Cycling has increased in popularity over the past few years in line with a renewed consumer focus on health, fitness, and wellbeing. It has become even more popular during the Covid-19 pandemic, when most public gyms around the world were forced to close for periods of weeks or months. As many of our Hampshire customers can attest, coffee is synonymous with cycling, as I have been known to turn up dressed in Lycra with Espressopedia coffee order in hand. How’s that for personal service!
Caffeine has some clear and obvious benefits for us bike riders, it’s a mild central nervous system stimulant so can improve alertness and concentration when on the road. Although traffic levels were low during lockdown things are getting much busier on the roads, so keeping alert is important. It can also help to perk you up if you are feeling tired or lethargic, so says the British Coffee Association. It has the ability to help us exercise harder and for longer, it encourages our bodies to burn fat as fuel. It can reduce feelings of pain and fatigue. All in all, it is a pretty wonderful substance!
Caffeine is the active ingredient and can be taken as a supplement but it is so much better in your favourite Espressopedia pod. However, part of the joy of cycling over the South Downs is propping your bike up outside a café, sitting back in the sun and smelling the freshly roasted beans while listening to the locals’ and fellow cyclists chat around tables and benches.
Café culture has taken off in the UK but few places have got it right. Espressopedias Italian suppliers take their coffee seriously and shake their heads in horror at our High Street chains selling buckets of milky coffee. They believe that anywhere that serves a 400ml milky latte is missing the point. Coffee and café bars have always been a way of life in many countries. For example, in any Italian village, at any time of day, the coffee shop is the heart and soul. It’s where people go to catch up on gossip, discuss politics, argue about the proposed football super league and meet their friends. You won’t find a chocamokachino here, instead join the locals in a ristretto, a single shot of espresso that barely fills a shot glass.
Your daily coffee ritual is as much about culture as it is about cycling. A visit to a café is a real chance to meet local people, to sit quietly and watch the world go by and slip into the lifestyle of the country you are visiting. A cheeky coffee is as much a part of cycle ride as a cheeky climb up Old Winchester Hill!
What are you having?
Different coffees suit different stages of the ride. For your pre-ride coffee or early coffee an espresso caffé is best – taken short and black. Mid-ride a bit of sugar and extra water to make a longer coffee will help with both hydration and energy levels. Contrary to popular belief about coffee being a diuretic the fluid in coffee can add to your daily hydration levels so you can enjoy a long coffee (Caffé Lungo) during your ride, but continue to top up on plain water throughout the ride.
Keep your coffee black before or during cycling if you are concerned about your performance on the bike. The fatty nature of milk means it does not digest well whilst exercising, so maybe try Soya or Oat milk as an alternative when out of the road. Also milky coffee is ridiculed by my, Italian coffee drinkers would never order a milky coffee such as a cappuccino once breakfast has passed and never after a meal, but it has some benefit to the tired cyclist at the end of a ride. Not only will the caffeine perk you up but the proteins and fats in the milk will help your muscles to recover from the day’s exertions.
So what is stopping you, dust off the bike, go for a ride and remember to drink your Espressopedia coffee!