Here's a copy of the Bike Diva's article on bike nutrition, which originally appeared on the Associated Content website on 1/03/08.
Instant Bike Nutrition
My husband was looking for a new, healthier addiction a few years back and took up mountain biking. Soon after he started, I rarely saw him on the weekends anymore. That's when I decided to give it a try. Now, my 40-plus-year-old body and I are always looking for ways to make our biking experience more enjoyable. Here are my personal favorite energy supplements that I use whenever I'm out riding my bike, whether on road or off.
I never eat nutritional bars during a ride. I find they aren't that easy to eat while riding a bike and they end up feeling like a lump of lead in my stomach. My husband and I use nutritional bars as an instant breakfast solution while we are driving out to the trails. We like to eat one or two bars around a half hour before we plan on arriving at the trailhead. My husband likes PowerBars but I can't stand them. I've tried them chilled, right out of the refrigerator but they are still horrid.
However, there are many other nutritional bars on the market that I actually enjoy.
Clif Bars by Clif Bar & Co. come in a variety of flavors. A couple of my favorites are crunchy peanut butter and carrot cake. Luna bars, also by Clif Bar & Co., come in delicious flavors such as nuts over chocolate, lemon zest and chocolate pecan pie. Although I don't like the regular PowerBars, I do like PowerBars Pria nutrition bars, especially the chocolate mint crisp flavor. I had one the other day on my way to a long bike ride and thought I was eating a candy bar because it tasted so good.
I always thought those gooey gel packs were for macho men. I tried choking down a few gel packs once or twice but just couldn't get past the "I'm eating baby doo-doo" stage. But my husband and I started doing some longer bike rides while training for a century ride for a local charity. I was experiencing major bonking half way into the rides so my husband kept bugging me to try the gels again. He said they have a much better consistency when cold.
So now we bring a small cooler filled with ice in our vehicle on our longer rides. I can manage to choke down the double latte, chocolate and vanilla flavors of the PowerBar gel packs. It's almost like eating raw cake batter and doesn't remind me so much of baby poo anymore. I also really like the vanilla bean flavor of Gu Energy Gel packs by GuSports.
I discovered the Clif Shot Bloks about a year ago. These large, square-shaped blocks remind me of petrified Jello and have the consistency of a soft gummy bear. Shot Bloks are not too sweet so I can manage to eat these even when they are really warm from being in my Camelbak too long. The black cherry and cranberry flavors are pretty good. The strawberry flavor is okay but it wouldn't be my first choice. Some of the ingredients included in Shot Bloks are organic brown rice syrup, organic cane juice and green tea extract.
Another of my favorite block type supplements is Jelly Belly Sport Beans. They are little pieces of energy that are shaped like jelly beans. I like all flavors of Sports Beans - berry blue, fruit punch, lemon-lime and orange. A few of my friends find them to be a bit too sweet for their taste; it is kind of like eating candy. Sport Beans are also available in cherry and watermelon, but I haven't been able to find these flavors at my local bike shops.
I found Sharkies on sale online just a few months ago. They are my new favorite nutritional supplement. Sharkies are organic energy sports chews that are gluten free, wheat free, dairy free and vegetarian. I bought a box of their fruit splash and berry blast flavors from one of my favorite online bike accessory vendors. Sharkies, which are unsurprisingly shaped like a shark, remind me of gummy bears. The fruit splash package contains a mixture of cherry, blackberry, tangerine and lemon sharkies while the berry blast package contains cherry and blackberry sharkies.
Energy supplements, like those mentioned in the article, are now available at most sporting good stores. I have even seen a good selection at our Super Target. Online vendors, such as Bike Nashbar and Performance Bike, also offer a terrific selection of energy supplements.
Lynn Smythe AKA the Bike Diva