Fuel to push the pedal

Published 5:20 pm Saturday, May 10, 2014

Taking a bike ride may seem leisurely, but for many who bike long distances, it requires the right fuel for all that pedal power.

Whether you choose track-style, road-racing or mountain biking, it’s essential that you are energizing with the right foods and fluids. A road-racing biker, for example, requires endurance for long rides and hilly terrain and can burn between 600 to 900 calories per hour. Track and mountain biking require intense, intermittent bursts of strength and power. No matter what style of biking you choose, to feel energized throughout the bike trip, the right fuel makes all the difference.

During a bike ride, our muscles primarily use calories from carbohydrates so it’s essential to eat healthy carbohydrates before, during and after biking.  Before and after the ride, a meal rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein and low-fat dairy is idea.

An easy meal to eat before or after the ride would be a sandwich made of whole grain bread, slices of lean turkey or chicken, topped with fresh tomato, lettuce and cucumber slices, along with fresh berries and chocolate milk.

Snacks brought on board during the bike ride need to be portable, not likely to melt, require only one hand to eat, and provide the right fuel to sustain the ride. The goal with snacking during a bike ride is to eat every 20 minutes. Here are a few ideas:

Banana•Bananas or peeled orange segments contain carbohydrates and potassium for muscles. Start the peel of the banana before getting on the bike so it doesn’t require two hands.

•Peanut butter and sliced bananas on a bagel. Use a whole grain bagel, top with two tablespoons peanut butter and slices of banana. Cut bagel into fourths and pack for your bike ride. Eat one fourth every 20 minutes.

•Dried fruit and nuts provide carbohydrates and electrolyte replenishment from sweat losses.

Choose dried apples, raisins or mangos; pair them with salted peanuts or almonds and whole grain cereal bites (like shredded wheat).

How to stay hydrated during the ride?  Here are some good guidelines:

•Drink 20 ounces of water before embarking on the journey.

•Drink ¼ of a 20-ounce water bottle every 15 to 20 minutes while riding.

•After the ride, drink 1-1/2 to two (20-ounce) bottles of water.  You could even opt for a glass of chocolate milk as part of that liquid allotment for muscle recovery and refueling.

Rainbow Fruit and Cheese Kabobs

A portable snack, filled with carbohydrate and protein.  If the skewer or straw is too cumbersome for the ride, just mix the fruit and cheese together in a resealable bag.

Servings: 6

Created by: Midwest Dairy Association

All you need

•6 (8-inch or longer) skewers

•6 ounces Monterey cheese, cut into 18 cubes

•½ cup strawberry halves

•½ cup ¾-inch-cubed cantaloupe

•½ cup ¾-inch-cubed pineapple

•1 kiwifruit, peeled and cut into 6 pieces

•¼ cup blueberries

•6 purple grapes

 All you do

For each kabob,thread onto each skewer a piece of cheese, strawberry half, cantaloupe cube, pineapple cube, another piece of cheese, a piece of kiwi, 2 blueberries, a grape and another piece of cheese. Repeat pattern with remaining skewers.