Categories: Food and Meals
Managing Your Food Intake on a Bicycle Tourby Sarah Awe - Thursday, April 2, 2015
One of the most important things in life is FOOD, we can’t live without it! Food can be one of the best parts and biggest challenges in a day; did you know the average person makes over 200 decisions about food…each day?! Did you also know that the U.S. earns the most money per household yet spends the smallest percentage of their income on food?! Just some thoughts to chew on…
So what’s the big deal? If you’re considering riding for a number of consecutive days, or doing an ExperiencePlus! bicycle tour, you must consider what is going to fuel you for your journey, when it should fuel you and how it will fuel you… BEFORE you begin. Food is very important and can help keep you energized, hydrated and feeling strong so don’t wait until the last minute to decide what your body likes if you will be exercising for days at a time.
It is important to consider what your body responds well to. You want a good mix of carbohydrates and protein to keep you going all day long. Think about what time your meals will be scheduled throughout the day and consider what kind of snacks you will need in between full meals. While riding you will be burning precious energy and calories, it is important to keep yourself fueled properly. Does this mean you get to snack exclusively on gelato and the local pastries? Unless you have a stomach of steel, probably not. ExperiencePlus! offers you fresh and dried fruits, nuts, granola bars, and sports drink mixes on our tours and there are plenty of options available at markets. Healthy snacks will help you feel better throughout the day. If your go to snack at home is peanut butter or a particular brand of energy bar you should by all means bring them along with you when you travel. It just doesn’t make sense to introduce an entirely new diet to your body when you are asking so much of it already. You don’t want to find out on Day 3 that your stomach can’t deal with dried fruit and nuts while you are riding.
Deciding when to refuel is also an important decision. You need to determine how your body responds to a full day of activity before your big ride. I know that I have to stay in front of my hunger in order to avoid bonking. Sometimes I am a slow learner, and it took me several miserable rides to finally figure out that I can’t wait until I feel hungry to eat while riding. By the time I feel like eating I know it’s too late so I have found using a schedule is more helpful. I consume about 100 calories every 60-90 minutes during hard activity. Some people may need more calories than that so experiment and decide what works for you then you can design a nutrition plan for the day.
So now you have determined how often, how much and what you need to eat…so load up those jersey pockets, or your seat pack with our go to snack and hit the road. Luckily, if you are on an ExperiencePlus! ride the bikes come with a handy rear rack pack that can carry your daily ration of snacks. The van is also there to provide supplements. Remember if you are touring internationally, it’s good to think about and bring along a few of your favorite “go to” snacks.
Remember to take several trial runs with different types of foods to determine what works best with your digestive system and energy levels. You want to stay safe, healthy and feeling good so you can enjoy your ride!