6 common fuelling mistakes and how to avoid them on your next big ride

With just a little bit of planning you can ensure that you never run out of gas on a ride again

A female cyclist eating an energy bar as she rides
(Image credit: Future)

Bonking, hitting the wall, the knock. Whatever you call it, running out of energy is something that every cyclist dreads. It is the result of exercising to the point at which your muscles’ glycogen (energy) stores become totally depleted. Glycogen is the stored state of carbohydrate within the body and it’s the primary fuel you use during high-intensity exercise - once these stores are empty, your body is running on fumes. 

The principle is similar to that of a car. As it runs out of fuel, it will come to a gradual stop and, to to get it started again, more fuel is needed. This is the same in cycling: the right fuel is needed at the right time to help maintain sufficient levels of glycogen in the body, and prevent the dreaded ‘bonk’. 

Tom Couzens
Freelance Writer

Tom Couzens is a racing cyclist currently representing The Ribble Collective on the road and the Montezumas cyclo-cross team off road. His most notable results include winning the Monmouth GP national series race as a junior; finishing sixth in the 2022 British National Cyclo-cross Championships; and he was selected to represent Great Britain at the European Cyclo-cross Championships in 2020/21. Tom draws on his high-level racing experience and knowledge to help Cycling Weekly readers maximise their potential and get as much as possible out of their riding.