Top Nutrition Tips For Gravel Riding

Gravel rides are typically long, challenging, but extremely fun days out. But let us tell you what’s not fun…blowing up mid ride and having no energy left to tackle the terrain or take in the views. O it’s not a good idea to ignore gravel riding nutrition.

You can be at your fittest but if you don’t back that fitness up with fuel and hydration, you won’t have much time to shine. That’s why when you’re taking the time to plan the perfect gravel adventure…give yourself 10 minutes to consider your nutrition too. And if you’re thinking of taking on a epic gravel event, like Dirty Reiver, then that gravel riding nutrition consideration is a must!

We appreciate fuelling whilst off road isn’t the easiest. Any of the following sound familiar?

Do you forget to eat?

Struggle to eat because of the terrain?

Lose your appetite?

Can’t carry enough fluid?

Time for some tips to perfect your nutrition for gravel riding!


Forgetting to eat is all too easy when you’re bombing down trails and just generally having a great time whilst gravel riding. However once you’ve got 3 hours deep and still haven’t touched any food; things quickly start to get a lot less fun. Ultimately, you’ve depleted your energy stores and your body just can’t run on air; well not if you want to keep up with the challenging terrain.


Start eating from hour one, to have the energy to finish strong. If pace and performance is important to you, we’d advise taking onboard 60g of carbohydrates per hour. If your speed is more leisurely and you’ll maybe have a café stop; 40g of carbs would be suffice. Our Anytime Bars supply around 40g of carbs each and are a great adventure snack for gravel rides. Stretching for 60g of carbs? Then adding an Energy Gel containing 20g of carbs will help you achieve these fuelling goals.


We’d advise setting a time when to eat; on the hour every hour is good start. If you can’t remember to do that, many cycle computers now give you the option to set up nutrition alerts, a great idea for those who can admit, they just forget to eat!

Gravel Riding at UK Cycling Events
Gravel riding nutrition is key


The terrain can be a real battle when gravel riding, never mind trying to eat at the same time! Try  putting everything in place to make fuelling as simple as possible.

Bar and frame bags are the ‘in-thing’ for gravel adventures. They are a great option, because it certainly means there are less limits to what you can carry, especially when it comes to ride food. But, they might not be the easiest get your food out of whilst riding. We suggest always keeping a bar in an easy to access place (back pocket/gravel shorts pocket) for fuelling on the go, then top this up from the bar bag every time you stop.

Secondly, unpackaging and eat a full bar might just be too big of an ask, especially on loose gravel or unpredictable trails. Sometimes the quick and convenient nature of an energy gel or energy drink may be a better option; at least on some sections anyway. That way you can top up your fuel stores in a fraction of the time, then get back to concentrating on the challenges ahead.

If all else fails, don’t be afraid to just stop. Take your time to refuel, rehydrate and take in your surroundings before you power on to the next section of gravel.


Losing your appetite on big days on the bike is pretty common, especially in those final hours. This can often be due to flavour fatigue, and just taking a lot of the same thing! Different flavours and consistencies can keep things fresh and prevent any barriers to fuelling forming. Thankfully we now have 11 different flavours of Anytime Bars to choose from and our easy to eat Duo Bars. Throw in there the refreshing taste of an orange Hydro Tab, a banana, small savoury sandwich and a few of our tasty Super Gels; loss of appetite shouldn’t be an issue, especially if you leave your favourite snack until the end.

Check out our Duo Bars
Top Nutrition Tips For Gravel Riding — OTE Sports
Top Nutrition Tips For Gravel Riding — OTE Sports


Gravel Bikes aren’t always blessed with ample space for your standard 750ml bottles, especially once you’ve got all your frame bags on. But hydration really is a very important part of any gravel adventure. Not only does it help your riding performance but also concentration. That’s why finding ways to consume an optimal amount of fluid should be part of your pre ride plan. It really does depend how far your adventure is as to what lengths you need to go to. If you’re passing shops, pubs, cafes then of course utilise these. Adding some OTE Soft flasks to your frame bags is a great option too, as these fold up really small once empty. For really long routes it might be worth considering carrying a backpack reservoir to carry more fluid (this also helps with drinking whilst keeping your hands on the bars!).

We’d definitely advise popping a tube of OTE Hydro Tabs in your pocket or packs. These can be added to water at any point and can replenish electrolytes our body losses through sweating and aid rehydration. They can be a real life saver if you suffer with cramp!

Riding Through the Woods

Gravel riding is one of our favourite things to do. The longer and more epic the route the better in our eyes. But you can’t underestimate how much nutrition can make or break a ride. We’d prefer to stay properly fuelled and keep it fun; and we hope these tips help you do the same!