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What energy bar / gels / drinks

teulkteulk Posts: 557
I have no idea what to buy, do i buy carbohydrate bars, protien bars, a combination of both. Isotonic drinks, energy drinks................? In a few weeks im going to be doing the 61mile Northern Rock Cyclone which i understand to be quite hilly. I did a 55mile ride last year and i found after about 40miles my leg muscles started to cramp if i tried to push hard, What i took on that ride was 3ltrs of gatorade and 5 oatbars. I really have no idea of what is good and what isnt.
So can anyone recommend some drinks / gels / bars - all of which are easy to get hold of ie from high street stores / well known bike shops if at all possible. I was looking at some bars today and they seemed quite "stodgy" which is the last thing i want if they have to washed down with loads of water. Also how many would i need for the ride which im expecting to take around 4.5 - 5 hours so no records being broken there.
Boardman Team 09 HT
Orbea Aqua TTG CT 2010
Specialized Secteur Elite 2011
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  • arnie-77arnie-77 Posts: 61
    Have a gander at this http://www.mybikefood.com - been using it for a few months now and it does the business, usually combine it with the odd caffeine gel and Torq bar.
    "Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving." A. Einstein
  • teulkteulk Posts: 557
    Thanks for that, i think i will give it ago
    Boardman Team 09 HT
    Orbea Aqua TTG CT 2010
    Specialized Secteur Elite 2011
  • If it's ease of purchase you want you cant really go wrong with Science in Sport (SIS) and Go Bars/Gels. I use this stuff all the time for riding and the gym and find them very convenient and tasty. The occasional chunk of malt loaf is good too.
    Start Weight: 128 kilos (20.2 st) (April 17th 2009)
    Current Weight:119 kilos (18.7 st) (June 18th 2009)
    Target Weight: 92 kilos (14.5 st) (sometime mid-2010, hopefully sooner)
  • teulkteulk Posts: 557
    The trouble is there are loads out there, at least i now have a few suggestions :D
    Boardman Team 09 HT
    Orbea Aqua TTG CT 2010
    Specialized Secteur Elite 2011
  • shogunsteveshogunsteve Posts: 209
    While on bike:

    Energy BAR caffeinated GELS.

    and for extended rides (longer than 3 hours) Dried Figs

    After the ride:
    Torq Recovery powder.
  • teulkteulk Posts: 557
    Ive got some SIS GO ELECTROLYTE ENERGY DRINK and some GO BARS. I do however find the drink very sweet when mixed per instructions so i think i will dilute it a bit more.
    Boardman Team 09 HT
    Orbea Aqua TTG CT 2010
    Specialized Secteur Elite 2011
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 15,475
    I like clif shots... Gels are so unsubtle, it's a big hammer of sugar, it's better to eat less and often. Glucose tablets ie dextrosol can be good too. Gels for when you really run out of steam. Solid slow acting food before you ride helps too of course.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • shogunsteveshogunsteve Posts: 209
    arnie-77 wrote:
    Have a gander at this http://www.mybikefood.com - been using it for a few months now and it does the business, usually combine it with the odd caffeine gel and Torq bar.


    Personally I looked at this BikeFood brand before, website is without any real substance and my opinion remains that they are a very small new company just repackaging generic premixed/designed powder and then slapping a label on it.

    They also seem to be sponsoring mainly small people such as village Triathlon clubs....and the pics speak for themselves....hardly worthy of a mention in Triathlete magazine!

    Dont waste your money, stick with the known brands.
  • arnie-77arnie-77 Posts: 61
    seems a bit harsh, what's wrong with a small UK brand that supports grass roots cycling?

    I have looked into the Bikefood product and it certainly isn't and 'off the shelf product with a label just slapped on it, if this is the case can you show us the product it matches please?

    Having seen positive reviews in Procycling and Cycling Weekly, it seemed like a pretty good bet, and it was - IMO a very good product and that's why I recommended it earlier on the the thread.

    But hey its open debate, and freedom of choice. Maybe the positive magazine reviews and my own personal experience are wrong - and you are right. I certainly don't feel as though I have wasted my money, but I was with some previous 'well known' brands...
    "Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving." A. Einstein
  • shogunsteveshogunsteve Posts: 209
    arnie-77 wrote:
    seems a bit harsh, what's wrong with a small UK brand that supports grass roots cycling?

    I have looked into the Bikefood product and it certainly isn't and 'off the shelf product with a label just slapped on it, if this is the case can you show us the product it matches please?

