Food on route

BlueEyedGirl
BlueEyedGirl Posts: 26
edited September 2013 in Road general
I'm new to serious cycling, currently managing, typically, 70km and 1200m climb on a morning's ride in the lower Alps (I live on the Cote d'Azur). I want to extend, and try for 120km and 2000m+climb on full days in the bigger hills.

But at present I'm cycling between cafés and finish before lunch, and still manage to have all my pockets bulging: phone, keys, sun-cream, purse, tissues, and the little under-saddle bag is full of tyre levers, spare tubes and polythene gloves for putting the damn chain back on!

To manage the trips I'm looking at, I need to carry more: second water bottle (not a problem), and plenty of food to keep me going. I need some kind of bag, obviously, but a) there don't seem to be any nice bags for road bikes, and b) I see lots of serious cyclists around me, it's a popular area, and NONE of them to be carrying half as much as I already do! Am I missing something? Is there some wonder food that will fit into the tiniest of pockets and keep you going all day?

So, what do road cyclists do for nutrition on a long and challenging day out? Preferably without resorting to a back-pack, which at 30°C is really not fun.

Many thanks,

Louisa

Comments

  • thistle_
    thistle_ Posts: 7,138
    Flapjacks and cake bars are usually a good shape and size to fit in pockets. I did a 75 mile ride in late spring (hot for the UK but not 30 degrees) and 2 flapjack bars were enough for me.
    Lots of people eat bananas on ride for potassium and they fit nicely in pockets as well (I can't stand bananas!)

    The stuff you are carrying sounds about right but I'm surprised you can't get it in your pockets. I get 2x tubes, 2x tyre levers, Topeak mini toolkit, phone, keys, wallet and occasionally a pump in my jersey pockets and there's still some space for food if required.
    Are you using a jersey with back pockets or using shorts/trouser pockets?
  • doug5_10
    doug5_10 Posts: 465
    Hi Louisa, plenty of threads on this, the search function is your friend. A saddlebag and 3 rear pockets is more than enough for your requirements. My small saddlebag contains all my tools/spares tightly packed (I very rarely have to open it, not once so far this summer). My rear pockets are reserved for stuff I need more readily to hand: phone, keys, cash + card, mini-pump (won't fit in saddlebag), gilet, arm-warmers etc. I still have a free pocket entirely for grub. I think you just need to persevere, it will fit easily! Neat jersey pockets deceptively crammed full of stuff is the mark of a serious cyclist :wink:
    Food recommendations: Fig rolls, jelly babies, flapjacks, bananas, malt loaf, nutella sarnies. You'll get some proper brioche etc. in your neck of the woods!
    Other points
    - get good sweat-proof sun cream that will last the whole day rather than bringing it with you
    - if your chain is coming off frequently, you need to sort the indexing/limits of your front mech, and/or invest in a chain catcher.
    Edinburgh Revolution Curve
    http://app.strava.com/athletes/1920048
  • Obviously, when I bought my vest, I didn't specify Tardis pockets! Mine are just the real world ones and with all this stuff in, they create an ugly line :( But I suppose this is not a fashion show, and I could cram a bit more in them.

    Do sweat-proof sun creams really work? I'm careful: after years of not using any at all, even here, I got a sun-allergy reaction while on the bike two weeks ago, and it was nasty.

    My chain only comes off when I get too tired and start messing up the changes :(
  • simonhead
    simonhead Posts: 1,399
    Stuffing a load in your back pockets can feel strange. You can get a tri bag which goes on your top bar and is a useful addition for carrying phone, a flapjack or 2 and cash. Lose the full purse, just take cash, a card and some id. Cut the keys down to the minimum. Decent sweat proof Sun cream does work but different people rate different ones so it can be trial and error.
    Life isnt like a box of chocolates, its like a bag of pic n mix.
  • chrisaonabike
    chrisaonabike Posts: 1,914
    I hate stuff in pockets.

    For my recent 100 mile ride, I had one of these stuffed with flapjack, and one of these stuffed with tubes, CO2 cartridges and inflator, tools, pump and a little cash:

    In the pockets, I had more flapjack (which I ate first), phone, keys.
    Is the gorilla tired yet?
  • andymiller
    andymiller Posts: 2,856
    I know that this will probably bring howls of protest but when I see roadies off on a big ride in the Alps some of them have a smallish backpack for food etc. The rest probably rely on finding a bar or restaurant.

