Fuelling on the bike

I would like to get a discussion on this going before I forget again. I’ll write more later. For now, let me just say that I’m riding longer and I’m finding out how incredibly important fueling your body during long rides is. Would love to hear from others.

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This is a question I’ve been mulling over as well. I put in around 45km per ride lately and haven’t reached a bonk point yet. I think anything longer and I’ll try those squeeze thinga-ma-bobs at 7/11 I see. Post -ride I down 500ml of coconut water with some sea salt in it and it seems to work out.

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Buy those Sweat or whatnot sports drinks at convenience stores, then either do half-half with water in your water bottles, or 1/3 sports drink, 2/3 water.
That’s what I drank in round-Taiwan trips, which had anywhere from 60km to 100+km days.
For food, it all depends. I liked the bagels in convenience stores, and sometimes the tea eggs for quick fuelling if I felt I needed something before stopping for the day.

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Bananers fer pertassium
Sum Perotein


For a 5 - 6 hour ride of moderate difficulty starting around 9 am, I’ll first have a breakfast of oatmeal with banana or steamed red bean paste bao. I’ll take a sandwich, two water bottles with electrolyte, one sliced apple in a ziplock bag and two Clif bars (Costco). The apple tastes better than anything else when you’re working hard. The second Clif bar is held in reserve, and almost never eaten.

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Banana or SiS gels…I’ve found of the tropical flavor is to my liking.

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My two long Saturday rides which are a bit over 60k at 1,400m elevation have really convinced me that I need to up my understanding of fuelling. My second one, which I tweaked after screwing up on my first long ride (for example, I ran out of sports drink on the last mountain), included the following regimen:

  • No breakfast. I know this is a HUGE mistake but it’s something I can easily fix.
  • Pocari Sweat throughout my ride. I get the sweet one because I feel I need the sugar.
  • One of these 7-11 jello things after 1 hour and 15 minutes (at the top of the first mountain).
  • A chocolate bar (an almonds and dark chocolate with salt bar) before the 2 hour mark, that is, before I start on the second mountain.
  • A Soyjoy bar about an hour later before I start on my second time up the second mountain.

The above worked very well for me last Saturday.

I will need to look into that.

I think your body knows what you need nutritionally when you put it under physical stress. I find myself craving citrus types of drinks and can taste the lemon in the Pocari Sweat very clearly when I’m in an exhausted state. Maybe I’ll add a squeeze of lemon to each of my water bottles.

I think I’ll start having a banana for breakfast. I don’t like starting off on a full stomach and a banana should be perfect.

Don’t forget chocolate milk at the end of the ride. Stops the heat fatigue.


Oo, that’s good to know. I sometimes miss chocolate milk and would love an excuse to drink it again. (I avoid it because, in general, who needs the calories.)

Interesting about the heat fatigue. I find that’s my biggest issue in the summer: if a ride is 2-3 hours, I can handle the ride itself OK, but then I often feel like I lose the rest of the day - especially if I’m still out after 10am, when the sun is getting strong. It’s not as bad as a hangover, but my brain’s too foggy to get anything useful done.

I haven’t seen Clif bars in Costco here, and they’re not appearing on the website as far as I can see, but I’ll have a look next time I’m there.

Oh, my normal routine, which isn’t worth much seeing as how my rides are generally shorter: a Clif bar (ordered from iHerb, or brought back from Canada) midway; I head out with two full bottles, one with water, one with sports drink powdered mix (bought in Canada). If the ride’s over two hours I’ll often buy a third bottle of sports drink somewhere en route. I really, really want that sugar; no idea how much the sweetness is appeasing just my mind, or my body as well.

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I’m on a low carb diet now. But during my rides I can indulge! Just one more reason to love my long rides.

The one time so far I’ve gone up Fengguizui (sp?), I’d planned on getting a fantuan or something else not exceedingly unhealthy at the start of the climb, because of course there’d be a 7-11. There wasn’t. I got a pack of Oreos from one of the little shops. That was my first pack of Oreos in years: eaten before, during, and after the climb, it was one of the most delicious things I have. Ever. Had. In. My. Life.

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I could be wrong about the Clif Bars in Costco in Taiwan. I get them in the U.S. and I thought I got them at Neihu Costco a while ago. But more importantly, I forgot one item - caffeine. It helps your stamina a lot. An ice coffee halfway through the ride helps a lot, especially in the summer. Use crushed ice and swallow it so that it helps cool your core. Just remember that caffeine’s a diuretic, so you need to also drink water or a sports drink with it. And don’t forget a recovery drink like chocolate milk or a high-protein snack at the end of the ride. And if you have another ride the next day, take it easy on the alcohol that night.

Edit: on the chocolate milk - thanks, the_bear for the reminder.
Edit #2: the ice needs to be crushed finely so you don’t choke on it.

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You can get a gel with high caffeine content. Maybe one timed well during a long ride would be very good. Those GU gels are widely available in Taiwan.

That’s too bad. Yeah, I don’t believe they are available in Costco.

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I forgot to add earlier that I’ve tried MCT oil in my coffee before rides twice. Each time I got faster times and I was really focused on getting home as soon as possible. I wouldn’t recommend MCT oil unless you’re close to your home throne.

Carry some ibuprofen. 200 mgs mid ride and another 200 when you get home should help. It’ll also reduce leg fatigue.

Also if you is buying ibuprofen ask for it OTC unpackaged. Every pharmacy keeps a big jar of it and sells it super cheap in singles or in unpackaged strips.

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I skip breakfast too and bring along a Nutrigrain bar with me to the meet up for breakfast. Unless it’s a looooong ride, I’ll stop by a breakfast shop or something to grab a bite.

I’ve actually found on very long rides, it gets too sweet and you end up not drinking anything if your bottles are full of sports drinks. I now do water in both bottles and buy sports drinks when I rest.

Think 100 calories for every 40 mins of nonstop cycling. That usually works for me.

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I guess it’s just preference, then, because I am so grateful that I have that sugar on my rides.

There must be a good formula. But maybe based more on carbs then on calories? And do you prefer solid foods to gels, jelly packages, etc.? I think I am finding I prefer solid bars. Maybe I’ll try a gel with caffeine strategically as discussed above, though.

For my typical 40-50km ride in the morning when I can, I’ll usually juice some carrots, zucchini, ginger, an apple, asian cucumber, 1 lime, and sometimes a dark leafy thing and down that. Then i make a cup of coffee and get my gear together to let it cool so I can down that right before I head out. On the ride I do one bottle of water, and one bottle of brown sugar/lemon/salt/water mixture, and I usually have at least one banana with me. Then I stop and blow all the calories burned off by chowing down on a delicious fried chicken burger and another cup of coffee.

The weather is getting hot now and I’m finding myself having to leave as early as 6:00 am in order to not overheat and be exhausted by the time I get home. Cant wait for Autumn.

I’ll have to try the chocolate milk. I never drink it but I do like it. Haven’t seen a cliff bar here ever :frowning:. I’ve not tried these gels you guys are talking about at 7. What do they look like, maybe I’ll give them a try. I have tried those Aptonia mango/passion fruit thingamijiggers at decathlon and those are tasty.


Jesus, this thread is making me think I’m going bike riding all wrong. :grinning:

When I want to go for a ride, I just hop on my bike and go. Of course, my longest rides are only about 40-50kms (takes me just over a couple of hours) so that probably makes a difference–plus it’s fairly flat the whole way.

I guess if I want to work my way up to longer rides (although I never seem to have the time for that), I’ll have to start paying attention to what I eat before, during and after.


Hate to break it to you, but that’s about a week in October.