    Having seen positive reviews in Procycling and Cycling Weekly, it seemed like a pretty good bet, and it was - IMO a very good product and that's why I recommended it earlier on the the thread.

    But hey its open debate, and freedom of choice. Maybe the positive magazine reviews and my own personal experience are wrong - and you are right. I certainly don't feel as though I have wasted my money, but I was with some previous 'well known' brands...



    Not really sure how that possible as the Ingredients in bikefood are just like many many other brands.

    Also what do you mean by "looked into the bikefood product"? I could see no data on their site relating to lab tests etc
  • arnie-77arnie-77 Posts: 61
    its pretty obvious that most energy drinks are based around similar or the same ingredients, but each have their own additional things such as SIS PSP22 and GO, they are similar but different, same with Torq Energy vs. High 5 and so on - they all all similar but different.

    I looked into Bikefood, not just by reading their website as its clearly going to just tell you how wonderful the product is blah blah - what I found interesting was the magazine reviews, equally you could put these down to potentially being biased as they have to sell ad space to such brands. But I saw positive reviews, plus other riders had tried a free sample or two and given it the thumbs up. I like it, I don't use it exclusively as I get bored easily and like to switch my products.

    I was not put off by the lack of 'science' on the website at all - most of these scientific studies on energy drinks and gels etc read like total BS, much like the science in womens cosmetics ads. The fact is if you find a drink you get on with, does not make your stomach hurt and does the job (very well) - that surely equals a good product?
    I know what the ingredients do from reading my cycling mags, you can also google them if you are not sure...

    I have used stuff from some of the biggest most well known brands and at times they can taste quite foul, upset my tum (I put this down to artificial sweeteners) and not always deliver the goods. But hey my recommendations are not going to work for everyone, its about personal preference and trying what works for you.
    "Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving." A. Einstein
  • shogunsteveshogunsteve Posts: 209
    arnie-77 wrote:
    its pretty obvious that most energy drinks are based around similar or the same ingredients, but each have their own additional things such as SIS PSP22 and GO, they are similar but different, same with Torq Energy vs. High 5 and so on - they all all similar but different.

    I looked into Bikefood, not just by reading their website as its clearly going to just tell you how wonderful the product is blah blah - what I found interesting was the magazine reviews, equally you could put these down to potentially being biased as they have to sell ad space to such brands. But I saw positive reviews, plus other riders had tried a free sample or two and given it the thumbs up. I like it, I don't use it exclusively as I get bored easily and like to switch my products.

    I was not put off by the lack of 'science' on the website at all - most of these scientific studies on energy drinks and gels etc read like total BS, much like the science in womens cosmetics ads. The fact is if you find a drink you get on with, does not make your stomach hurt and does the job (very well) - that surely equals a good product?
    I know what the ingredients do from reading my cycling mags, you can also google them if you are not sure...

    I have used stuff from some of the biggest most well known brands and at times they can taste quite foul, upset my tum (I put this down to artificial sweeteners) and not always deliver the goods. But hey my recommendations are not going to work for everyone, its about personal preference and trying what works for you.


    Thanks for the detailed reply, however explanation of ingredients isnt required, not for me at least.

    However, I'd be keen to see what patented blends are in this product, as far as I can see its just standard stuff. Correct me if I am wrong.

    The ingredients list is:

    Maltodextrin, Sucrose, L-glutamine, Citric Acid, natural orange flavour, natural colour (Beta Carotene), Sodium Chloride, L-leucine, L-valine, Magnesium Citrate, L-isoleucine, Vitamin C (ascorbic Acid), Calcium Citrate, Zinc Citrate, Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine Hydrochloride).

    Pretty standard stuff I hope you will agree.

    Also there are other much better options around that offer more carbs and thus energy per 100grams.
  • arnie-77arnie-77 Posts: 61
    Yep that's the same list as I have on the tub label I have in the kitchen. Looks fine to me, I'm sure there will be products that give more energy per gram, but that's not the only reason I bought it. I liked the simplicity of having a drink that did a lot of things in one, as it has protein content it can be used for recovery also.

    Don't know much about patented blends, is this the type of thing that you see on Powerbar products? their 'special' formula? I don't generally buy their stuff, but maybe I should give them another look. I did use their sweets but only because they came free with a mag.

