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Powerful Snacks for Long Bike Rides
Powerful Snacks for Long Bike Rides

Powerful Snacks for Long Bike Rides

Powerful Snacks for Long Bike Rides

Fueling up for a long bike ride consists of three meals; pre-ride snacks, during-ride snacks, and post-ride snacks. In addition, don’t forget your hydration! It is important to stay hydrated before, during, and after an endurance event. Here are some powerful snacks that I use to stay strong on long bike rides.

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56 miles into the bike leg of Ironman Mont Tremblant

Powerful Pre-Bike Ride Snacks

I don’t like to head out for a long bike ride or run with a lot of heavy food in my stomach. On mornings when I am putting on lots of miles, I like to start my day with a smoothie, a coffee, and a large glass of water. 

First of all, my smoothie is for a good balance of proteins, carbohydrates and fats to fuel my muscles without feeling too heavy. Then, the coffee always helps to get me and my digestive system moving in the morning. Finally, the water tops off my hydration from the previous 24 hours. 

Below are the ingredients for my favorite pre-ride smoothie recipe. I know it’s green in color, but try it first. It tastes great and is healthy.

The Perfect Smoothie Recipe:

  • 1 Banana
  • A Handful of Spinach
  • 1 Scoop of Vanilla Protein Powder
  • 2 TBSP of Smooth Peanut Butter
  • Water

Powerful Snacks During Long Bike Rides

When running or walking, you burn approximately 100 calories per mile. On a bike, it is closer to 50-60 calories per mile. Overall, that means for a ride of 50 miles or more, you will be burning roughly 2,500 calories or more. During long bike rides, those calories have to be replenished as you go or your muscles won’t be able to keep going.

So how do you re-fuel on long bike rides?

I personally like to re-fuel with as much “real” food as possible. On long rides, I stock my jersey pockets with all the good stuff. I try to avoid food with lots of sugar. The sugar usually upsets my stomach and doesn’t feel great while I am riding. I try to stick to bland or lightly salted snacks. Here is a list of my go-to snacks to eat on long bike rides.

Best Long Ride Snacks to Pack:

  • Nuts
  • Dried fruit
  • Trailmix
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
  • Cliff bars 
  • Tortillas
  • Pretzels
  • SIS Energy Gels
Powerful Snacks for Long Bike Rides
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Best Long Ride Snacks

Powerful Post-Bike Ride Snacks

Following a long bike ride, I like to have a balanced meal with carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. It is important to replenish all three. My favorite post ride meals are listed below. Many have been (re)invented after hilly, starvation inducing miles on the bike.

Top Post-Bike Ride Meals:

  • Spinach, feta, and tomato quiche
  • Eggs over-hard covered in cheese with a couple slices of whole wheat toast 
  • Black bean and mushroom quesadillas 
  • Tortilla chips with cottage cheese and salsa
  • A casserole of black beans, quinoa, diced green pepper, diced onion, and cheddar (topped with sour cream and salsa).

Balancing Your Hydration on Long Bike Rides

Hydration can be tricky because it doesn’t start right before or during your bike ride. You need to be well hydrated in the days leading up to an endurance event. If you make it a good habit of drinking enough water every day, then you will always be prepared for long stretches on the road. 

Staying hydrated means drinking enough water regularly. The basic rule is you should drink half your body weight in pounds, in ounces of water per day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces of water per day. 

So how do you stay hydrated?

If you are already hydrated before an endurance event, it is easier to stay hydrated throughout. When riding, I usually fill my bike tank (about 20 oz.) with water and have an additional 20-ounce bottle of electrolyte replacement. Usually, my liquids are gone after 2.5-3 hours of riding. On unsupported rides, I plan a re-fill stop around the 50-mile mark


On the flip side, if you are drinking more than 16 ounces of water per hour, your body is most likely not absorbing it and you are over-hydrating. Over-hydrating is just as much of a problem as dehydrating, be careful with the balance. Personally, I aim to drink about 4 ounces every 15 minutes (alternating between water and an electrolyte replacement). This amount should keep you hydrated throughout your long bike rides. 

If it is extremely hot and humid, you might need a bit more, but never more than 32 ounces per hour. You can drink more, but your body will not be able to actually absorb it. At that point, you are just putting liquid straight through your body and back out again. You are simply going through the motions of drinking and inadvertently adding more “pee-stops” to your ride.

Ready for a short ride
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Hope these long bike ride snack ideas help you prepare for your next ride. Stay fueled up and hydrated out there and be sure to enjoy lots of long bike rides this summer! Thanks for reading – KiteBikeVan

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