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Magic beans - How can coffee boost your cycling?

Taking a few precious moments each morning to make a great cup of coffee is one of life's little pleasures. It's time to get your head in the game and prepare yourself for the day ahead. It's also an incredible way to prepare for your morning ride too...

Coffee, and specifically the caffeine it contains, improves performance…that's a fact. Hundreds of studies have shown that consuming caffeine before a physical challenge helps cyclists go farther and faster than when they go without it. This effect holds true in studies of both endurance athletes and sprinters.

Here are the benefits to coffee with cycling, plus 7 points to keep in mind...

What are the benefits? 

According to researchers from Coventry University, you can expect improved focus, reduced perception of effort, and general mood improvement. Basically, cycling will feel easier and you'll be more intent on hitting your defined goals. Caffeine has also been proven to enhance reaction time, reduce negative effects of cycling in the heat, and even help cyclists burn fats more efficiently.

Having the right amount is very important.

Research shows that about 3 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight is all you need to see benefits. (For a 70kg person, that’s 210mg of caffeine). Higher doses beyond 6mg/kg don’t do more to improve performance, and you run the risk of developing negative side effects like dizziness, anxiety, and heart palpitations.

The caffeine in normal coffee varies immensely

When we found this  out, it blew our minds! It's quite shocking that the caffeine content in any normal coffee (instant, ground or hight street) is neither consistent nor reliable - it can vary from 20mg to over 400mg in a cup! This creates the risk of overdosing and unwanted side effects, particularly when used before cycling, let along in normal day to day life. This is the reason why we developed TrueStart Coffee - it's the only coffee in the world with a measured dose of caffeine per serving (95mg), for a predictable boost with no crash.

Having coffee at the right time helps

A study last year indicated that the best time to take caffeine for a performance boost is around 45 minutes before your event begins, as it takes your body 45 minutes to fully absorb caffeine into the system.

Coffee boosts your brain

A review published earlier this year examined the difference between the effects of caffeine on its own and the effects of consuming it in coffee. Coffee contains a number of substances (including polyphenols) that have been shown to improve focus as well as help people with dementia, stave off Alzheimer’s disease, and positively influence brain health.

Coffee does not dehydrate you

This is a popular myth that is starting to disappear as more people understand the effects better. Studies have found that whilst drinking up to five cups of coffee may have a mild diuretic effect it has little to no effect on hydration.

Coffee may help post-exercise recovery, too

One study had a group of cyclists complete a sportive to get them into a glycogen-depleted state. Those who drank a recovery drink with carbs and caffeine rebuilt their glycogen stores by 66 percent more than those who drank only carbs. This is because caffeine increases the rate at which your body absorbs muscle glycogen.

You can do more than just drink coffee too

If a morning cup of coffee just isn’t enough, try adding some coffee into your pancake mix, whipping up a coffee recovery shake, or making some healthy coffee frozen yoghurt!

So there you have it. Your morning pick me up ritual can also be a PB in a cup... Just make sure you know how much caffeine you are consuming in your coffee, so you get all of the benefit without any of the risk.

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1 comment

  • Always drink coffee before my 40 mile mtb ride and take a caffeine tablet half way round, I seem slow to absorb my fluids even though it has 500mg of pottasium in and 5mg of turine which regulates the sugar intake I always use good old Ribena as the sugar, this mix makes me get through with no food climbing 2000 feet averaging over 13mph has taken me 8 years to get to this fitness level 2hours 50m my last ride on a full suspension. Always thought the diuretic effect helped my absorption as this proves.


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