Published on Feb 28, 2019 by Tom Owen

This is an ode to the creative ride snack. The fuel on the go that you never thought about sticking into your back pocket before a long training session, but it turned out to be just the recharge you needed to finish those last few intervals. We’ve asked our fans what their essential training fuel is, and added a few ideas of our own. Buon appetito!

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1.    Candy

For those with a sweet tooth, small, quickly chewable delicacies can be just the ticket when a boost of energy is needed. Go-to confectionaries include jelly beans, jelly babies or gummi bears, fruit pastilles, any Halloween candy that your children rejected, which probably involve those little boxes of raisins, Swedish Fish, the list goes on. The best thing about these quick pick-me-ups is, they can be found in any most any gas station along your training route.

2.    Granola bars

Not just for kids’ lunchboxes, granola bars can be a great alternative to the more expensive brands available on the market today. Cyclists can choose to pick up ready-made bars at the grocery store, gas station or make their own through dozens of recipes online.

3.    Bananas

There’s nothing more old school than carrying a good old banana in your back pocket during a training ride. The yellow fruit has become somewhat of an icon in the cycling community, with banana inspired jerseys, custom banana holders and plenty of banana flavored gels and bars to choose from. The fruit itself is still popular because of the energy boost it provides, as well as its various micronutrients, including potassium, magnesium and vitamin C. Oh, and adding banana slices to a Nutella sandwich is pure heaven.

4.    Dried fruit

Depending on your preference, dried fruit can be the way to go on a long ride. Pack dates, dried pineapple, mango, etc., in sandwich bags, stuff them in your jersey pocket and be on your way.

5.    Salty treats

Piggybacking off of dried fruit, those with a more salty palate may prefer coupling fruit with nuts and chocolate chips. Trail mix, or “gorp” is also an easy recipe to put together for training rides. Be the envy of your training partners by adding beef jerky or wasabi almonds to your training fuel staple. Have leftover pizza? Cut it up in small squares, stick it in a baggie and enjoy.

6.    Baked goods

It can be as easy as toasted cinnamon and raisin bagel. It fits perfectly in a jersey pocket and has a built-in hole for easy access. If raisins aren’t your thing, try homemade bars with oats, honey, and raisins, or oats and chocolate chips. If you’re headed out on a longer ride, small sandwich buns or tortilla wraps with either ham or prosciutto inside.  

7.    Fig bars/Fig Newtons

For the longest time, some cyclists have sworn by the small fig wonders that are Fig Newtons. They’re portable, easy to chew and absorb with a swig of water, and are packed with energy.

8.    Hydration

There are plenty of excellent mixes, powders and tablets on the market today that will quench your hydration needs on longer, but back in the day, a flat coke would do the trick. Or, during those cold winter training days, mixing warm tea with honey was just the ticket.

9.    Potatoes

Remember that Toms Skujins victory dance on stage three of the 2018 Amgen Tour of California? Fueled by potatoes. Enough said. The Latvian phenom says he can’t live without all things spud, whether it be sweet potato pancakes, boiled potatoes with salt, French fries, whatever. The vegetable is a convenient food to ride with as well. Wrap it in foil, and you’re good to go.

10.   Chocolate bars

Last but not least, another accessible energy boost that can be easily found at any gas station or general store are chocolate bars - Abba Zabba, Snickers and Milky Way to name a few. After all those miles, you deserve to refuel with a little bite of decadence.

About the Author

Tom Owen

Tom Owen is a cycling writer who has worked with some of the cycling world's biggest media brands, covering everything from the top levels of the professional sport to bikepacking adventures in the Balkans.