Bike Commuter Nutriment

There’s always room for coffee in the bike bottle cage, but what about putting real fuel in your bike’s tank? Protein shakes, granola bars and bananas! Oh, my!

As it warms up here in the great plains, I’m slowly switching over to bike-only commuting mode. By heart rate calculations, my 28+ mile round trip burns more than 1500 calories all by itself. That means I have to start fueling my commute a bit more diligently. In my case, eating more of the same stuff I’ve been eating over winter wouldn’t be too good for me, so I’m adjusting my diet a bit, but without feeling like I’m dieting.

I’m not much of a morning person, but in order to make my day work out the way it needs to, I have to be up dark and early. I usually kick off the day with a banana or citrus fruit about half an hour before I leave. I split my on-bike hydration between an isotonic drink and water, then usually cool off after my commute while drinking a mocha. Instead of having a big lunch, I snack throughout the day, have a larger snack portion for lunch, and make sure to get more fruit 45-30 minutes before leaving work. For the most part, this has been working really well. My snack schedule usually lines up with the migration of my co-workers to the parking garage for their smoking breaks.

Frequent favorites include:

  • Half sandwich (Peanut butter or a combination of ham/turkey/cheese)
  • Yogurt cup
  • Orange or half grapefruit
  • Banana
  • Small bowl of hot cereal
  • Granola bar
  • Soup
  • Carrot or celery

I’ve found that a frequent snack at my desk helps keep me focused and alert. Avoiding things high in enriched sugar keeps the energy roller-coaster leveled out, too. I don’t generally eat in the middle of a bike ride unless I’m on a ride that’s longer than 3 hours. Electrolyte drinks are fine for almost all of my shorter rides from 45 minutes to three hours.

At $110 USD per barrel of oil, food is cheaper and tastier than gasoline. Plus, you’d eat anyways; You just get to eat more now. How do you fuel your bike commute?

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