There are whole books about nutrition for endurance sports and opinions vary widely. Some swear by it Vegan and healthy diet, the others go out for coffee and eat cakes or tarts, while others eat bars and gels. I've tried everything and don't want to commit myself.
Like you, I read my way through blogs, Instagram, Facebook and listen to a lot of podcasts about long-distance driving. I would like to point out my podcast again at this point. You can find the links in the right sidebar of my site.
A while ago I wrote an article about the Meals for races and bike marathons written, but while effectiveness is important in races, long tours, bikepacking events and cycle tours are more practical. The reason: You don't just have to take care of yourself for a limited time, but for days or weeks. So buying later is the order of the day and the bikepacker’s best friend is gas stations ⛽️
It has to be a lot of calories all the time
So it's not primarily about healthy and ideal, but about many calories and that regularly. The range of foods is somewhat limited. Rarely does one take a long break to go out to eat and choose something from a large menu. It's more likely to stop at shops you'll pass by anyway.
- Gas station
- Tanke-Emma shop in a village
The ongoing catering on a trip is also part of the adventure and is just as much a part of it as planning the route and riding your own racing bike.
Experiences from other long-distance drivers
As I said before, I try to learn as much as possible from others. Not because I think there is someone who knows everything and does everything right, but because I can vary my diet and try something new. The following things have become absolutely established with many long-distance drivers.
- Wine gum
- Salted Peanuts
- Cake and tart
- Rigel and Gels
Buttered bread and bananas, on the other hand, have somehow gone out of fashion.
My experiences and recommendations
Now I would like to share my experiences and recommendations with you. It is always interesting that neither Properly or Wrong gives! Every body reacts differently to certain foods, what works great for one person can cause diarrhea for the next.
I have a Basic basic care, which I try to fill up again and again on long tours and trips. A basic supply for emergencies.
- energy bars
- Clif Energy Chews, if this is not there a couple of gels
All of these things take up little space and deliver a lot of energy quickly.
I admit I was skeptical at first and my wife - nutritional therapist - throws her hands up in horror when I tell her that I eat while driving and that's unhealthy too, but it really makes sense to eat small things while driving. Honestly, on one Bikepacking tour you really use a lot Calories. In fact, you can't eat as much as you use up. So while driving I always have the following things ready, at least one thing or the other.
- Salted Peanuts
- Wine gum
- Clif Energy Chews
The salted peanuts provide calories and fat on the one hand and salt on the other. Since we sweat a lot, this is important for us. Wine gum is a nice continuous supply while driving. Easy to chew and lots of energy.
In Clif Energy Chews are just awesome! I'm not sponsored by Clif, but you have to try these, better than any gel! A small cube just over 100 kcal, the taste is great and I don't immediately feel the need to drink something like you often do with gels. A real recommendation, unfortunately I've never seen the Energy Chews in stores, I tried them at a trade fair and have only ordered them since.
When available, I always take a few Land hunters With. In the long run, I can't just eat sweets. Landjäger are tasty and keep for a few days.
Eating during the break
I actually went back to the sandwich last year. I make myself some sandwiches and enjoy them during the first big break on a long tour. Depending on availability, I also have one or two bananas with me, which I have rediscovered for myself. Unfortunately, apples don't work for me at all, they cause flatulence and additional hunger in me.
During the lunch break, everything is fine for me. Fried potatoes, pizza, steak or sausages. Everything was great, I just don't tolerate fries that well. My stomach is like a big sack and almost nothing can upset it. During my Bikepacking Tour 2019 I once had mett bread with onions, and then I realized that I really can't stand onions before and during sport.
Last year I ate cake during a break for the first time. Yes, cake tastes good. Yes, cake provides energy. But don't expect to lose even a kilogram 😂 Cake and cake hit me like a bomb! I find it very tasty from time to time, but of course it's not real food.
Many other racing cyclists swore by Cola. Sugar, sugar, sugar! I've tried it a few times and I've found that I get diarrhea with coke under the strain. Cola is an absolute no-go for me!
Of course, every person and every stomach is different. In the end you have to eat what is good for you. I recommend that you experiment a lot and then vary the things that are good for you. Meals on the road bike are always a bit different for me, every season I have a new favorite meal.
The main thing is that the food provides energy and is well tolerated by you.