The non-stop ride…….

Whether its the influence of the grand tours, or simply the enjoyment of the continuity of the ride, I have found myself increasingly completing solo rides without the usual stop.

f256_star_trek_uniform_ladies_cycle_jersey_pocketMy habit has nearly always been to ride about 30-35 miles (50-60 kms), have a short stop to snack and drink, and then resume. So a typical 100 mile ride would include two stops. Now, for the boys in lycra who ride the grand tours, riding a continuous 150 miles (without a stop) is a normal ‘day at the office’. Some have even mastered the tricky art of answering the call of nature without stopping…………. (click here).

If you’ve ever wondered why cycling jerseys have 2/3 back pockets, the answer is very simple…….you can feed on the run. Professional cyclists use a lot of ‘scientific’ energy gels and bars, which can be carried easily, and opened and consumed in a matter of seconds. I, on the other hand, being a ‘normal’ human being, prefer to eat real food, like bananas and fruit bars. If I need an instant sugar boost to the blood stream, a handful of jelly babies does the trick. And, instead of expensive and highly dubious energy drinks, a mixture of water with 25% fruit juice is great for

Nakd fruit bars, great on the bike

Nakd fruit bars, great on the bike

hydration and restoring energy levels.

My longest non-stop ride this summer was 65 miles/105 kms, which took about 3.5 hours, and the food and drink I had ‘on board’ was sufficient to get me home. Yesterday’s non-stop ride was 50 miles/80 kms. A drizzly morning, with a strong early headwind, saw me struggle down to Olney in Buckinghamshire, but once I turned about to head home, that tailwind restored the energy levels and provided that psychological boost which is a fundamental part of any endurance activity.

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAA large bowl of porridge for breakfast, mixed with dried fruit and nuts, provided the fire power for the first 35 miles. Then out came a large banana from the back pocket, easily peeled with the teeth and, more importantly, easily consumed. Then what do you do with the peel?  Because it is bio-degradable, you just throw it under a headgerow (unlike the wrappings of sports energy goods).

And what of the post-ride recovery food? What better than a Spanish potato omelette (tortilla) with a mixed salad, followed by banana cake with yoghurt? Can it get any better…….?

Tortilla española

Tortilla española


About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on October 5, 2013, in Aspects of Britain, Cycling UK and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I won’t rush to try that call of nature in the saddle trick, Frank. It’s likely to be messy, even in quick dry knicks.

    Even the TdF peloton takes the odd early break sometimes, though the cameras usually discreetly point the other way.

  2. I always wondered what the Spanish equivalent to beans on toast would be…Tortilla de patata (or pincho de tortilla, for the bread!) sounds good to me!

  3. Frank, your idea of riding longer stretches and abridging stops makes sense to me. In addition to carrying fluids and foods, one would need to maintain an exertion rate that could be sustained “endlessly.” Although I don’t do these longer rides often, I’m going to file this idea away and try it when the opportunities arise. Surely, the mind and body can be trained to ride this way.

  4. When I go on Century rides (100 miles or more) I always carry all my food with me (mainly gels), but I still have to stop at least once for additional water (I only carry two bottles with me).

    • I’ve tried the gels and sports powder drinks, on training weeks in Mallorca………..definitely not my ‘cup of tea’. But I understand their convenience

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