How to not bonk out on the bike

June 11th, 2017 3:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

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WE’RE on the home stretch with the Wild Atlantic Mizen Charity Cycle on the horizon at this stage.  

By Paudie O’Donovan


WE’RE on the home stretch with the Wild Atlantic Mizen Charity Cycle on the horizon at this stage.

Given the turn out for the recent Ring of Beara cycle it’s clear how absolutely huge cycling has become in West Cork – and how much enjoyment people of all ages are getting out of this past time.

This is week five in our preparation for the upcoming charity event on July 8th and it’s time to talk about bike maintenance.

Considering the time and effort we are all putting into our fitness and training,  it would make no sense at all not to brush up on some basic bike skills like how to pump your wheels, how to clean your chain and how to change a puncture.

I’ll refer readers to my video on the Southern Star website (Life section) and Facebook page on how to change a flat tyre – an essential skill because all the training in the world won’t get you out of this predicament so this is one scenario to practise, practise and practise. 

Next let’s look at what foods to eat while cycling.

Frequently when people get involved in cycling or any sport for that matter, they get very wrapped up with the training side of things eg how far they cycled, how fast and at what average speed. They forget to mention what they ate and when they ate it.

Repeat after me: ‘Nutrition is key.’ For your longer cycles you have to take food with you; things like carbs and sugars that you need to give you energy, and that you can store in the pocket of your cycling jacket or on your bike.

On long 120k plus cycles the rule is to eat every 45mins-55min or every half an hour for the shorter ones.

Bananas, rice cakes and fig roll biscuits are just some of the things you can consume and if you’re a seasoned cyclist you can take your energy gels and your homemade flapjacks to get you round the course.

You also have to drink – I’m talking bottles of water, juice or Lucozade Sport. Again if you want to be ‘scientific’ you can drink one of many carbohydrate drinks on the market such as High 5 or Powerbar. You can also take an electrolyte tablet to stop you getting dehydrated - there are numerous brands for pre and post event.

The choices are yours but basically if you don’t eat and drink, you will bonk. In endurance sports such as cycling and running, hitting the wall describes a condition caused by the depletion of glycogen stores in the liver and muscles, which manifests itself by sudden fatigue and loss of energy – or bonking.

Also keep in mind that the meal the night before your long cycle is important and should be a mix of carbs, protein, fats and sugar. I believe a balance of all four is the correct way to eat and will keep your energy levels up for training the following day.

More of this to come next week and plenty on the most important training partner of all  - rest.


Wild Atlantic Mizen Cycle Training Programme

Week 5 Plan – Mon June 12th to Sun 18th

Monday - Rest (long cycle yesterday)

Tuesday - 15k cycle

Wednesday - Rest

Thursday - 15k cycle

Friday - Rest

Saturday - 28/35k long cycle

Sunday - Rest

Total cycled this week - 58/65k over three cycles


Paudie O’Donovan is a qualified neuromuscular physical therapist specialising in pain relief and improvement of mobility/flexibility. He is masseur to the Cork senior football team and runs a sports injury clinic at Quarryvale, Coolnagrane, Skibbereen.

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