    I'm sure someone will be along to say that if you ride with a backpack Bad Things Will Happen To You. But they won't. Probably.

    EDIT: the last couple of days here (in Italy) I've seen people with bar bags - not the huge great things for touring cyclists but fairly svelte little bags - worth considering.
  • mea00csf
    mea00csf Posts: 558
    Bearing in mind that womens jerseys are always going to have less space than mens, as the amount of space is going to be dependent on how wide your back is, she probably can't get as much in as everyone else who has replied! An womens jerseys are generally rubbish and only have 2 pockets, meaning you end up feeling very "imbalanced" when you put any quantity in.

    You could get an oversized saddlebag. Saves having to fit a pannier rack or carrying a backpack, something I don't like doing on road bike. I know it's possible, but not something I personally like doing

    Ortlieb do one:
    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/ortlieb-classic-large-saddle-bag/

    Carradice do a load of varying sizes from 2 litres to 23litres:
    http://www.carradice.co.uk/index.php?page_id=category&category_id=13

    I'm sure plenty more companies do them too.

    You'd need to be careful of sizes, how far between saddle and tyre, how wide and would you hit the back of your legs on it, etc. But I personally thing that is the best option if you want to carry a bit more.
  • I have the Ortlieb mentioned above and can fit just about everything in bar the kitchen sink. The fitting is a bit crap depending on your saddle though and some drilling and repositioning of the fixing plate was needed in my case.
  • jaxf
    jaxf Posts: 109
    What about a wee handlebar bag? Great for the minimum of stuff you need for an overnight stay.

    But - do you need it? Can you ditch some stuff? or get bigger pockets?

    All day suncream - depends on how early you start - in the Savoie (I know, a lot colder than where you are), I am fine as long as I start early enough in the morning and don't sweat too much. Forgot to put any on the other day doing the Joux Plane and Avoriaz, and didn't start till gone 10 - that'll teach me to venture to the Haute Savoie. Piz Buin all day seems to work for me.

    Also - a lot of women's jerseys, especially the tri tops/sleeveless tops you get a lot of in France for the sun, have useless pockets - Mavic do a good range of really light weight jerseys with reasonable pockets, and Rapha pockets are like the Tardis, BUT be really careful about the material as they are definately on the suitable for Scotland end of material weight. The Souplesse ones are the lightest weight, fine for France.

    Are you sure you need food for those kind of rides? I never bother, apart from lunch at a cafe. (oh, and an ice cream if I go to Italy). I see a lot of posts here about gels and flapjacks, and the importance of eating all the time, but it always seems like a real faff, and I have never felt the need. Joux Plane and Avoriaz are 2000m + climbs, didn't take anything, but had a nice torsade for lunch. I have also never bothered with a second bidon, as I rarely get through the first, and I can always fill it up at the lunch stop. Less weight to carry .......
  • hdow
    hdow Posts: 184
    jaxf

    Phew, at last someone else who goes on long rides with water to spare! Thought I was the only one.

    HarryD
  • dilemna
    dilemna Posts: 2,187
    andymiller wrote:
    I know that this will probably bring howls of protest but when I see roadies off on a big ride in the Alps some of them have a smallish backpack for food etc. The rest probably rely on finding a bar or restaurant.

    I'm sure someone will be along to say that if you ride with a backpack Bad Things Will Happen To You. But they won't. Probably.

    EDIT: the last couple of days here (in Italy) I've seen people with bar bags - not the huge great things for touring cyclists but fairly svelte little bags - worth considering.

    They will for sure. Break rule 4 at your peril.
    Life is like a roll of toilet paper; long and useful, but always ends at the wrong moment. Anon.
    Think how stupid the average person is.......
    half of them are even more stupid than you first thought.
  • Great replies, thanks everyone :)

    I've started making wicked flapjacks and ginger biscuits, and have saved the café stops. I envy those who can manage without food or water: I seem to need lots of both. Keys and purse have been ruthlessly pared down, but sun-cream has to stay after a recent sun allergy experience. And recently I did need BOTH spare tubes and could really have done with a spare tyre!

