Energy gels are a crucial part of the cyclist’s toolkit, helping to fuel those long rides that push the limits of endurance. But not all rides—or riders—are the same, which is why it’s so important to find the gel that’s the best fit for you and your riding style.
Whether you’re gearing up for a tough training session, preparing for an intense race, setting off on a leisurely exploration, or seeking real-food options for your journey, we have carefully selected the best energy gels to ensure you’re fueled up and ready to go.
Our recommendations for best energy gels for a variety of long rides
Best energy gels for long races
Best energy gels for training rides
Best energy gels for cruising or casual long rides
Best energy gels for long rides for riders with sensitive stomachs
Maurten Hydrogels – the makers of Maurten products keeps ingredients to a minimum and utilize a proprietary hydrogel technology to bypass the stomach and deliver energy directly to the intestine for a faster absorption. The bypassing of the stomach helps reduce gastrointestinal issues that some riders may experience when overloading or incorrectly using energy gels.
Best “real food” energy gels for long rides
Other considerations for selecting energy gels for long rides
When planning for your next cycling adventure, it’s also critical to consider the length of the ride and the timing of your energy gel intake. As a rule of thumb, energy gels are typically most beneficial for rides longer than 90 minutes, when your body begins to exhaust its glycogen stores.
Also, if you’re transitioning from swimming to cycling during a triathlon or starting your ride on an empty stomach, an energy gel can provide a quick, digestible source of carbohydrates to jump-start your performance and sustain your energy levels.
As for the quantity of energy gels needed, that is largely influenced by the duration of your ride and your personal metabolism. On average, aim for about 60 to 90 grams of carbohydrates per hour of riding. Keep in mind, this can vary depending on your size, fitness level, and the intensity of the ride.
Make sure to test out different amounts during your training rides to see what works best for you. It’s always a good idea to have a few extra gels on hand in case the ride becomes more challenging than expected or if unforeseen circumstances prolong your journey.
Lastly, let’s not overlook the practicality of carrying energy gels during your ride. Think about how you will store them; options range from jersey pockets to specialized gel flasks attached to your bike. Ensure they are easily accessible so you don’t have to stop or struggle to get to them when you need that energy boost.
Hydration is also key when using energy gels. Most need water to be properly digested and to prevent any gastrointestinal discomfort, so ensure you’re drinking fluids along with consuming gels. Remember, energy gels are a tool to aid your performance, so finding what works best for you might take some experimenting. Ride on, fuel, and get ready to conquer those long miles!
Best places to buy energy gels for your long rides
In our quest to find the top online retailers for energy gels, we evaluated various stores based on prices, product selection, delivery options, and return policies. Although big-box retailers like Amazon, Walmart, and Target ranked highly in search engine results, our experiences led us to conclude that specialty stores can provide an enhanced buying experience for dedicated athletes.
TheFeed.com impresses with an extensive selection of energy gels, competitive prices, and beneficial membership options for additional savings. RunningWarehouse.com also distinguishes itself with a diverse range of gels, providing various size options at reasonable prices. Both stores showcase a keen understanding of athletes’ needs and preferences, offering tailored selections to suit different riders.
Despite their focus on general merchandise, Amazon, Target, and Walmart hold their own when it comes to affordability and convenience. If you’re already frequenting these platforms for your shopping needs, they can be practical choices for securing energy gels. However, when considering specialized product knowledge and a curated selection, TheFeed.com and RunningWarehouse.com stand out as our top recommendations for purchasing energy gels online.