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  1. #1
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    Eating before a commute

    Hi All,

    I've been lurking for a while but this my first post.

    It's been a long dream of mine to commute to work by bike, but I've always thought of it as kind of impossible. Finally tiring of making excuses and waiting to live/work in a area that makes it a no-brainer,I've decided to make the best of what I have and just give it a shot.

    I've mapped out a route that keeps me off main thoroughfares sticking mostly to nice country roads. It's less direct, but not unrealistic for me (20 miles) and I'll just have to be extra cautious in some places. I think with reasonable planning I can make it work, at least this first time. Who knows, if it works out, maybe it could even be a regular thing.

    Fortunately, since I live in the city, and my office is outside it, I will most likely be moving opposite most traffic anyway. And my thinking is that if I leave at a good early time, I will have less traffic to deal with, and less pressure for me to get to the office on time.

    My question to you all is: what do you do about breakfast? Since I want to leave pretty early, and will take a shower once I get there, I don't see a whole lot of time in the morning for me to eat and digest a meal. Do you guys just eat afterwards, and not worry about running low on energy along the way? Do you just do something minimal?

    skandl
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    Last edited by Skandl; 09-01-10 at 11:01 AM. Reason: $&$!n formatting

  2. #2
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    I eat about one before riding.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skandl View Post
    Hi All,


    My question to you all is: what do you do about breakfast? Since I want to leave pretty early, and will take a shower once I get there, I don't see a whole lot of time in the morning for me to eat and digest a meal. Do you guys just eat afterwards, and not worry about running low on energy along the way? Do you just do something minimal?

    skandl
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    I've had a variety of commutes, and have handled breakfast differently depending on the commute. I used to have a 15 mile commute (each way), over rolling hills. With that commute, I ate at work, after showering and getting dressed - usually something like instant oatmeal or a bagel which could be fixed in the small 'kitchen' that we had (coffee machine and toaster oven).

    My current commute is 8 miles and flat - I usually eat at home before the commute, and don't ride hard enough to work up much of a sweat.

    Try different things - see what works for you.

  4. #4
    born again cyclist Steely Dan's Avatar
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    i'm all about efficiency in the morning. typical routine: wake up, hop in the shower, groom, get dressed, pack up my backpack, shove two hard boiled eggs and a banana into my gut washed down with a tall glass of ice water, then hop on the bike and go. 20 minutes total elapsed time.

    i usually bring an apple with me for my mid-morning snack when i get to work.
    Last edited by Steely Dan; 09-01-10 at 12:21 PM.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    Different people react to food right before strenuous exercise differently. Some people don't do well with much of anything in their stomach. Others are fine. I'm kind of in between. I wouldn't want a big heavy meal before a 20 mile ride but I'd want something, even if it was just an energy drink.

    Before my evening group rides, I don't eat dinner. I might have a cliff bar or a banana and a gatorade.

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    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    You may have to experiment. I've found that I do best with a small breakfast before I leave (usually cereal and coffee) and then a snack at my desk after. I'd suggest starting small and if you find that it's not enough, go bigger the next day. And pack a banana or gel to eat on the ride just in case.
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  7. #7
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Yeah, you'll have to experiment to see what works for you. I normally eat a regular breakfast about 40-60 minutes befor riding in the morning. But I can also eat an orange, banana and a oatmeal bar and get on the bike right away, and that's enough food for a 40 min ride. Then I can eat at work.

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    I need to eat something. Anything. Can't have a 100% empty stomach.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Absenth's Avatar
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    I live on the edge of the suburbs, and ride into the country on my way to work. I usually leave at about 6am and arrive by about 6:30 (8mile commute one way)
    This morning I ate a Cliff Bar about 15-20m before I left with a couple glasses of water. Once I got to work I had a bowl of oatmeal, and some more water.

    Bananas before and/or after the ride are a personal favorite of mine as well.
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  10. #10
    tsl
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    I too am borderline in the mornings. I need a little something--even if its just some toast and OJ. More importantly, I need something after I arrive.

    At the branch I used to work at, when I rode my 20 mile route, there was a diner a mile before work. I used to like stopping there for breakfast, and swapping lies with other guys at the counter.
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  11. #11
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    Being a Paleo\Primal diet kind of guy, I can go on my 20 km commute with or without eating. I even skip breakfast sometimes after the commute. This morning however, I had 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and 2 pears + 1 cup of black coffee before heading out the door.

