How To Fuel For A Long Bike Ride | Cycling Nutrition Tips

– Fuelling properly is
one of the easiest things that you can do, but will have a massive impact on your performance. And the longer your ride is, the more important fueling becomes. So if you’re just going
out on a long, winter, base-mile ride, or that big, huge sportive that you’ve been preparing
for for a long time, or just some long summer rides. We’re going to show you what to eat and when to eat it. But before we do, make
sure you subscribe to GCN if you haven’t already, and
also click the bell icon so that you get notifications and help support the channel. (dramatic music) – [Narrator] Now the first thing to know about fueling for a long
ride is that your fueling doesn’t start when you get on the bike. You need to think about
your pre-ride nutrition and that starts with your
meal the night before. You want to eat a solid, carb-heavy meal. Maybe something with pasta,
rice, or even quinoa. But don’t make the classic
mistake of overeating. Although carb loading is good thing, you want to fill up those
carbohydrate reserves, but if you eat double
what you’d normally eat, you’re just going to feel bloated and sluggish the next day. Try to eat slightly more carbohydrates than you usually would. Now what you eat the
morning of your big ride is also super important. You really want to have a hearty,
low-GI, low-fat breakfast. So something like
porridge, a Bircher muesli, or some overnight oats would be ideal. This will give you a good
amount of carbohydrates for energy but the fact
that they are low-GI carbs mean that the energy
will be released slowly. So you will feel the benefits for longer. And you want to avoid fatty
foods as they will delay the absorption of much-needed
carbs into your system. So unfortunately, a full-English
fry up is probably not the best option before a big ride. (slow techno beat) – Simple things first. If you’re going on a long
ride, take two bottles. Now, 750 ml bottles are really useful if you can fit them into your frame. This is actually a 500,
but 750s don’t fit into everyone’s frame, especially
if you’ve got a smaller bike. But ultimately, the
hydration strategy you go for is going to depend on the
conditions that you ride in. – [Narrator] If it’s really hot, focus on having
electrolytes in your drinks to replace the essential minerals
you lose through sweating. And if can, try planning at
least one point on your ride where you can refill your bottles. Also, a pro tip is to
take an electrolyte tablet or a sachet of drink mix
in your pocket or saddlebag ready for when you refill your bottles. Now in summer, I quite like
to have water in my bottles and electrolytes to make
sure that I’m replenishing the minerals lost by sweat. But in winter, I like
to put carbohydrate mix in the bottles and by
using a sort of dedicated product, a sachet of carbohydrate mix, you can actually get the
maximum amount of carbohydrate that your body is able
to absorb in an hour. The reason for this is that
they have the correct blend of sugars that enable you
to absorb the maximum amount of carbohydrate per hour
which can massively help with your fueling. (techno music) – [Narrator] On long-distance
bike rides, whenever you can, take real food with you. So these could be flapjacks,
rice cakes, bananas, or maybe even little sandwiches. If you haven’t quite got
your fueling strategy right and you’re starting to feel
tired, hungry and maybe you might bonk, then one of
the best things you can eat is an energy gel. Because energy gels just contain
what you need: fuel, sugar. And they’re really easy
to absorb by the body. So with that in mind,
it’s always good to carry a couple of energy gels
on your long rides. But you’re not going to want to eat energy gels all the time. You have a lot of them and they can start to be quite sickly. But in terms of trying to
offset the dreaded bonk, well, speak to an experienced cyclist and they’ll tell you
there’s nothing better. (techno music) – [Narrator] It’s a bit of a cliche, but if you start to feel
hungry on a long ride, it really is too late. On short rides, it’s not
the end of the world, but if you do run out of fuel, you’re probably not too far from home. But take it from me, you
really, really don’t want to run out of fuel halfway
round an epic ride. It’s not fun. A good guideline if you’re
on a long, intense ride is to try to consume some carbohydrate every 20 minutes or so. Now that could be half an
energy bar, gel, or a rice cake, or something like that. And what I tend to do is quite geeky. Is look at the ride I’m going to be doing and plan how much food I’m going to need, and then pack my pockets accordingly. But then always add on an extra bar or an extra couple of gels
just in case I need it. For example, if the
ride’s a bit more intense than your planning, or you start to feel like you might bonk, that’s your insurance
policy, that’s your reserves, your emergency rations. I hope you’ve found this look at what to eat on long rides useful. And if you have, then
please give the video a big thumbs up. You’ve got no excuse now if you bonk on your next six-hour epic. And if you’d like to
stay hydrated in style, then why not head over to
the GCN shop and get yourself some GCN Camelback water bottles. And if you’d like to watch
another how-to video, click down here.