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It's come to my understanding that for some cyclists, caffeine and biking are like peanut butter and jelly. Admittedly, I like to guzzle a cup of joe before I bike the streets in the morning. 

I've heard so many mixed theories and explanations, would someone mind clearing it up for me?

 

Is caffeine good or bad before biking?


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AirRun, I bike to work several times a week and often have a cup of coffee beforehand.  I haven't had any problems, and especially for early morning commutes, that extra alertness and energy is nice.

 

I think the main danger of coffee and cycling together is the caffeine's diuretic effect on the body.  The caffeine causes slight dehydration, so it might be a good idea to drink some extra water.  Also, that extra water has to go somewhere.  If you have coffee before cycling, be prepared to make extra "nature breaks" or be uncomfortable in the saddle.

 

The pros seem to like their coffee and other forms of caffeine.  Think of pictures from the Tour where Andy Schleck is guzzling a regular Coca-Cola in the feed zone.  It doesn't seem to negatively affect his performance!

http://www.bicycling.com/ is always posting good and bad articles on caffeine and cycling, type caffeine into their page search and up pops a ton of articles. My personal feeling, black coffee is nothing but good. Don't get me started on espresso.

Before biking? I generally avoid it because of the dehydration and more frequent bathroom breakd, as mentioned above. 

 

Towards the end of long rides I love getting a bottle of cherry coke and shaking it up to release the carbonation before drinking. It works excellent as a pick-me-up, highly recommended.

 

 

Caffeine can provide a small boost in performance.  But I'd be a little careful of copying the pro's nutritional habits.  I think they eat/consume about 2000-3000 calories while racing during the stage races so they do some fairly extreme things to make sure that they get enough energy to replace the 4000-6000 calories that they can use up in a day's worth of racing.  

Becca said:

The pros seem to like their coffee and other forms of caffeine.  Think of pictures from the Tour where Andy Schleck is guzzling a regular Coca-Cola in the feed zone.  It doesn't seem to negatively affect his performance!

Given the difficulties I've had with my prostate in the recent past, I've had to lay off both caffiene and alcohol so that I'm not making such frequent bathroom breaks.  Now that I'm taking medication to control this, I still will abstain from both of these substances because of their diuretic effect.
No advice on cycling specific coffee use, but after damn near 20 years of regular and heavy coffee use, I recently switched to decaf.  After the headaches and muscle pains subsided three days later, everything has been great!  I'm getting to bed earlier, getting out of bed earlier, and feeling more balanced all day long.  No more energy spikes and crashes.  I still love coffee, I just drink decaf.

I have a cup in the morning, take a shower then eat. Usually have a glass of water or soy milk or in the cereal. Then even in moderate temps have a cup or bottle of water  when I get to work so I'm not dehydrated, in the summer it's not uncommon for me to drink my bottle on the way to work.

 

I tend to drink a lot of water regardless. I've gotten away from the energy drinks, "enhanced" water drinks. I may have a Coke  sometimes for lunch but not usually.

I need my coffee in the morning while cycling or not.  I usually have a dedicated coffee water bottle for my morning commute.  As always if you're going on long rides drink lots of water.  The little bit of caffeine dehydration has to be pretty negligible as long as you are drinking some water.
Good!

This article talks about the performance gains for endurance sports: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/26/health/nutrition/26best.html

 

I drink the same large quantity of coffee on or off the bike, so for me, the debate is moot :)

I've never noticed any bad side effects mixing coffee and biking (other than diuretics). I was debating if I should continue biking to my usual coffee spots, or get my java delivered.   :)

Although partial to a freshly brewed cup of coffee I no longer drink it prior to a morning ride. Caffeine raises blood pressure and increases the heart rate for the same equivalent effort. In response the kidneys kick in to compensate resulting in mild dehydration. It never used to bother me when my cardiovascular system was younger.

The effects are less of an issue after I've been on the road for an hour and thoroughly warmed up. I can then down a couple of cups at a breakfast stop without any symptoms.

Quite a few energy drinks contain some amount of caffeine, especially the recovery drinks.

Be careful with decaf coffee. After switching to decaf for some months my total cholesterol skyrocketed above 200. Apparently coffee contains some acids that interact with the liver to raise blood cholesterol. As the decaffeination process tends to remove some taste, decaf coffee is made from a stronger variety of bean that has a higher concentration of the acids that can raise blood cholesterol.

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