There’s no worse feeling on a bike than ‘The Bonk!’. Now we have all been there, its an easy mistake to make, caught up in the commotion and pain of a race or sportive and simply forgetting to re-fuel. Eating and drinking the correct things is crucial not only whilst riding, but also before and after. And so, to get our heads around this, we teamed up with PedalBites; a great all natural nutrition company to tell us what we should be doing to avoid that dreadful feeling.
Don’t be a fool, avoid the bonk and re-fuel!
So who is Pedal Bites?
Pedal Bites is a handmade cycling nutrition brand seeking to make a difference in the sports nutrition market and in particular the cycling area. Its a brand that was developed from the necessity for me to have ride fuel to keep me going through the 350km + weeks I was putting in when I was living in Nice in 2014 (I’d moved from Australia with my girlfriend now fiancé, and was literally living a life of travel and riding my bike). I’d bought a new bike, kit etc. and forgotten about food – travelling drained the account and so having a chef background got told by the other half to start making my own, and the idea was born! 12 months down the track id spent the summer working for a British tour company Le Domestique Tours, tried various recipes, questioned why id want to do it, started again, and again, then in May of last year it went live and 12 months on were kicking goals!
The inspiration and brand message for me is all about telling people, that unless your a full time athlete who dedicates x amount of hours a week, doesn’t have a second job, chores etc. you’re just not going to get the training time in, so why does one then suddenly think that just cause they don’t do the hours doesn’t mean they be using the commercialized energy products! The reality is your body isn’t used to them, ultimately wont know what to do with an overload and will eventually throw a tantrum usually in the form of stomach cramps being the most common symptom. So here at Pedal Bites, we want people to eat real food to fuel there rides, were real people, with real jobs and lives – your body knows what real food is and will know what to do with it, how to disperse the energy and process it! I set out with the idea of making a range of products that cover all aspects of the ride: with the brand being light hearted and fun (our product names, colourful packaging) but with a serious message in the sense of eating real food, your body will handle it and turn it into real fuel for your rides!
Our product names just like the brand name itself are designed to be a play on words, or a tribute to something that is a memory to me, as a prime example the “Lets go Apre” bar is a homage to what summer in Australia and being an aussie is, while the “get up and go” series was developed with the idea of being used as a bar/ball consumed right from the get go, when your still half asleep questioning why your up when its dark and bed still seemed like a better option! At the end of the day were all people who enjoy the same thing: riding our bikes, so lets continue that fun filled vibe into our nutrition!
On a typical rest day within a training schedule leading up to a sportive, is there certain food types we should make sure is in our diet for that day?
I’m personally a believer in eating everything in balance. I’ve never been one to follow the strict carb loading procedure or protein heavy meal plans! I find that eating a balance between carbs, protein and vegetables is the optimum for me! Nutrition just like what kit you wear out on the bike is so individualised and personal that I don’t like telling people / or even implying what people should or shouldn’t eat! As an individual you’ll know what you like to eat, what your body responds to well and most importantly how it will react!
On these downtime days I always enjoy a pan fried piece of salmon, steamed green vegetables and brown rice – its a quick, simple and really tasty meal that will be covering all bases!
The morning of a sportive/race, when and what should I be consuming?
Get up earlier than you would normally for a ride! you’ll know doubt have a few moments panicking about getting dressed, have i got the right kit, too cold to hot? Enjoy your breakfast don’t rush it! Id recommend either a bowl of muesli / porridge made with our signature breakfast muesli appropriately known as “Proper Breakfast”. its a versatile mix that can be eaten as muesli, porridge or even bircher if your that organised the night before! always have some fluids with your breakfast, be it a glass of orange juice alongside your coffee – you’ll need to be conscious to keep hydrated from the get go of course!
For those who aren’t breakfast people: your still going to need to eat! try chopping up some fresh fruit, yogurt, honey and topping it off with our “Geared up Granola” mix – it will give you the necessary kick start to the day, but wont leave you feeling like you’ve eaten a huge breakfast.
Make sure your leaving yourself a good 20 minutes before being out the door, so your food can begin to digest and be turned into the fuel your needing!
We know that it’s important to eat while riding. How often would you recommend refuelling during a ride and would you recommend carbohydrates or protein based snacks?
For me getting my re-fuelling right is most important, I can ride on one Bidon most of the year and not have any issues (yes i know i should be drinking more). Its about balance and finding what works for you as an individual! When I go out riding ill always take a bag of balls (Le router for the all day rides are just a necessity – definitely a favourite of mine) and most likely a few bars depending on the length of the ride & how my mood is! if the weather is good then its usually a fruity fuel and nuts about grains: weathers crap then it has to be a Lets go Apre, in homage to life back in Australia and the warmth and a fruity fuel again!, if its a long one then maybe a rice bar too for good measure! Timing wise I always aim to have a nibble or a ball every 45 minutes to an hour! “always eat before your hungry” it sounds daft, but the amount of people who do the reverse and are chasing their tails is frightening. Carb to protein ratio a balance seems to be good for me and work out well, lean towards more protein orientated snacks towards the end of the ride / immediately post. On those all day adventures in the saddle, then the main stop should involve a good serving of carbs to keep the body going, but otherwise smaller amounts should be fine and still get you around the ride in top form!
Post ride, how important is protein intake, when and how much should we be consuming?
It is definitely an essential part of the post ride meal to help your body start the recovery process and begin to repair the damage that the day’s activities have caused to it.
A lot of people opt for a protein recovery shake immediately post ride: I personally have never been a fan of them & don’t do them, but plenty of people I know swear by them! For me it’s all about getting a proper meal into you ASAP post ride: even if it something as simple as peanut butter on rice crackers it’s loaded with protein which will help tie you over until a proper meal is done!
For the super organized people; making a salad, be it grain or vegetable loaded up with a protein of your choice: id be going chicken or fish personally, but beef, tofu and eggs are all great sources too! Accompanied by some fresh vegetables, quinoa salad style with usually a drink containing salt to help ease the muscle cramp potential!
In terms of quantity and time: for me it’s inside the first hour of competing the ride, which is why if I can I’ll have something made up and ready to go! Quantity wise I’d normally be looking for a piece of fish / chicken that’s about 150g or there abouts! It of course is all in an ideal world where one can just enjoy the meal, take a nap and hang out for the afternoon – which in reality doesn’t happen to often does it!
Another super quick one is an omelette with ham, cheese, mushrooms or for those who don’t eat meat: mushroom, spinach feta are both really good quick sources of protein that will taste great and leave you wanting more.
What can we expect next from PedalBites?
Brand awareness and physical presence hopefully! The range has just recently had our “Geared up Granola” added to complement our new and improved “Proper Breakfast Muesli” which we’ve tweaked the recipe for and improved to a whole new level of awesome for breakfast! Were currently undertaking a revamp of the website and the way things are done on there! new product options will be available, and long with simpler ordering systems too! Were currently chatting with several retailers about the possibilities of working with them, so hopefully in the coming weeks well have more news about that shortly! The brand has seen a huge growth in the last 6 months and now at a point where its trying settle itself into the marketplace and look to become more of a known and recognisable brand in your local cafe and bike shop!
Big thanks to Riley of PedalBites for taking the time to get back to us and to Harry Engels for the Images.
We will have a review of their products coming soon!