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.