Pedal Power - Coffee and Cycling

Coffee and cycling have long been a complimentary pair – the bond between both ritualistic activities have roots that started in Europe, with Italian, French, Belgian and Spanish cycling and café culture having made its way onto our streets here in the UK.

Pass most cafes in the warmer months and you’ll spot a multitude of parked bikes, and their lycra clad cyclists getting a mid-ride energy boost. Coffee is often seen as an unhealthy indulgence in popular media, however fresh, quality Coffee can actually improve your performance without any negative effects.

Redber Coffee, cyclist stopping by

Here at Redber we welcome a wide range of cyclists, from dedicated club members, to the enthusiastic individual. It’s always fascinating to find out from each cyclist their reason for enjoying coffee on their rides; for some it’s merely social, however for others it’s a way to re-energise.

The social aspects of coffee during a ride mostly come down to being a part of the massive cycling community. Cafes have become friendly hubs for meeting new people to ride and exchange tips with, and also to reward yourself for achieving your targets.

Using coffee to enhance your performance is a lot more than just the typical rush of energy you feel after your morning brew; caffeine actually increases your body’s ability to burn fat whilst conserving carbohydrate, so this allows the carbohydrate to be tapped into at the final stretch of your ride. Matthew Ganio, PhD, an exercise physiologist explains the effects of caffeine as “crowding out a calming brain chemical called adenosine. You become more alert, you react faster and you don’t feel like you’re working as hard.” [1]

Coffee in preparation of cycling

Fresh coffee is undoubtedly a fantastic source of healthy caffeine, perfect for athletes as there is no hidden additives and artificial chemicals. However introducing caffeine into your training routine little by little is advised by many industry professionals.

 

To help you get started we’ve selected some of the best drink choices depending on when you choose to drink your coffee in relation to your ride…
Pre-ride: Double Espresso
Mid-ride: Americano
Post-ride/recovery: Latte (with full-fat milk)

 

[1] Ganio, MS, Klau, JF, Casa, DJ, Armstrong, LE, Maresh, CM, 2009 "Effect of caffeine on sport-specific endurance performance: a systematic review", Journal of Strength Conditioning Research, 23, 1, pp 315-24

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