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The Peeky Rider: what should the weekend cyclist choose as fuel?

14th December 2013

In the process of dropping Jr Rider’s dinner money off at his primary school reception, I couldn’t help but notice the sign on the window “You are welcome to breast feed here”. A short and, I felt, overly terse discussion with the receptionist clarified the situation. You could say she gave me a right mouthful! Though of course she didn’t, not even enough to whiten my Costa. It just goes to show what a fine line it is between what’s advertised as being good for you, and what can result in a hefty fine and a banning order. 

But hey let me shock you. DECENT NUTRITION!!! There! Thats a phrase that has been rammed down everyone’s throat. Frankly I’m sick of hearing about “a balanced diet this” or “Hugh Fearnly-Whitteringtwatbasket says grow your own homestead, that”. What about giving a clue to the average man on the street? Me! Will someone not guide us through this minefield of recommended doses, traffic lights on cereal boxes, and middle-class chefs with their eye on a television series/book double? 

On a jaunt recently with my old cycling pal Joe we ended up in the cafe at our favourite homely garden centre. The stop was needed, let me tell you, now this kid can sweat, and twenty minutes into the journey he was wetter than the queue for Morrissey’s autobiography. Anyway after ordering from the kindly lady manning the café (two litres of coke and three slices of chocolate cake, oh a king size mars bar and one of those large blueberry muffins, no, that big one at the back), conversation turned to the finer points of where legitimate refuelling ends and an addiction to processed sugar starts. Not stopping eating throughout meant neither could make out a word the other was saying. Instead we used whatever we could grab to keep the crumbs out of our eyes. Twenty minutes later and horribly strung out we got up to leave. Realising I’d mislaid my cycling hat in the excitement, I asked the nice lady behind the counter if she couldn’t put her hand on my helmet? Error! Fortunately they look after their own in the countryside, (unless you're Hugh Fbasket who just kills and eats it), so no hefty fine this time, but it does just go to show what a fine line it is as between an enquiry for missing equipment, and being chased from a garden centre by an angry proprietor on a sit-down lawnmower. 

OK, so on that occasion we preferred sugary snacks for our carb hit. Another friend, known simply as The Dumpster, had a hankering only for the savoury side of life, and would not take a mid-cycle break unless the selected eatery did a full roast dinner, for which he’d gladly wait over two hours… before asking for the dessert menu. He had hollow legs that one, hollow legs and titanium knees, amazing what they can do isn’t it? Incidentally he’s not seen his helmet for years. 

But what should the weekend cyclist choose as fuel? I’ll admit now I just put an extra shot of Ribena into my water bottle. I say Ribena, its usually Asda Apple and Blackcurrant but hey kids, isn’t that the sort of imprecision that lands cyclists in the dock? Look at Oprah Winfrey’s favourite uni-testicular lapdog. He had the odd lapse of memory and it cost him 7 TDF victories. Still, we now hear he wants to come clean. Not that LA will ever be honest about what he’s done unless there’s dollars at the end of it; his continued attempts to manipulate the media, and cycling’s regulatory bodies are harder to digest than a breast-milk latte. That are categorically not on offer, no matter what the sign says.

Mars

The Peeky Rider

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