A love letter to my mid-ride banana

There's a reason the only variety we eat is called the Cavendish

Two bananas in the shape of a heart
(Image credit: Getty Images)

This article is part of a series called ‘A love letter to…’, where Cycling Weekly writers pour praise on their favourite cycling items and share the personal connection they have with them. 

The below content is unfiltered, authentic and has not been paid for.

I often forget things when I go for a bike ride. I’ve forgotten my house keys on occasion, my phone, and I consider myself lucky if I remember to pick up my tire levers before heading out the door. More often than not, I leave my metaphorical legs at home. 

Still, there is one thing I never forget. I never forget a banana. 

A cycling jersey has three pockets, and the one on the far left is reserved for my favourite fruit. I notice when I can't feel its weight in the material, or sense its stalk poking out the top, like a dog's head out an open car window. 

For years, the banana was Britain’s most popular fruit, a staple of the supermarket shop, its success fuelled in part by my spending habits. It was then cruelly dethroned by the strawberry in 2021, but you won’t catch me packing punnets on my hills ride (in part because I'm quite convinced they'd form a warm, jammy mess). 

No, there is a reason the only variety of banana we eat is called the Cavendish. Like the sprinter himself, it was made for cycling. It is super fuel for our sport, and I don’t leave home without one. 

Mark Cavendish holding two bunches of bananas

Like me, Mark Cavendish never gets caught short. 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Here’s how the scene usually plays out. I’m 30km into my ride, my legs are tiring and my stomach starts to rumble. The morning bowl of porridge I ate was not enough, I quickly realise, so I contort my left arm around my hip, and draw my banana from its holster. 

I hold it by the stalk, or as I like to call it, the handle. Still pedaling, I then prize open the blunted end with my teeth, and rabidly peel back the skin. (Note: the banana, like the orange, is one of the only food items that comes in its own wrapper, having evolved to survive in a jersey pocket.)

I’ll spare you the description of how I eat it. The banana is, after all, a comically shaped fruit, and we don't need that crude innuendo here. All I will say is that the texture, soft yet firm, makes it easy to chew in even the coldest conditions, when one’s jaw is frozen stiff by the windchill. 

But still, don't listen to me, go ahead and order your expensive gels and bars on the internet. They’re bolstered with carbohydrates, you say, but they’re flavoured sickly sweet and leave a sour taste in your bank account. 

Wait until you see how smug I look when I reach for my banana. Did you know it only cost me 20p? I smirk. Watch me get high on the potassium, and then ride like I’ve got a motor in my wheel hub for the next half an hour. 

Forget riding paniagua, all I need is a banana. 

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