What's the best fuel you need for those long rides in the saddle? Not sure well here is our ultimate guide to snacking trailside.
As the days get longer and a little warmer, so do our rides. Longer rides mean you need to have more food on board to make sure you get through them. Try some of these easy snacks that will fit in your jersey pocket and give you the fuel you need to keep pedalling all day.
NO PREP NEEDED
Keep it simple and throw a banana in your back pocket. No prep needed and packed with electrolytes like potassium and carbs for energy, a good banana can go a long way.
GO OLD SCHOOL
A sandwich is another quick and easy real food option for longer rides when you need something solid to keep you satisfied. Jam or honey is great for energy; add a nut butter for some protein; or go savoury with vegemite to give your tastebuds a bit of variety and your body some salt to replenish what you’ve sweated out.
GRAB AN ENERGY BAR
Either go for something commercial that’s designed for sport (try a Clif bar, Winners bar or High 5 Energy bar) or a something more generic like a muesli bar or fruit and nut bar (take a look in the health food section of the supermarket for a whole range to choose from).
NICE AND NATURAL
Pack a ziplock bag with your favourite mix of fruit and nuts to snack on when you stop for a water refill. Dates are great as they’re higher in sugar, so you’ll get some more energy. You can also choose salted nuts to replace the salt lost when you sweat (especially if you sweat a lot and end up with dried salt on your face).
On a hot day, take a few electrolyte tabs to throw in your bottle when you refill. These won’t have carbs for energy, but they will provide you with sodium, potassium and magnesium to help reduce cramping and improve hydration. Wrap them in foil to keep out the sweat.
On a longer or higher intensity ride, carrying some sports products like gels or chews is a good idea. These products are designed to give you fast energy, and you can choose some with caffeine for an added boost. You can get almost the same result with some lollies (e.g. snakes or red frogs), but you won’t be able to take as much before you get gut trouble, so go easy on these.
TOP TIPS FOR A LONG RIDE
- If you’re out for a long, lower intensity ride (more than 3-4 hours), it’s always good to have a mix of carbs for energy, and protein to keep your tummy happy and hunger at bay.
- Make sure you drink regularly to stay hydrated. Alternating between water and a sports drink can help to get some additional fuel in without need to stop and eat solid snacks.
- Keep trying a range of different foods while riding until you find something that works for you – everyone is different!
- Remember to have a good recovery meal with carbs and protein when you
finish your ride so you can get back on and do the same again tomorrow.
Make yourself some mini muffins. Banana or apple muffins make a great little snack when on the bike, and although they might get a little squashed, they don’t need refrigeration so travel pretty well. Use mini muffin tins and peel off the case and wrap them in foil or a zip lock bag before you go so they’re easier to eat while pedalling.
ROLL IT UP
Make your own protein balls or grab one from your local supermarket. Most have carbs from dried fruit and honey or maple syrup and protein from nuts, but the texture makes a nice change from a trail mix. If you’re making your own, roll them small (about 2 tsp per ball) so you can pop a whole one in your mouth as you’re riding.
Make a batch of Feed Zone rice cakes. Chef Alan Lim has created a multitude of recipes for rice cakes especially for cyclists. The Feed Zone Portables cookbook is the place to go to look for them. They’re made with real food (all are based on cooked rice), easy to eat and have been tried and tested on pro riders. You just need to do a bit of prep work the night before your ride.
Words: Zoe Wilson Photo: sourced