What is bonking in cycling? 10 Symptoms and Cures

Bonking can be a nightmare for a cyclist and if you have never faced it before then you need to prepare yourself for it. It is a kind of situation while cycling where your body gives up and you are still far away from your ultimate destination on track. In this post, we will talk about what is bonking in cycling, how to prevent bonking in cycling, and how to recover from bonking.

Bonking is also known as hypoglycemia and is the kind of situation where the body of the rider feels so much fatigue that he cannot even move further. It is like a battery that suddenly dies and the system shuts down. Bonking occurs when you use all of the blood glucose stored in your body and there is no further stock of it in the body. This blood glucose is known as glycogen.

The biggest struggle in bonking is that it occurs suddenly and then your body just gives up. A few moments ago, if you were cycling at 20mph then you would not have any control over your muscles in case of bonking to maintain that speed. A lot of athletes refer to bonking as hitting the wall as you lose control of yourself.

There are many types of cycling limiters like fatigue, cramps, and bonking but most of the time athletes remain unable to identify real limiters due to similarities between them.

Symptoms of bonking in Cycling

  1. Loss in performance
  2. Inability to continue further
  3. Unable to hold yourself
  4. Poor coordination
  5. Low blood sugar
  6. Dizziness and loss of focus
  7. Nausea
  8. Headache and shaking of hands
  9. Blurred vision
  10. confusion

Bonking of Brain

Why bonking is considered dangerous is because it can hurt your brain too. Our whole body requires glycogen to function including muscles and the brain. Once our body runs out of glycogen the brain stops functioning too. This ultimately leads to nausea, dizziness, lack of body coordination, and lack of decision power.

Once the level of glycogen drops to dangerous levels the natural protective mechanism of our body acts to protect our brain by limiting the supply of glycogen to muscles but if the glucose levels are extremely low the brain also gets a hit. You can even face hallucinations in some cases of bonks.

Bonking of Brain

What causes bonking?

  1. Exceeding the limits of your body
  2. Bad diet plans
  3. Selection of wrong physical training methods
  4. Less endurance
  5. Continuous exercise for several hours

How to prevent bonking in cycling

You need to understand the needs and requirements of your body before putting it into extensive work. Your body is like a machine and it needs fuel in the form of a proper diet. Keep fueling your body in the form of quality drinks and food.

Understand consumption rate of your body

When you are cycling you need different numbers of calories to keep functioning, similarly, the amount of carbohydrates, sugars, and proteins required for different body types always varies. Your biking expeditions should be divided into passages where you can put your body to the test. Never test your body on the day of your professional race if you are doing it for competition.

Experiment with your body by taking different superfoods to see the reaction and effect on your body. Healthy and proper nutrition makes you internally strong to cope with adverse situations.

Plan your ride

If you are going long-distance riding then you need to prepare for it. You need to know how much you need to eat and drink to keep your glycogen at optimum levels. If you have any previous historical record of bonking then try to ride in groups with your friends and family members. In this way, you can look for each other in adverse situations.

Act quickly when you see signs of bonking

As soon as you see any sign of bonking or feeling of hitting the wall you need to stop cycling. If you are unable to act then lookout for help from fellow cyclists with any kind of gesture. In the beginning of bonking, you can save yourself by acting quickly but if you ignore symptoms things will go out of hand. Keep any type of liquid and protein bars in a saddlebag to consume after bonking.

How to recover from bonking

  1. Hydrate yourself and never push your body to limits where it feels exhausted. Refuel yourself with any kind of protein bar.
  2. Evaluate your body post bonking and prepare yourself for the future
  3. Relax and give yourself some time to recover from trauma.
  4. Take some high calorie food to get instant fuel for the body.
How to recover from bonking

I hope we were able to explain what is bonking in cycling and how we can prevent it. Please head over to our blog section and read more about cycling on Bikedestiny.com. happy reading

Mark Webster is bike enthusiast and researcher in bike industry from last 15 years. Mark had been working in different bike manufacturing companies for research and development of new models. Mark has mission to make bike design safest for bikers. The dream of Mark is to make bikes too mainstream that we can reduce global carbon emissions.

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