|Maybe not like this...|
STAY ON SCHEDULE Make timing your nutrition a priority. Take hits from your water bottle after 30 minutes and every 15 minutes thereafter. For rides longer than 45 minutes, follow the American College of Sports Medicine's guidelines and eat the equivalent of 1 gram of carbohydrate for each additional minute (gels have about 25 grams and bars have 40 to 45).
BUILD BALANCE Holding your handlebar with one hand and eating with the other sounds easy enough. What's not so simple: continuing a perfect line while barreling down a busy road and digging through your back pocket. Practice by riding one-handed along parking-space lines. Then, ride the lines while mimicking a snack break. Keep pulling food from your pocket, bringing it to your handlebar, and returning it. When your support hand is on the brake hoods or the side of the bar, every body motion is exaggerated and transferred to the front wheel. For optimal balance (though reduced braking ability), hold your handlebar next to the stem with your dominant hand.
EAT SAFELY Hyperawareness during refueling will help keep you - and the people riding with you - safe. First, scan the road for traffic in case you swerve. Then, look out for other obstacles. Potholes and debris can sneak up quickly, even when you're rolling along at a leisurely pace.
DIVERSIFY Blowing through an entire case of Strawberry Blast gels can become tedious, and when you grow tired of a specific flavor, you're less likely to eat. Buy a variety of gels, bars and chewy supplements; most energy foods have a six-month or longer shelf life. When you can, carry unprocessed fare such as bananas and sandwiches.
PREP YOUR FOOD Avoid an on-bike fight with your food wrapper - and the resulting smashed snack - by partially opening the packaging before you roll out. Another option: Repack your food into a zip-lock bag, which doubles as a used gel-packet depository.
The last tip is something I intend to test out on my next bike ride.