Cycle Touring Part 3 – Nutrition

, July 20, 2011

Cooking Dinner on a river beach

If you’re equipped with a basic knowledge of the dietary benefits of certain foods, its hard to go wrong when cycle touring.  If you are considering a multiday trip by bike the likelihood is you know 20 chocolate bars and a few bags of crisps a day isn’t going to be ideal.  What follows is the pattern I adopted; eat lots, eat before you get hungry and satisfy any cravings.

Let me expand on that final point. If at the end of a long day riding in the sun, you fancy a bag of crisps, then have them. The likelihood is that your body needs salt, so eat the crisps.  I am a big believer that your body will tell you if you need something, that said best not to wait for it to tell you that its hungry and thirsty, because by then it’s a little late.  Try and preempt hunger and thirst and then top up with cravings as they come about.  When racing and training hard, I pay a lot of attention to nutrition, however when cycle touring I adopted a more relaxed approach.  I considered myself less of a high performance F1 car engine and more of a Cumming marine engine – chuck a hell of a lot of fuel in there and it will get the job done!


Porridge and honey (tub of squeezy honey works well), Orange juice, tea.


Some form of carbohydrate, bread, oatcakes etc with cheese, ham etc.  Salty sandwich fillings hit the spot, especially after snacking on sweet foods whilst on the go.  Fruit, soreen, cakes, nuts, dried fruit make a good pudding and double up as on the bike snacks later in the day.

Snacks when riding

Cereal bars, nuts and raisins mix, bananas, dried fruit, snickers, mars bars.  I avoided quick fix energy gels and expensive energy bars although I think these can be added to good effect.


Bag of crisps, soup, pasta, chicken (often buy precooked to save poisoning concerns), cheese, etc.   InSoreen Malt Loaf essence a big pan of stodge with lots of carbs and some protein.  By this stage in the day I was usually tired and hungry and very easily pleased! Yogurt, more fruit, more cake. Lots of milk before bed, it has been proven that milk is excellent at rehydration and also give a bit of protein to aid recovery during sleep.

Simples.  Eat lots, get some variation so you don’t hate pasta forever and don’t forget some fresh fruit and veg.  Oh, one other thing, bit of a given, but drink loads of water.  Then drink some more.  ‘Straw coloured’ urine is a good indicator that you are keeping yourself fully hydrated.