Plastic Free Long Rides

Ronseal subject title.

Do any of you do it?
Or thought Bout it?

The single serving gel packets are pretty bad, huh?
Probably cheaper making your own and decanting into a flask (but they go off rapidly, as I’ve done this before … :face_vomiting::poop:)

Flapjacks / protein bars are pretty simple to make and wrap in beeswax paper :ok_hand:t4::white_check_mark:

But what about powders for drinks?
Is a re-usable ZipLoc bag okay?

Treats (Jelly babies, etc) are hard to get in non-plastic things though :sob:


A few brands have started doing bulk gels now that you decant into a bottle or pouch. Other than making your own, that’s probably as good as you’ll get.

A decent ziplock should keep powder dry just fine. Probably not over long term. But for you top up mid ride it’ll be fine.

Treats will always come in plastic. So again it’s about buying in bulk (they’ll never go off) and then putting the amount you need into a reusable container of some sort.

Bars and that, you’re exactly right. They’re not too much trouble to make. Will keep in the fridge or even freeze them. And again, wrap in beeswax or chuck in a reusable bag/container.

Can’t really think of anything else. Think you’ve got the gist of it. Refill bottles at taps and don’t buy water from shops.


I’ve been going to the milk vending machine on my ride to refill my bottle with chocolate milk or another flavour.

They do sell cakes but they’re wrapped so use plastic :confused:


For competition, adventure or training?

I would avoid gels for anything other than competition, and specific gut training for competition. Really wouldn’t be my preference over flapjacks etc if not going all out, irrespective of plastic issues. Although as @gingerbongo says, some options for multiple gel servings in a reusable flask now.

Drink powder (energy, hydration, recovery) can be bought in bulk, although that bulk container will be plastic. In theory carry in a ziplock, but how multi-use is that going to be? Could easily split, and is going to get mucky. How often do you have to reuse to make it better than a pre-bought sachet? Tabs come in tubes that have lots of re-uses possible. Fill a tube with powder, just need to work out a measuring system.

I don’t have much luck with homemade snacks. They tend to disintegrate so I end up with a bag of crumbs, and they don’t last long if made in bulk. Shop bought has the robustness and the preservatives, just easier. There must be some fancy brands that use plastic free packaging?

Plastic free will be tough, and you need to be careful the alternative is actually better. Priority #1 has to be to make sure you carry everything home and dispose correctly. Reducing plastic #2, eliminating might be hard.



Thanks. :white_check_mark:

For longer training rides, I quite like a gel or five.
As I get sick of powdered drink after about 100km or four hours, and switch to water and/or Zero tabs after that.

I’ve also got ~100 wiggle cola caffeine gels, that I got for about £4 :rofl::face_with_peeking_eye::woman_shrugging:t4:

At the moment, I’m still through some free Clif Shot blocks from 2020 as well (cheers @Mungo2 for the tip!) but supplement that with Trek bars (just the standard supermarket ones)

I’m not a mad fan of bananas, either.
Again. Skins need to be taken home for composting and make a right mess in your pockets.

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Mine shot bloks ( 8 boxes) went about 5? Months ago
Lasted 4 years + though

I was given a load of tailwind about a year ago
Nice for hard 90-120 min sessions were you need some sugar but I wouldn’t do a long long ride on it now

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I’ve gone completely away from gels, for most stuff I find dates more than adequate - long rides, IM/HIM bikes, general ‘energy bar’ replacement post workout etc.

Bought in 1kg bags.

I presume this allows me to fly to Hawaii in October without getting shouted at by Greta……:rofl::rofl::rofl:


We used dates / ice cream/ red bull for an endurance 24 hour weightlifting record attempt

I quite like them, you can carry enough for a full distance race on a bike?

plastic is such a great material, I’m sad that we hate it. Light, cheap, waterpoof, strong, easy to make into useful stuff etc

I know, I know, think of the polar bears etc

but as long as we don’t chuck it in the river & recycle once used, is it really so bad?


I just stop at a cafe or Co-op :person_shrugging:


I guess in addition to fuelling there’s the questions about the bike/clothing & the production/transportation of these to enable us to do leisure cycling.