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    Senior Member ratell's Avatar
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    I don't usually eat breakfast when not riding, so I have coffee and go. It's only a 6 mile ride though. Times I have tried eating I usually end up feeling sick while riding. I am more likely to eat after getting to work then if I don't ride.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member mtalinm's Avatar
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    eat a lot the night before and then you can go without breakfast. if you're in a hurry, a bowl of cereal is quick and gives you an energy boost for a reasonably short commute. if you're going an hour or more I'd try eggs (what I usually do)
    Trek Domane 4.5 (commute/distance), Specialized Roubaix (climber), Xootr Swift (winter/travel), Trek Soho (around town)

  14. #14
    Senior Member GeneO's Avatar
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    Coffee and a bowl of cheerios, no sugar or a banana & yogurt. 12 mi in, 18 back
    Gene

  15. #15
    born again cyclist Steely Dan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtalinm View Post
    eat a lot the night before and then you can go without breakfast.
    that sounds like a recipe for weight gain, at least for those of us with specific types of metabolism. i'm extremely endomorphic and was told to stop eating any and all food at least 4 hours before going to sleep at night. i tried it, along with my bike commuting and overall healthier eating, in an effort to combat my obesity. i do feel that not eating anything after 7:00pm helped me in my journey from 240 pounds down to 180 pounds.
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  16. #16
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    I don't eat before riding. I tried it and it really bothered me. If I'm hungry before I set out, within 5 minutes I'm no longer hungry, and I don't get hungry again for about half an hour after I get to work.
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  17. #17
    commuter and barbarian scroca's Avatar
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    If I were you, I'd eat something before I rode 20 miles, even if you don't each much.

    I eat a hard boiled egg and a cup of yogurt with granola. That doesn't fill me up enough to bother me on the bike. Then after I get to work, shower and get to my desk, I eat oatmeal with raisins. With that, breakfast is over.

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    I just eat what I feel like eating,could be bacon and eggs,could be fruit,could be oatmeal,could be a bottle of beer.
    Everything should be as simple as possible...But not more so.---Albert Einstein

  19. #19
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    I don't eat before my 9mi commute and rarely before 60mi weekend rides, although I may have a banana at mile 30.

  20. #20
    Senior Member groovestew's Avatar
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    Bowl of cereal w/milk and a glass of apple juice every morning before my commute. There's about 10 minutes between when I finish brekkie and when I start my commute, but my stomach never bothers me. I don't have a terribly sensitive stomach though.

  21. #21
    Senior Member mtalinm's Avatar
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    Yeah you're right bad idea on my part

    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
    that sounds like a recipe for weight gain, at least for those of us with specific types of metabolism. i'm extremely endomorphic and was told to stop eating any and all food at least 4 hours before going to sleep at night. i tried it, along with my bike commuting and overall healthier eating, in an effort to combat my obesity. i do feel that not eating anything after 7:00pm helped me in my journey from 240 pounds down to 180 pounds.
    Trek Domane 4.5 (commute/distance), Specialized Roubaix (climber), Xootr Swift (winter/travel), Trek Soho (around town)

  22. #22
    Senior Member chrisb71's Avatar
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    Start by eating small. Some oatmeal, fruit, protein (even just milk) before leaving. My pre long-run breakfast was oatmeal and protein powder. You MIGHT even want water with some gatorade mixed in at the beginning since you don't know your endurance levels. You'll have to experiment to see what your stomach will tolerate. But that is far to go in the morning before eating, you're already hungry from fasting for 8-10 hours overnight.

    Soon you'll figure out your own method and what works best for you.

    edit: Another thing to vary is when to eat before. I would eat 1/2 hour before a long bout of cardio. so basically eat as soon as I get up, then walk dog, change, get everything ready by then some time has gone by. Eating right before? I can can see how that would cause some people problems.
    Last edited by chrisb71; 09-01-10 at 03:26 PM.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Kojak's Avatar
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    As many have stated, everyone is different. I can do 20 miles easy on an empty stomach but for some people this wouldn't be such a good idea. I'd start with at least a banana or some other lighter fare.

    I don't know if this is flawed thinking on my part, but I always feel that if I exercise prior to eating it aids in weight loss as I'm burning what I have instead of what I've just eaten. I also feel like it revs up my matablolism, but again my reckoning isn't anything scientific.
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  24. #24
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    I find that if I eat, my stomach gets upset AND I get hungry. If I just start out hungry, the feeling goes away quickly and I have no problem.

    Occasionally I will ride 35 miles instead of my usual 11. On those days I do have a small snack first, usually a bagel with cream cheese or some cereal. Then I have to take it easy for the first half hour or so.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  25. #25
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    First time out I didn't and was real hungry when I got to work. So next time I did. Started getting real queasy in route. Now I just make sure something is available when I arrive.

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