Cycling & Coffee
Why do they go well together?
Have you ever wanted to know why cyclists drink coffee?
Have you ever wondered about the connection?
As a bike rider, I too drink coffee before and after a ride out with company.
Drinking coffee is nothing new and cyclists have been doing it for decades.
Most cyclists, tend to travel in a group and therefore also drink coffee together. I have always thought it was part of being social but after a bit of research, I realised there is a science to it.
Here’s what I have learnt about the combination of the two.
Caffeine, like so many stimulants are always closely monitored under a microscope, but what I didn’t realise was how beneficial it is for cyclists to drink coffee.
For starters, we're told that coffee is a recognised tool for the average cyclist. As it is for everyone.
But what makes cyclists any different?
First of all, it helps stimulate our nervous system that releases adrenaline for energy. Perfect for when you’ve been absent from bike riding and want to get back to your normal fitness routine.
Research has shown that a black coffee consumed before a ride helps increase the amount of fat you burn. Though, I’ll make it clear that you shouldn’t rely on caffeine as it will upset your sleep pattern. If you haven’t been getting regular sleep, it’s probably best to steer clear of the bike for a while until you’re feeling well rested or confident to get back on the bike again. It’s important to look after your mental and physical health as well as your digestive health.
Caffeine can affect individuals in different ways, primarily because natural sensitivity and adaptation to the effects can impact upon its perceived effectiveness. It can increase mental alertness, help the body burn fat, and potential improve muscle contraction and blood flow.
Caffeine has also been known to increase fat metabolism and preserve muscle glycogen. This means that while we recover from a workout, we can also lose weight and gain muscle, accelerated by one cup of coffee. Caffeine also has the extraordinary effect to allow us to focus better when pushing our bodies to our limits as well as the addition to improve cycling performance.
Our bodies are different and so people metabolise their caffeine differently to others. It isn’t simply about how much coffee you should drink but a question of when is it the best time to drink before a ride? Some cyclists drink up to an hour before riding and others a little later. It all depends on how sensitive your body is to caffeine. Be sure when the caffeine does kick in, it’ll improve your awareness and provide better reflexes and judgement and as we all know, these skills are essential when riding either solo or in a group.
For many riders, a cup of coffee remains part of the cultural and social experience of cycling, but the fact remains that utilising caffeine smartly can benefit cyclists, as a stimulant for both the central nervous and muscular systems in the body.
The science is ever-evolving, but we do know this: caffeine consumption in cycling is here to stay.