Stopping at a local coffee house on group rides or enjoying a pleasant caffeine break on your solo ride is a wonderful part of cycling culture. Coffee stops are fun, they support local businesses, give you a boost, and offer an opportunity to socialize. But there are downsides if you don’t do them right. Let’s go over a few tips on how to best integrate them into your cycling summer.

The social part of cycling

You can have a lot of fun riding alone. But when cycling truly shines is when it’s shared with others. Sharing stories, complaining about hardships, and planning adventures over a coffee and cake is an important part of that. And you might even make new friends when taking a coffee break at your local cycling café.

Cycling café
There’s nothing like a coffee break with your cycling companions. © Profimedia

Coffee breaks are great for new riders

Coffee breaks are also excellent for new riders. It’s not just a way to excite and integrate them into the cycling community. Rides that include a coffee break can help new cyclists progress from short rides to longer ones. It will offer the caffeine, energy, and confidence boost needed to reach the next milestone.

The reasons to include coffee stops are clear. Not that many cycling enthusiasts need convincing. But let’s not forget that they can influence the rest of your ride.

It’s hard to continue the same effort

A long coffee break signals to your body that your training is over and recovery has begun. Especially if you have a sweet dessert with your coffee, your body will start using the sugar to replenish glycogen in your muscles. This makes it more difficult for your body and mind to continue the same effort when you get back to riding.

Too many calories can slow you down

If you don’t fuel well on the bike, you might arrive at the coffee stop with a big energy deficit. This might lead you to opt for a coffee with a lot of sugar and cream and a big fat piece of cake on top. Ingesting this many calories, especially when a lot of them come from fat, is quite taxing on your digestion. It might have the opposite effect and sap your energy instead of giving it. This is another reason to keep the coffee stop lighter if you’re planning on doing some more riding after.

Cyclist café
Watch those calories if you don’t wish to be slowed down by them. © Profimedia

What kind of coffee should you go for?

Coffee can take many forms and it’s important to choose the right one for the occasion.

  • If you’re riding hard and want something that will give you a quick boost but won’t slow you down, go for a two-shot espresso with sugar.
  • For longer, less intense rides, go for a latte, which typically provides more carbs and calories than an espresso. Plus, it gives you a bit of protein too that comes in handy on longer rides.
  • Avoid options like white chocolate mocha, caramel latte, and anything that adds ice cream into the coffee. So much fat and calories won’t serve you well mid-ride.

Tips for your next coffee stop

Apart from the choice of coffee, it’s good to keep the following in mind to enjoy your coffee stop without any negative consequences.

  • Aim to keep the stop under 30 minutes.
  • Do the intense part of training before the stop.
  • Use it as a way to break up longer endurance rides.
  • Choose less caloric coffees and avoid big cakes mid-ride.
  • If you want to indulge, have your coffee stop at the end of your ride.