Pre Ride Nutrition

You wouldn’t start a roadtrip in the family truckster on an empty tank of gas.  So why are you starting your rides on an empty stomach?

At Road Bike Mike, we spent weeks putting pre-ride nutritional supplements to the test so you wouldn’t have to. From home-baked to half-baked, outrageously-priced to stupid-cheap, we have scoured the cycling world and come up with the top 3 pre-ride meals based on performance, taste, digestibility, and price.

1.  Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

Made with two slices of white bread, two tablespoons of peanut butter, and two tablespoons of grape jelly, you’re looking at 432 calories with macro-nutrient mix of 59 grams of carbohydrates, 18 grams of fat and 12 grams of protein. Light on protein and price, this snack delivers enough carbs to get you through a 120 minute ride without the need to refill. Beyond 2 hours, consider some gels, sports drinks or other simple carb snacks to replenish glycogen levels.

2.  Energy Bar

Pioneered by the original PowerBar, the energy bar market is exceedingly popular; and for good reason. Packing an average punch of 200–300 calories, 3–9 grams of fat, 7–15 grams of protein, and 20–40 grams of carbohydrates these high energy food bars are bound to come in a flavor, nutritional profile and price-point that you’re comfortable with.

3.  Oatmeal

Figuratively (and probably literally, though we haven’t tried) a pre-ride meal of oatmeal will stick to your ribs. One cup of cooked oatmeal provides 166 calories, 28 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams of protein and 3.6 grams of fat. Add in your favorite fruit or sweetener (i.e. bananas, blueberries, raisins, honey or brown sugar) to give the calories and carbs a bump and you’ll be pedaling for 2 hours before the need to refuel.

Your cycling pre-ride nutritional strategy should be designed to deliver an optimal amount of fuel and delay the onset of fuel depletion. Pegged correctly, the proper pre-ride snack will sustain your scheduled workout at the desired level of completion, particularly for tougher rides.

Obviously digestion and timing are two important considerations. At Road Bike Mike, we strongly encourage riders to consume the primary pre-ride fuel about one hour before getting in the bike saddle. Experiment to see what works best for your tolerances and schedule.

If you don’t have 60 minutes before your next ride, fear not…we have a few options for the time-crunched cyclist that can be consume 15 minutes prior to your next road bike ride.