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How often to eat during a ride?

poucherpoucher Posts: 102
Hi All,

I had my first decent ride of the year on saturday, dry, sunshine about 10 - 12 deg c did 45 miles and I was about 35 miles in and suddenly felt a bit tired :( so I stopped at a tea shop in Kildale.

Hadn't eaten anything up until then and it got me wondering how often do you eat on a ride? Is it every hour? every 20 miles? or what?

I think I left it too late on Saturday, and I've got a few sportives lined up this year so I need some advice on eating on the move? I know the sort of stuff to eat - bananas, flapjack, maltloaf, energy gels etc, but I'm not sure how often I should be stuffing it in my pie-hole ?


Poucher :wink:


  • redddraggonredddraggon Posts: 10,862
    Poucher wrote:
    Is it every hour? every 20 miles? or what?

    It depends how hard you are working for a start.

    I think the answer to that question will vary for everyone. Did you not take any food with you on the ride? Carrying a bit of food on a ride might be a good start.

    Personally I wouldn't go out without having a couple of weetabix and a cup of coffee, and perhaps take a bit of food with me.
    I like bikes...

  • Depends on how hard your going i supose poucher,i eat little than often. Supose its the same when you drink keep taking little sips every so often not big gulps every hr or so else you will dehydrate!! On a 100 mile sportive i would normly get 5 or 6 gels down me 3 or four go bars and one or 2 bannanas and plenty of jelly beans down my cake hole!! So i would say eat every one hr to hr and a half,but supose everyones different. I find it quite hard to force food down me when i riding even before an event i cant stomach food,especially when i race......must be nerves!!! :shock: . You say you were riding around kildale,do you mean kildale nr great ayton?? Small world i live in yarm!!
    Up hup hup hup.....fricking hate that!
  • LeighBLeighB Posts: 326
    For up to 50 miles/3 hours I eat before I go out; as I normally do this in the morning at the weekend it would be breakfast type food-porridge, cereal or toast. On longer rides I try to plan my route to pass a shop or café (supermarkets are my choice as the cafes are good value) and have a mid ride break. On sportive rides feed stations are normally on route and the only stuff you may want to carry are some sweets for a quick hit of sugar. The worst mistake I have made is only taking one drink bottle and running out in the middle of nowhere, most uncomfortable.
  • pjm-84pjm-84 Posts: 819
    3 years its taken me to work this out!

    I've a big "motor" so need to consume more. A hard sportive I will eat every 10km. Thats about every 20mins. If I'm climbing hard I will drop this to every 5km but this still works out roughly to every 20min.

    The eat natural bars really work for me. I alternate between bars and gels every 20mins.
  • oldwelshmanoldwelshman Posts: 4,733
    I found that on every sportive I did last year I has lots of food left !!
    I was taking 2 bananas, 3 gels and some marzipan with me but found the feedstations were ample so once I discvered this took less and a gel for reserve.
    I find it is the drinks that are more important to stop de hydrating and I always fill my bottles at station but don't always eat.
    For 50 miles I can do steady ride but normally have breakfsat before leaving and take a gel as reserve.
    As others stated it can depend on effort.
    I am also pretty sure your body adapts with what you do.
    Yesterday I did a fast 75 mile group ride (20mph on hilly route) and just had one bottle, and ate one banana and some marzipan :D that was just about right for me.
    Maybe as you get older you need less food :D
  • I think you have to experiment. I've been cycling for 5 years and I've not yet got it worked out. This year I'm going to go 'little and often' and drink every 5 minutes and eat every 20 (small amounts obviously). I've not tried out eating yet as I've not cycled more than 45 miles so far but drinking every 5 minutes definitely makes a big difference for me. But I do seem to need a lot of drink, I drink a little under a litre and half over 2hrs at a hard aerobic pace. In the past I've had terrible problems with cramp both on and off the bike so it'll be interesting to see how I go when the weather warms up a bit.

    The eating plan will be interesting eating every 20 minutes. I'll probably chop up my Go bars in the bag into 4 and see how that goes. I didn't used to eat breakfast before riding in order to help burn fat, but decided after the umpteenth bonk that it wasn't working that well. I think for me it just requires a bit of concentration and experimentation and it'll help me no end in long rides.

    Anyone use the Hammer nutrition products? I'm fed up of SIS and need something different!
  • poucherpoucher Posts: 102
    Thanks Guys,

    I suppose its a little different for everyone, I must admit I was so excited by the good weather on Saturday that i just flew out of the door, totally forgetting about food for the ride!

    To be honest, I don't find it very easy to eat on the move, energy gels i get all over my hands, gear/ brake levers :x
    I'll give the energy bars a go, one an hour to start with and see how that works out

    Wheeler - Rob, I live just outside of Yarm, so yes it was that Kildale, I did Clay bank, Lordstones, Hutton Rudby, Stokesley, Kildale and back, remember you were asking about Westbrook cycles and the Shamal's I'd just bought there, first ride on them on Saturday and they are very nice, light, smooth and silent!
    I see you are selling your Paris frame? I've just bought one, love it!!

    Cheers All,

    Poucher :wink:
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