Home > Nutrition Tips

7 foods that can cause gastrointestinal distress during a long ride

With current washroom access restrictions, you should probably avoid these before hopping on your bike

The current closures and pandemic precautions have had widespread effects on the way we ride. Although you pack all your liquids and fuel to be self-sufficient for a ride, one aspect that you may not consider until it’s too late is the closure of public washrooms. Classic countryside cafe stops are now takeout only and community centres and emergency Starbucks stops are off the menu. Even pre-pandemic, of the easiest ways to derail a ride was through gastrointestinal issues. They’re all too common and something that can be avoided with the right preparation.

The key foods to avoid before a long ride are dried and fresh fruit, raw vegetables and foods with a pulp or skin. Below are examples of foods that are extremely high in fibre and aren’t recommended just before you set off.

It’s important to note that you shouldn’t give up high-fibre foods throughout your entire build, just the evening before and morning of a long workout where you won’t have emergency bathroom access.


Prunes are dried plums and one of the most fibrous foods available. One serving, which is only seven to eight dried prunes, is nearly 30 per cent of your daily fibre intake. Prunes are easy to over-consume–they’re sweet and good for you, but ahead of a long ride make sure you scale back your prune intake.

Too much coffee

Coffee tolerance is very personal from person to person. If you’re an experienced coffee drinker, then you likely know how much you can tolerate ahead of a ride. If you’re not, remember the rule: nothing new on race day (or in this case pandemic season).


Beans are fibre and protein rich and one of the best foods for you, except when you’re heading out for a ride. Half a cup of black beans has 32 per cent of your daily fibre, so save your favourite bean-heavy dish for post-ride.

RELATED: Recipe: Cilantro lime rice with black beans

Raw cabbage/brussels sprouts

Both cabbage and brussel sprouts are part of a family of foods known as cruciferous vegetables. These vegetables are quite trendy right now and are great for you. But cruciferous vegetables, while delicious, can be a little harder to digest. Avoid big salads filled with raw vegetables the night before your ride, and if you still want some veggies with your dinner, just cook them (it makes them easier to digest).


Raspberries are one of the highest-fibre fruits, so keep that in mind if you’re knocking them back as your healthy pre-ride snack.

Unpeeled apples

When it comes to apples, most of the fibre is in the peel, so if you’ve got a craving just be sure to peel them for a pre-ride bite.