Cycling is a physically demanding activity, especially when you’re training for fitness. Because of this, many new riders tend to eat and drink too much, resulting in an upset stomach an hour or so during bike trips–the intestines can only handle so much, after all.
According to experts, cyclists should have a bike nutrition plan that optimises carb intake so that they won’t feel nauseous, ill or bloated during trips. Here are the kinds of food to eat and drink to properly fuel your bike trips without you getting sick on the road.
For short rides
For bike trips an hour or less in duration, your primary concern would be the replenishment of lost fluids. For this, drink a low-carb electrolyte hydration drink or plain water. A banana would be enough to replenish energy stores just in case your trip extends beyond an hour. After your bike trip, eat a full meal within an hour for optimal recovery.
For medium-length rides
For trips of more than an hour but less than three hours long, it would be necessary to replenish carbohydrates. Bring along at least two bottles of electrolyte drinks low in carb content and solid food that contain up to 60 grams of carbs, like bananas or fig bars, for every hour. Eat small nibbles as you go and don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink.
For long rides
When you’re out on your bike for three hours or more, you will not only need to replenish both carbs and electrolytes but also add variety to your solid food so you don’t get bored. You will still need a couple of electrolyte drink bottles and 60 grams of carbs per hour, but because digestion becomes more challenging as trips get longer, make sure you consume more solid food at the beginning and then switch to easily digested food such as chews and bars during the last few kilometres.
Fitness experts suggest hydrating and taking a few bites every 15 to 20 minutes to keep your energy up without upsetting your digestive tract. Aside from bananas and low-fibre energy bars, here are more great biking food ideas to keep you sufficiently fueled during bike trips:
- Yogurt – Eating yogurt or drinking milk before bike trips will help your muscles contract properly.
- Lean meat and beans – Iron-rich food such as beans and lean meat will help in making sure oxygen-rich blood keeps flowing throughout your body during a long bike ride.
- Trail mix – Power up with dried fruits such as prunes, raisins and apricots, which are also great sources of potassium. A good trail mix should also contain nuts and seeds that contain magnesium, vitamin E and of course, carbs for energy.
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwich – A favourite among riders of all ages is the classic PB&J. The bread and jam provide carbs and the peanut butter is a great source of protein and fats. Other yummy alternatives to peanut butter are sunflower butter and almond butter. Cut a sandwich into quarters and eat a piece every 20 minutes.