're also a little dense if it's super hot out and all you want is something easy to eat.
I highly recommend the nut butter ones, because they are much less dense than regular ones! Try the coconut almond butter one, it won't disappoint.
Cookies/pastries/coffee: for when you make that bakery stop! For any ride, it is definitely nice to have a destination where you know you'll get to enjoy some bakery treats before heading home. I LOVE a good donut. Do some research beforehand to see where there are good bakeries or coffee shops at your destination!
Lots of people also love a good coffee halfway through their rides, but I am not usually a coffee drinker. I usually need to go to the bathroom pretty soon after, which is not the most convenient when out biking!
Now the world is your oyster. Your legs are tired, you probably got a little more tanned and hopefully had a great time along the way. Eat whatever your heart desires! Personally, it depends on what the weather was like outside. If it was a cold ride, then I would choose something nice and hot - and vice versa.
General guidelines: get a serving of protein and carbs to start recovery! I'll be honest though, sometimes after adventure rides, I'm just ready to put my feet up and enjoy a nice dessert.
Of course with all food, everyone will have their own preferences. Play around with what you like and what works best to keep you and your stomach happy. Everyone will require a different amount of carbohydrates every hour so see what works for you. The benchmark is usually between 30 and 60 grams. For long rides, eat every hour even if you aren't hungry! You will thank yourself later on.
I will say though, *I don't advise experimenting with new foods before or during an adventure ride.* Stick to what you know won't upset your stomach - the last thing you want is to not be feeling well far from home! Save the experimenting for shorter rides. In addition to food, it is super important to ensure you have enough water or a place to fill up. Right now during the COVID-19 pandemic, I make sure I have extra food and water on every ride!
A small backpack is usually sufficient to carry all the food and water you need depending on the length of your ride. The weight adds up if you're going to be out for a few hours or more, so travel light when you can!