Steep it on the Trail – Tips on Using Tea to Fuel Your Bike Riding Habit
My love for mountain biking started around the same time I began serving tea as a barista. Each of them individually became a part of my self-care routine as a way to feel present in the moment. It wasn’t until recently that I realized the perfect marriage of the two. Tea is both hydrating and motivating while also grounding, which is surprisingly just as important when you are clipped into a bike and riding rocky terrain. Over time, I have found that tea is an optimal hydration choice to help improve my ride and my well-being.
Pro tip – Hydration starts the night before. Often, many week day hours are spent scheming a post-work ride or a weekend shred. Having a one-year-old at home means I likely know the next time I’ll be on my bike days before I actually ride. As a result, the night before a ride, I am sure to start hydrating with both water and an herbal tea that is both mineral dense and relaxing, sure to set me up for success with a good night’s sleep. My personal go-to is a strongly brewed, hot cup of Stress Buster for the mineral-rich Rooibos base and the relaxing herbal components.
Pro tip – Steep your tea strong and in 8oz of water or less, so you aren’t disrupting your sleep with the need to go to the bathroom! Events tend to move quickly the morning of a ride. Hopefully, I have already packed and just need to load up my bike. Immediately upon waking, I will start my kettle boiling and brew up some Morning Mojo for the drive to the trailhead.
Pro tip – If you aren’t drinking a blend of tea with Pu’erh in it, add a sprinkle to any tea. The digestive aid will help you jump-start your morning and the rich caffeine will help you giddy up on your bike for hours to come.
Pro tip – Don’t skip breakfast but keep it lighter. Riding with too much food in my belly can bog me down, but too little nutrition can mean I will run out of gas prematurely. Finding the sweet spot has literally taken me years to figure out. Think Goldilocks and the three bears – not too little, not too much, but just right. For example, a smoothie.
Pro tip – Cold brew a yerba mate-based tea overnight in your Mountain Tea Tumbler, my go to is Keep Fit. Use this overnight cold brew as a base to a green smoothie to set the foundation for your adventure. Add some nut butter, hemp seeds, or avocado for some much-needed protein. Your body will thank you later.
Pro tip – Don’t over caffeinate. This is why I will always choose tea. Tea naturally has both caffeine and l-theanine, the perfect balance. The l-theanine helps to root me on my seat and stay focused while ripping through technical sections, while the caffeine gives me the extra power to push through a gnarly climb and laugh when the trail humbles me. I stay away from coffee because it doesn’t have the yin to its yang, and instead makes me shaky, unstable on my bike, and scattered.
Pro tip – Double up! I always bring a hydration pack (typically straight water in my Camelbak) and my cold brew tea in my bottle carriage. The Mountain Tea Tumbler fits like a glove in my carriage, making it easy for me to pull from while riding, and it still survives the downhill.
For me, riding is not about going from point A to point B, but about the entire journey – I enjoy every piece of the journey, from scheming for the adventure to the moment I return to the trailhead at the end of the ride. Both biking and a tea practice provide me an opportunity for presence, and the more present moments in my week, the better: which is why I crave a combination of the two and will always steep it on the trail.