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The Relationship Between Caffeine, Coffee and Bikes

From days gone by when Tour de France cyclists relied on the caffeine as a performance enhancer to the current day “coffee shop ride”, coffee and bikes have been an inseparable pair.  Cyclists have long had a love of coffee both for the taste, the performance benefits and the social interaction involved with a cup of joe.  Pre-ride, post-ride or mid-ride, so much of the sport revolves around coffee and the caffeine within.

But why?

Is it because cycling is traditionally a European sport, and Europeans themselves have a love affair with the coffee bean?  Or does it have something to do with the warming feeling of a cup of joe before an early morning slog?  Maybe some love the performance enhancing effects of caffeine?  Is social interaction a primary motivator?

Maybe it's one of those reasons.

Maybe it's just a little more intangible than any of those.

Click through the jump for some info on the performance enhancing effects of caffeine and why coffee and bikes belong together.


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Performance Effects of Caffeine On Your Cycling

Is it possible that the quintessential coffee shop ride has more to do with performance than it does social togetherness?  In some studies, it's been shown that the caffeine in a cup of coffee may be a difference maker in terms of performance while riding a bike.  But some difference of opinion remains when discussing how soon after ingestion do the performance effects of caffeine actually take effect.  When should you drink that espresso?  When should you have that morning cup of coffee when you're going out for a training ride?

In this short Periscope videocast, I'll talk about the performance effects of caffeine on your cycling performance.  I'll also touch on what is the optimal timing is for getting your caffeine fix and what the quickest method of getting your caffeine into your blood is.  I'll also answer a couple of questions from listeners who were online at the time, giving you a couple of other tidbits on coffee and caffeine.

Don't forget to like/share and comment!


2014 Holiday Gift Guide

[dc]T[/dc]he holiday gift giving season is nearly upon us, and many of us are creating our own "wish lists" for loved ones to peruse.  Others may be on the hunt for the perfect gift for "that crazy bike guy" in their life.  In the spirit of the season, I'm listing some of my favorite gifts for beginners, some gifts for the hardcore racing crowd, and a few items that will suit anyone who appreciates the two wheel lifestyle.  Without further ado, let's look at some gifts for:

For The Beginner Cyclist

Chamois Butt'r Eurostyle - 8 oz tub.Chamois Butt'r

Beginners to the sport are often somewhat squeamish about the idea of wearing lycra shorts with a chamois in them in the first place.  Introducing them to the process of smearing chamois lube (in this case Chamois Butt'r) on their rear end may sound like a huge step, but once they get a couple of lubed up rides in, they'll wonder how they ever did without.  Not only does Chamois Butt'r help to prevent chafing during long days in the saddle (and thusly prevent saddle sores) the proprietary non-greasy blend is gentle on sensitive skin and easily washes off both skin and clothing.  And if the recipient does tend to suffer from saddle sores, try the Eurostyle which adds a cooling element to cut down on the soreness of long days and weeks in the saddle.  Forget the awkwardness of giving your cycling obsessed loved one some bit Butt'r, and dump a tube of lube in their stocking.  

$16/8 oz. tube or $20/8 oz. Eurostyle tube.


Leaf Peeping: The Best Cycling Season

Fall easy miles[dc]I[/dc]f you're anything like me, you've spent the last nine months absolutely killing yourself in the endless quest for better endurance, podium placings and bigger power numbers.  Nine months of time have been spent being obsessed with numbers, following training plans and interval workouts to the letter, all in a quest to improve performance.

If you're anything like me, you've seen the fruits of those labors.  You've seen the payoff for all the hours of training, the time spent poring over training and race data.  The numbers have gone up (hopefully), the placings have come, goals have been met and you've had a season to be proud of.

If you're anything like me…you're tired.

Your body is probably worn down from the repeated thrashings at the hands of teammates, other racers and your own dedicated training.  Your legs probably don't feel like putting out big watts over long rides anymore.  Your motivation to get out and train your body into oblivion is likely waning.  Unless you're in full on cyclocross mode, you're probably not even thinking of racing, except to begin plotting out your training and racing schedule for next season.

That's the perfect cue to throw your training plans out the window and rediscover the thrill and wonder that just riding your bike can bring.  All too often we get caught up in the technology, the numbers, the goals and training in general, and we forget why we started riding and love riding our bike.  Fall is the time to let it all go (unless you're a 'cross racer) and just enjoy the ride.  

Fallen leavesThe crisp spice of fall air and the crunch of leaves under rubber are the harbingers of the off season.  Embrocation adds a wafting aroma that is unmistakable in the brisk morning air.  For the first time in a year, you are able to forget about speed, pick your head up off the stem you've been chewing on as you bled from your eyes for the season, and notice what's going by around you.  The beauty of the countryside becomes the focus of the ride, rather than a mere distraction from the pain of training.  There's no longer guilt in stopping for a mid ride espresso instead of doing hill repeats, and people are willing to linger in the autumn sunshine a little longer at the table while you discuss the nuances of arm warmers and shoe covers.  

Do yourself a favor and go out for a ride.  Not a training ride, just a ride.  Either leave your computer at home or change the screen to show nothing but distance; no power, no cadence, no heart rate.  Simply pick a direction and just go wander.  Meander through the brisk fall air and fallen leaves, climb up that road you've passed by many times before, stop for a cider donut and enjoy the ride.  You know you've worked hard for months, and now its time to enjoy the fitness you've built by saddling up for some carefree wanderlust.  If you're anything like me, you'll discover things you never knew where there.

Sometimes it's good to be tired…


The Joy of Garbage Miles

Garbage milesSince the holidays are here and the season has ended, most of us have put our training season to bed.  We're tired, we're busy with holiday commitments and we're not really interested in fighting freezing temperatures and precipitation to get a ride in.  On the other hand, we're not really interested in setting up the indoor trainer, either.  So we take advantage of the warm days when we can, and we go out and ride, ignoring training, ignoring goals and ignoring all our power, heart rate and speed metrics.  We go out and cruise along, sightseeing, taking advantage of this rare opportunity to put in “garbage miles.”