Coffee and Cycling: On Tour and on the Track

Coffee and cycling are a popular combination from amateurs to the elite. In our previous blog post we mentioned some of the benefits to performance and recovery. This has not gone unnoticed.

For a period of time, caffeine was on the WADA anti-doping list. This was dropped in 2003. It was viewed that the caffeine threshold was too low, the equivalent of approximately six espressos.

I’m not sure I could drink that many in a single day.

There is a history of links between coffee and elite sport.

A great early example is the classic touring team sponsored by Faema: the Italian company which refined and defined the modern espresso machine. The Faema team rode from 1956 until 1970. It was home to legends such as Rik Van Looy, Giro d’Italia winner and world champion Vittorio Adorni, and the great Eddy Merckx during his first Tour de France win.

Faema cycling team

More recently coffee has had a fanatic cycling advocate in the form Sir Chris Hoy. He’s noted for lugging around his own espresso machine and grinder wherever he competes.

Chris Foy with coffee machine and grinder

In case you are interested, his choice is a Rocket Espresso Gioto and a Mazzer Mini Auto. This picture was taken during the London 2012 Olympics, so he may have upgraded since then! Recently, I was regaled of stories of his regular visits to roasteries in Yorkshire, it being local to the National Cycling Centre. As a Scotsman and a roaster, I must confess to a strong twinge of jealousy.

Reportedly, consumption is running so high at the elite level, coffee is back on the list to be considered by WADA for restriction!

However, before you either throw away the bike, or put down the cup, most need not worry. The threshold being looked at it is roughly around 8 strong cups of coffee. Even for us at the roastery, with plenty of time to sit and guzzle, that is a pretty caffeine-heavy day!