How many of us offset this with commuting to work/appointments or using our bike for shopping rather than use a car?

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It is a great material … but that doesn’t mean it’s the right material for the amount of use cases it finds itself in.

Wrapping apples up in it for example, to be able to sell them in neat packs of 6.

Recycling isn’t ‘the answer’ in my opinion. It’s still energy intensive, and often gets downgraded in the process e.g. can’t be used for food grade.

There are more and more alternatives coming out all the time. Not all are good, and certainly shouldn’t be used just because they’re not plastic. But, whilst it is a great material, it’s still produced from activity that we know is incredibly harmful.

There’s so much more to it than this, but I’m not going to write an essay on it! Haha. Plus it’s a very complicated question that is linked with years of capitalist growth, geo political relationships etc etc


You should though.
It’s a very complicated topic. a product that is better in one eco area could be worse in another. Depends what you are trying to achieve. Plastic wrapping is a great preservative, reduces food waste. Bananas have lots of food miles, should we all eat local, in season fruit? Reusable packaging is usually much more energy intensive to produce than single use.


Be careful what you wish for Buzz. Any regular posters will know that i’m working on being more concise at the best of times! :grimacing: and i’m definitely not there yet! :rofl:

I mean, fundamentally, yes we should eat local, seasonal fruit. The reality is cutting back a bit on the exotics and increasing the local stuff is a more realistic way forward for the moment.

Reusable packaging isn’t always more energy intensive. Like you say, it’s a complex web of pull one string up a bit, and the other side loosens too much. It’s a really difficult, but exciting and interesting field.

There are plenty of quick wins out there, where we can eliminate genuinely unnecessary plastic. That’s a good place to start. And it’s not just plastic either – cardboard is tricky for other reasons, despite being seen as ‘eco’ because it’s recyclable … well yes, but you have to add a ton of water, more virgin wood pulp and a whole load of energy into the mix.

But there are certainly things that capture the public’s (and policy) eye more than others … plastic straws for example.

Not saying you shouldn’t do small things, as I fundamentally believe that it’s the way to achieve cultural change. But the furore was certainly not in line with the problem (or the blindness to much, much worse issues).

Vegware is another case in point. Great product, but can only be industrially composted. So unless it’s captured in a closed loop system, it’s just getting incinerated in the energy from waste pile with your black bin bags!

I’ve got plenty of examples, that I’d not share outside of Blackpool, from work of the types of discussions and innovations and really hard decisions that are underway in my little part of the world at least.

As said above, I find the whole challenge really fascinating and am spending a lot of my professional time looking into it. Nobody has it nailed yet.


You need to be careful, he’ll delete your account with comments like that :rofl:


Well he knows that I only stop on proper long rides and aim to always be efficient with time on those stops.

I even use a camelback to avoid plastic drinks bottles :grin:


I tend not to waste food (although think you mean more for grocers here?), as the evening dog walk usually passes Sainsbury’s or Waitrose, so I pick up some yellow label for the following evening. Or something like that.

I also don’t buy bananas (due to flies) … we shall not talk about the avocado :face_with_peeking_eye::avocado:

Like @gingerbongo says, it’s about small things.
Or at least to me, it is. The majority of my shopping is walked home, or on the “whatever time you’re in the area” £1 delivery. Commute via bike/run and train.

The new house will be good, as there’s a greenhouse and raised vegetable patches, plus another patch to tend to.

Some good comments here (but I won’t be doing cafe stops for the most part, if I’ve a day off work and no “home time” then yes, otherwise the money is better spent on a pub lunch once home :ok_hand:t4:)


I use sugar and some juice or an electrolyte tab for flavour/take away some of the sweet flavour in bottles, and sandwiches in a leftover bread bag.

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Also, just thought, I’ve got one of those rubber compressible cups for hot drinks if I go to a tea room that I sometimes remember to put in my running backpack, and in running races they usually say to take a scrunch cup for drinks, could be another option if you are trying to get in Greta’s good books.

(just don’t tell her you know Fruity with his plastic grass and aircon!)