Learn how to load up on the bike to zip past your competition

By Kaye Lopez | Photo by Averie Woodard/Unsplash

Whether you’re a triathlete or a pure cyclist, the best time to replenish your muscle glycogen stores is while you’re on the bike.

For triathletes, eating or drinking is obviously not practical while swimming unless you actually stop. While it’s possible to eat on the run, most gastrointestinal issues happen on the final leg of the race. You really can’t load up on the run as much as you can while riding, which is why triathletes are advised to treat the bike leg as a “rolling buffet” (getting as much nutrition as they can tolerate) before reaching T2.

Similarly, in order for cyclists to survive an intense road race or a long training ride, they need to carry portable snacks for fuel. Here are some tried-and-tested portable snacks, including pre-packaged, natural, and homemade options that get the Multisport.ph seal of approval. A word of caution: sports nutrition is very personal and the only way to find out if it works for you is to try it yourself.

Water

For rides that last an hour at most, water is all you need. To keep cool on hot days, place one water bottle (preferably the insulated kind) in the freezer the night before then bring one frozen and one cold bottle with you on next day’s ride. The chilled bottle gives you something to drink while the frozen water thaws.

Sports Drink vs. Coconut Water

For rides that last longer than 90 minutes, it is advisable to supplement your water intake with sports drinks. These are specially formulated to replenish lost carbohydrates, fluids, and electrolytes. If you want a more natural option, drink coconut water, which contains potassium and less sodium. You can increase the sodium content of coconut water by taking it with salt sticks. Ensure that you try this first during training to find the perfect formula that works for you.

Energy Gels vs. Honey Packets

Energy gels are another scientifically formulated option stored in convenient single-serve packets. But for those with sensitive stomachs, honey is better. It has the benefit of boosting your immune system, and the taste and consistency are more palatable than most energy gels. You can make your own homemade gel by mixing honey and molasses with salt, but if you don’t have time, I highly recommend Honey Stinger Energy Gels for a good compromise between a formulated and natural energy source.

Energy Chews vs. Dried or Frozen Fruits

Taking energy chews on the bike has been a recent discovery. I find that taking a Honey Stinger Energy Chew every 15 minutes is more effective in sustaining my effort during a race than taking a Honey Stinger Energy Gel every 45 minutes. For a more natural version that’s also easy to chew, try dried fruits like dates (preferably pitted) and raisins or frozen seedless grapes and watermelon dipped in salt.

Energy Bars vs. Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches

For long or ultra-distance rides, some athletes benefit from eating something solid and complex during the ride. Energy bars can be costly, though. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich is a more budget-friendly option. Use white bread to lower the fiber content, which might upset your stomach. Slice one sandwich into four bite-sized pieces and pack in small Ziploc bags for easy access from your jersey back pocket.