    I did manage all this with the normal saddle bag and (women's) jersey pockets, but now have challenging weather: a day can start at 9° and rise to 25°. So I have to start carrying clothes:( The large saddle bag looks too big, but the medium one looks useful, together with a tri-bar bag.

    I'm pleased to hear of Rule 4: I didn't know it existed, but obviously, it should!

    Louisa
  • All my ladies jerseys have three pockets in them. I put spare inner tube, levers, phone, money, keys and tyre changing gloves in my small saddle bag - they are rammed in! No purse, just put cash card in phone case with notes and some lose change rammed in.
    That leaves my jersey free for food and a gilet if needed. I use sandwiches and slimline energy bars as they are not as bulky. My pump goes next to one of my water bottles.
    With the suncream you could decant some into a food bag and tie a knot in it...it will then fit in your pocket a lot easier than carrying a tube or bottle of it? I have done that with chamois cream before now.
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    Go with P20 sun lotion. It protected me on the cote d azur in august when it was hitting 30 plus.
    For food - try a bento box on the top tube behind the stem. Very popular with triathletes and easy to grab food from.
  • cougie wrote:
    Go with P20 sun lotion. It protected me on the cote d azur in august when it was hitting 30 plus.
    For food - try a bento box on the top tube behind the stem. Very popular with triathletes and easy to grab food from.

    But then you run the risk of being mistaken for a triathlete, nobody wants that!! :wink:
    Edinburgh Revolution Curve
    http://app.strava.com/athletes/1920048
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    There's loads of the buggers down there. Probably helps that you can actually swim in the sea without dying within seconds of hypothermia.
  • CiB
    CiB Posts: 6,098
    I always stick a tenner in one sock and (if I need it) a debit card or the swipe card for work in the other rather than slip it in the back pockets. Notes & cards are likely to fall out unnoticed when you pull your flapjacks etc out, and I'd rather not lose money or cards.
  • Grill
    Grill Posts: 5,610
    I also have that Ortlieb bag. I used it once on a 620km audax and found it I didn't need most of what I'd packed.
    For the temperature changes you're talking about you shouldn't need more than arm warmers, knee warmers, and a gilet, although a race cape is good if it looks like rain. Along with tube and tool you shouldn't need bigger than a medium size saddle bag.

    As far as food and drink are concerned, that's entirely personal. On that sort of ride I get away with a banana or two, and your food requirements will lessen as you learn what to eat and when. Keep in mind that eating whilst riding involves replenishing your carbs, not your calories, so you can ride effectively for a very long time on a big caloric deficit. That's why you don't see many others carrying as much as you think you need and also why proper nutrition before and after rides is so important. Take a brioche or dates with you as they don't take up much room, or stop in a boulangerie en route. A couple of gels are a good idea in case of emergencies.
    English Cycles V3 | Cervelo P5 | Cervelo T4 | Trek Domane Koppenberg
  • Bobbinogs
    Bobbinogs Posts: 4,841
    Piz Buin All Day Long (or something like that). It is great stuff. The highest protection is SPF30 but it is much more than that really. I have ginger tendencies and white skin and managed up to 8 hours in the hot/sunny Jura mountains, sweating my cobs off (you won't have that problem) and came out with no burn despite applying the cream just once before setting off each day. Make sure you resist the temptation to wipe sweat away though as that will wipe off the cream.

    The best thing about France is the number of places that have water fountains and I found a bit of research with Streetview really paid off so 2 bottles was all I needed which I then I filled at the key points marked on my routecards. Same goes for the UK thoughas I check out garages and fill up at their water points.

    Carb drink powder in sachets really helps too as you can get 3/4 in your pockets and get by on one of those and one item of food every 60-90 mins. Then you just need a mix of foods to stave off food boredom and keep you going for the rest of the ride.

    An 8 hour ride is really possible with just a small saddle bag for tubes/levers/chaintool/link, etc., and then everything else in the back just well packed with a simple system so that you can easily get to it without stopping, etc. My jersey back does look like a gerbil's face with stuff packed right in but once you start eating it all then it becomes easier as you go.
  • daniel_b
    daniel_b Posts: 11,569
    Not strictly related, but you may find this book useful.
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/1937715000/ref=mp_s_a_1_10?qid=1378421272&sr=8-10&pi=AC_SX110_SY165
    Bought after a forumites recommendation on here.
    P.s darned jealous of where you live and get to cycle.
    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
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