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What to Eat When Cycling Long Distance- 7 Energy-Packed Choices! [Guest Post]

What to Eat When Cycling Long Distance

By Martine Stoker

If you want to cycle long distances, you have to fuel up yourself with various digestive foods that contain many calories. Having food with enough energy is important before you hit the road with your road bike. Foods like sweet potato, fatty fish, and brown rice have dense calories that take longer to digest, providing you with a stable energy flow.

Every physical worker, athlete, and rider needs such foods to maintain extended hours of work performance. A long biking session requires proper food with proper hydration. Here I would present some possible choices of food for bikers to consume before a long cycling session.

Meals before the ride

As a rule of thumb, try to avoid consuming highly-processed food or those that contain refined sugars.

Before starting your ride, you should eat carbohydrate-focused meals, especially those that are low in Glycemic Index (GI). Low GI food generally provide you with steady energy while you ride, as compared to high GI food, which tend to result in a sudden increase in your blood sugar.

Food choices for a long-distance cycling session

What to Eat Cycling Long Distance- Yogurt
The day before an endurance cycling race or session, you could consume energy-rich carbs such as pasta. However, make sure to avoid creamy or meaty sauces as they could contain too much fat! When you eat foods that contain high fat, you may feel more drowsy.

Coffee can help with your digestion, but make sure to drink in moderation. Try to take black coffee, instead of those that come with added cream or sugar. If you are sensitive to caffeine, be aware of your limits. Consuming more caffeine than you are conditioned to could result in a sudden crash in energy levels, once its effect wears out.

If you usually eat lots of salad, take note that it would not provide you with the bulk of carbs and energy required for an endurance event.

Without further ado, here are some of the foods that you should eat before a long-distance cycling ride!

What to Eat When Cycling Long Distance

  1. Yogurt and berries
Yogurt and berries are very popular with athletes. They provide an energy boost from the fruit sugars, and also protein and more complex starches. This helps you to fuel up for the day. It is recommended to take a cup of yogurt if you are exercising for up to two hours.

  1. Toast, avocado and eggs

This is another combination to fuel up your body for the long ride. Wholemeal toast provides a good amount of carbs, but is low in GI. Eggs give you the required protein, which would help in muscle repair. Furthermore, avocados contain healthy fats and potassium.

What to Eat Cycling Long Distance- Toast

  1. Bananas

You could eat bananas within one hour of your ride. They are usually low-to-medium in GI, and have a high sugar content. One benefit of eating bananas is that they are filled with vitamin C and potassium that could prevent cramping. While bananas are great for a boost in energy, it is usually not recommended to binge on them for your pre-ride meal. Regardless, bananas could help you replenish electrolytes, which is why it is a favorite choice for many endurance athletes to consume during a race.

  1. Oatmeal
Oatmeal is an excellent option for long-distance rides because it provides many carbohydrates and is extremely customizable. You could add oatmeal to smoothies, make your own snack bar, add it to cereal, or cook it with other food.

  1. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a source of Vitamin A and carbohydrates. They should be eaten about 90 minutes before your ride. They have lower GI than standard white potatoes, which should help you to feel full for a longer amount of time.

  1. Smoothies

You should consume a fruit smoothie at least one to two hours before you start riding. It is also the best choice if you have planned a high-intensity workout. Smoothies are a concentrated way to provide your body with essential nutrients, without making you feel bloated. A popular blend for endurance bike rides involves mixing up banana, strawberries, oats and peanut butter.

What to Eat Cycling Long Distance- Smoothies

  1. Nut butter

Peanut butter and other nut butters are a great source of calories as they do not break down easily, and could provide steady energy after being digested. Peanut butter contains proteins, carbs, and essential minerals, such as magnesium and calcium. Its natural fat content could also help keep hunger at bay, which is an added benefit.

What to eat during a long distance bike ride

Re-fueling is not necessary for a short ride, but for long rides, you would lose large amounts of energy, fluids and electrolytes. Bring something with you to rehydrate and refuel yourself. Most endurance cyclists pack a banana, energy gels, or energy bars as they give a quick boost of glucose.

Also ensure you pack a sufficient amount of fluid and sodium. Take slow, regular sips of water while cycling. You could also consider packing chocolate milk or a chocolate milkshake.


It is essential to eat a balanced meal before, during and after a long-distance cycling session. There are many healthy choices of food you could consume, in order to meet the energy requirements of cycling long distance. Moreover, there are many recipes you could look up to blend them all together as a smoothie!

Author Bio

Martine Stoker is a digital and content marketing professional with a keen interest in outdoor sports. He enjoys working with other bloggers regarding adventure and outdoor topics.

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