Fuelled by Oats – The Natural Energy Super-Food for Endurance Cyclists

Nairn's Oats Morning Porridge
If tasked to select one true super-fuel, I would undoubtedly pick the humble oat. The ancient wholegrain has fuelled more rides and more adventures than I can possibly count. Whether in the form of porridge, muesli, flapjack, or oatcakes; oats really are the ultimate endurance fuel.

In Praise of Porridge

When I think back to past challenges, there is one common factor... porridge. It was porridge I ate at 4am when I started the 'St Boniface Down Everesting'. Porridge was my fuel of choice at midnight, in the pouring rain, midway through the 300-mile Trafalgar Way ride. Even in the south of France, on the final day of the #7Countries7Passes, it was porridge that kick-started the epic ride.

Porridge is the without question the king of breakfasts.

Wholegrain oats are the key to porridge's 'super-fuel' status. Oats are high in soluble fibre, which helps fill you up and release energy slowly. They are also rich in vitamins and minerals, and they are a source of beta-glucans that can help reduce cholesterol levels.

Porridge oats supply a natural low-GI energy source. They have fuelled adventurers for centuries and remain one of the principle ingredients in most energy bars and snacks. For me, porridge is still my favourite way to enjoy Scottish oats, and nothing comes close as a pre-ride breakfast fuel.

Whether you make your porridge with water, dairy milk, or one of the many nut or bean-based alternatives; the quality of your oats remains a defining factor in how good it will taste and how well it will fuel you. I opt for wholegrain oats, cooked in a saucepan on the hob, to get the ideal texture and taste.

To add some flavour and added nutrients to my porridge, I always add a few little extras. Sometimes it is banana, dried figs, or chopped nuts. At Christmas, it might even be a spoonful of mincemeat, for a festive treat. My go-to choice though, is a spoonful of peanut butter and a dollop of organic set honey. Sweetness, flavour, added protein, and a creamy texture: you cannot beat it.

Porridge provides a quick, easy, and inexpensive breakfast or snack. Enjoy it, and feel the difference when you ride.

Fuelled by Oats The Natural Endurance Energy Fuel

Ride Fuel – Oatcakes

When you have been bike riding for some time, you come to realise that most 'sports bars' on the market are simply cereal bars, often with added sugar and preservatives. Over time, I have learnt that a far better fuel for endurance cycling is to look to natural products like oatcakes.

A favourite of mine is oatcakes. Oatcakes are made from oatmeal, rather than rolled oats; oatmeal is a finer milled grain but it holds all the same benefits as porridge oats: such as soluble fibre and slow release energy.

I find that on longer rides, oatcakes are far better than energy bars at providing stable and consistent blood sugar and energy levels.

The other great thing is that they are 'customisable'… My usual way of serving them is to take along a squeeze pouch of peanut or almond butter; or alternatively make a peanut butter oatcake sandwich pre-ride and wrap it in foil. They are also great with pâté (especially when touring in the Ardennes) and equally great with sliced banana and a generous smear of set honey (I recommend you do not try and prepare this whilst riding).

Whether eaten on their own as a fruity biscuit or dressed with one of many possible toppings; oatcakes have fast become one of my preferred energy snacks. Wholesome. Nutritious. Tasty.



Oats really do afford a status as 'super-fuel'. 

I have become so reliant on porridge to get me going in the mornings, I often take my own oats to hotels in case they do not have porridge on the menu. I have become so in favour of oatcakes as a mid-ride fuel that I keep trying to find creative ways to take toppings with me on the bike (hint: the little peanut butter sachets and jam sachets found on hotel buffets are perfect).

Oats make up a major part of my carbohydrate intake—as they have for many great explorers and athletes, past and present. If you are not already a porridge addict, get some wholegrain oats on your shopping list and you will soon be.

Oat Flapjacks


  1. Porridge or oatmeal is a great breakfast. It is light on the stomach, fiber-rich and non-fatty. I would recommend a bowl of fresh fruits and nuts to go with the oatmeal. A handful of walnuts and roasted flax seeds will do wonders for the body. And do not forget to have plenty of water.


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