Riding Nutrition and Safety Issues

I have decided to start a new section where people can discuss issues relating to health and safety matters during cycling. The first major input has been provided by Gary Hall.

Hot Weather Guidelines (suggested by Gary)

For the past 2 months, I have been riding with a bunch of six riders called TEAM ANGRY BIKERS, and we have strict guidlines on hot weather cycling:

  • Hydration packs of at least 1.5 litre capacity plus 2 bidons to be used on hot days…..or you don’t ride.
  • We do not ride on days above 32 degrees celsius….or days of very low humidity.
  • The tempo riding not to exceed 27kms an hour, and ride duration no longer than 3 hours.

Now I know that the argument will be I’m only a social rider… but any form of exercise without proper fluid intake, let alone on a hot day is asking for trouble.


Whether you are riding in winter or summer, adequate hydration is a key to ensuring ride longevity. Maintaining your body’s levels of hydration is crucial to regulating your cooling system. When you begin to exercise, your body begins to sweat. It is the evaporation of this sweat which cools your body. Once you become dehydrated, you sweat less. As a result, the rate of evaporation from the skin is reduced. In turn, this means that the body’s temperature is no longer regulated and it begins to heat up. An increase in your body’s temperature will adversely affect your riding and bike handling.


  • Before a ride drink, plenty of water to ensure you are sufficiently hydrated.

During the Ride

  • Once you hit the road, you should be aiming to consume 500ml per hour and MORE IN HOT WEATHER.
  • By the time you feel thirsty it is often too late – you are already suffering low level dehydration.
  • Try to practice taking regular drinks. Use your cycling computer, aiming to take a drink every time 2 kms ticks over.
  • Within weeks, you will find your body will want to drink at regular intervals without you thinking about it.
  • Also try to drink a combination of both water and an isotonic drink.
  • Isotonic drinks are loaded with sodium and electrolytes – important nutrients that are lost on mass when you sweat.
  • Just drinking water can result in your thirst thirst mechanism being switched off. The presence of sodium in your drink prevents this.
  • Hydration back packs are a great way to stay hydrated. I have found I drink more fluids on a ride, which also aids in recovery.
  • Some riders have difficulty riding and drinking at the same time. If this affects you, consider a hydration pack – you will be surprised how your fluid intake will increase.

Fuel Your Ride

If you do not adequately fuel your body, you will soon find out on the trail. Without the correct nutrition before, during and after a ride, you can be sure that your body will soon run out of its energy reserves. Your ride will be cut short and you will struggle to recover from your efforts.

Carbohydrates are our primary source of energy. It is these ‘carbs’ that will provide the energy to keep you going up that final climb or a few more kilometres down the road. Equally important, although in reduced quantities, are proteins and fats. When carbohydrate is consumed, it is broken down and stored in the body as glycogen. Here it remains until called upon in exercise. At lower intensities stored body fat is actually utilised ahead of stored glycogen. Fat takes longer to be broken down and so your body consciously saves its glycogen stores for when they are needed most.

Failure to eat correctly can seriously diminish your performance. Once your body has run out of the store glycogen, you will generally ‘ BONK’. I’m sure that most of you will have experienced this at one time or another – it’s when road-kill looks appetising !. Without careful replenishment between rides, your stored glycogen will run out even sooner on your next ride. Cyclists should aim to eat between 5 to 10g of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight per day. Warby Ghostriders should aim at the lower end of the scale.

Aim to eat a light, easily digestable meal 2-3 hours before the start of your ride. Cereals, sandwiches and alike are ideal. Snacks such as banana or cereal bar can be eaten between your meal and the start of your ride. When riding for over one hour at medium intensity, aim to consume around 15g of carbohydrates for each hour thereafter. This would equate to a cereal bar two bananas or two 500ml bottles of sports drink. Aim to eat a small high carbohydrate snack immediately after finishing your ride to begin replenishing you stored glycogen. Wash it down water or sport drink. Fluid is good for recovery.

Garibalidi’s Gourmet Treats – Banana and Honey Pancakes


1 egg
1 cup self raising flour
1 cup milk (skim / lite / full cream)
1 banana (over ripe)
3 tablespoons of honey
pinch salt
(serves 1)


This is a great tasty start to the day. Although it is high in carbs, it is low in fat and has a little protein too, and it’s simple to make.

In a bowl crack one egg and whisk, then add milk and whisk again. Mix the salt in the flour and add it to the mixture, with one mashed ripe banana and honey.

Mix all ingrediants together and let it sit for five minutes. Preheat your pan and spray it with cooking spray.

Now you’re ready. Divide the mix into as many pancakes as you want. Cook.