Nutrition for cycling: nail the basics with our guide on what you need and where to get it

If you want the best output from your legs, you need the best input in terms of your fuelling – but how exactly?

Male cyclist grabbing an energy bar from his jersey pocket
(Image credit: Future)

Food and fluid provide the energy required by every function of the body and, for endurance cyclists, our two major fuel sources are carbohydrates and fats. The average human stores over 100,000 calories worth of energy in fat, and a much smaller reserve of carbs – around 2,000 calories. Let’s not forget the importance of hydration, with humans being 60-70 per cent water; even bone is one-third H2O. 

Here, we’ll take you through a quick guide on how much you should consume on rides of varying lengths. We’ve then got a deep dive on everything you need to know about carbohydrates, hydration, on the bike fuelling, post ride nutrition, recipes, and a host of other topics. So sit back and get familiar with the essentials of cycling nutrition.

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Deena Blacking is a cycling coach and sports consultant at

With contributions from