Does Caffeine Boost Performance?

Ahh Coffee… as cyclists we do love a cup of coffee or two! Weather it’s the taste, the performance enhancing qualities, the social aspect of it or the smell. Whatever the reason, coffee has some very, very interesting facts. So let’s take a look at all the things that contain caffeine and what is the best options for you whilst your are out riding. Caffeine surprisingly can last over 4 hours and can help with reaction times, awareness, sharpness and concentration.

So if you thought that you were being naughty by having a few coffee’s a day then think again. This may be one pleasure that may not be so guilty this time. Yes, we are saying you can drink away guilt free!


Caffeine has some interesting health benefits if consumed in moderate dosage. Under 400mg is deemed safe and here are some interesting facts about caffeine.

  • It is said to help protecting against Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, liver disease, including liver cancer. It can also help with depression according to studies.
  • Caffeine inhibits adenosine receptors leading to reduced perception of pain muscle receptors. This helps be reducing the perceived effort of a given exercise and blunting the feelings of fatigue.
  • It also helps enhance muscular force by aiding in calcium release essential to muscular contraction, meaning there is potential for greater sustained power.
  • Recommended dose between 2-5 mg per kg of body weight 1 hour prior to exercise (due to average digestion rates).
  • Improvements between 4-12% found in average power output cycling TT’s & time to exhaustion in academic trials.


  • 8 second improvements in 8k track race
  • 4% more distance covered in 15 minute TT
  • 7% more distance covered in 2 hours

Whilst these are mind blowing facts if you are a regular coffee drinker you may not see as such extreme benefits as opposed to someone who doesn’t use caffeine daily. So results will vary based upon the individual and how their body processes caffeine.

For further reading >> References Tarnopolski (2008) & Burke (2008)

What else contains coffee? And how much of it?

Of course coffee isn’t just the only drink that contains caffeine, Tea packs a decent punch containing  approx 50 – 90mg of caffeine in one cup of black tea.

Coffee comes out on top of course with approx 100-150mg of caffeine in one cup of coffee which is why we always go for coffee if we are tired we guess!

If you didn’t know Chocolate has a surprisingly high amount of caffeine at  69.7 mg of caffeine in one bar of Dark chocolate. No wonder you feel great after coffee and biscuits!

Its no surprise that Coke or Pepsi contains caffeine, smaller amounts granted but still enogh to give you a little pick me up an average can contains 35mg of caffeine.

Choc or Coffee Cakes – Coffee and cake! So this is why we all go for the coffee and cake combo at the cafe! It all makes sense now! The Baking chocolate used in cakes contains around 32mg of caffeine.

Gels that contain caffeine.

Scientifically formulated sports gels combine, carbohydrates, electrolytes and caffeine to provide a well balanced unit of energy. Below are some brands on the market supplying caffeine energy gels.

  • MyProtien 75mg of caffeine.
  • Torq – Contain 89mg of caffeine and is only found in some of their gels. They do offer a caffeine free option.
  • SIS Gels contain approx 75mg of caffeine per gel.
  • High 5 contains 30mg per gel and also offer a caffeine free option.
  • My Vitamins – Caffeine Contains 200mg of caffeine per tablet if you are looking for a big hit.

Remember drink responsibly! Caffeine does not suit some people so know your limits!

Writer and expert