    I'm not saying Bikefood is the answer to the world of energy drinks, but I just thought you were being a bit dismissive of a product I'm quite keen on.. I like the fact its not mega corp, and I like the fact its made in the UK. For me its a bit like bikes, I like to ride stuff you don't get in the LBS and I like to try new things out and for me its nice to see new products. By the way have you actually tried it yet?

    Thanks for posting back so quick - its made a otherwise very dull off bike day (for me at least)a bit more interesting!
    "Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving." A. Einstein
  • shogunsteveshogunsteve Posts: 209
    arnie-77 wrote:
    Yep that's the same list as I have on the tub label I have in the kitchen. Looks fine to me, I'm sure there will be products that give more energy per gram, but that's not the only reason I bought it. I liked the simplicity of having a drink that did a lot of things in one, as it has protein content it can be used for recovery also.

    Don't know much about patented blends, is this the type of thing that you see on Powerbar products? their 'special' formula? I don't generally buy their stuff, but maybe I should give them another look. I did use their sweets but only because they came free with a mag.

    I'm not saying Bikefood is the answer to the world of energy drinks, but I just thought you were being a bit dismissive of a product I'm quite keen on.. I like the fact its not mega corp, and I like the fact its made in the UK. For me its a bit like bikes, I like to ride stuff you don't get in the LBS and I like to try new things out and for me its nice to see new products. By the way have you actually tried it yet?

    Thanks for posting back so quick - its made a otherwise very dull off bike day (for me at least)a bit more interesting!


    Lets keep this factual not personal.

    Its not dismissive, its discerning.

    Large Companies spend millions researching the most beneficial blends of standard products and BCAAs etc and then spend more money patenting it, thats when you get an idea of how serious a company is.

    Bikefood to me has just taken a very simple number of ingredients and created a brand, fair play to them, but from what I can see there is little real research in action, or, if there is its not on their website.

    if it works for you thats fine, but from the data on their website there are other brands which could work equally as well and some which could work better.
  • arnie-77arnie-77 Posts: 61
    yep totally agree with your last sentence, which could also be applied to pretty much any nutrition brand and their products. Its an industry full of 'coulds' and 'mays', and as you may have noticed I take the science side of it with a pinch of salt, preferring trial and error. in personal testing.

    Out of interest, what are the nutrition products you use?
    "Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving." A. Einstein
  • shogunsteveshogunsteve Posts: 209
    edited June 2009
    arnie-77 wrote:
    yep totally agree with your last sentence, which could also be applied to pretty much any nutrition brand and their products. Its an industry full of 'coulds' and 'mays', and as you may have noticed I take the science side of it with a pinch of salt, preferring trial and error. in personal testing.

    Out of interest, what are the nutrition products you use?

    No you will note I qualified my last statement, which in the latter part said "and some which could work better".

    ie there are some of equal performace to BikeFood already in existence and some which are better. Whether the better products work better of course depends on your body and its ability to utilise the additional components whilst on the bike.

    I use:

    Water
    Dried figs
    Power Bar Caffeinated GELS
    High5 4:1
    Torq Recovery
  • arnie-77arnie-77 Posts: 61
    thanks for letting me your choice of products, nice to see some figs in there too...
    I was looking at the 4:1 so might give that a try next. Powerbar gels over Torq? Just personal pref?
    "Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving." A. Einstein
  • shogunsteveshogunsteve Posts: 209
    Yeah the figs are brilliant and full of nutrients too.

    I mostly just drink water and use the gels approx every 20 - 40 minutes of riding...TORQ energy drink is ok and cheap but 4:1 kicks the censored out of it everytime (imo)

    If I'm doing an all day I might add 4:1 or take a bottle with some 4:1 rich mix in it.

    Have you tried the Bicarbonate of Soda trick?
  • arnie-77arnie-77 Posts: 61
    bicarb trick? do please tell...
    "Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving." A. Einstein
  • shogunsteveshogunsteve Posts: 209
    arnie-77 wrote:
    bicarb trick? do please tell...

    Reduces lactic acid build up. Look to use 0.2 - 0.4gm per kg of body weight, add it to usual drink mix or in seperate bottle. Start at minimal use first!
  • shogunsteveshogunsteve Posts: 209
    arnie-77 wrote:
    bicarb trick? do please tell...

    Reduces lactic acid build up, ie train to higher intensity... Look to use 0.2 - 0.4gm per kg of body weight, add it to usual drink mix or in seperate bottle. Start at minimal use first!
  • arnie-77arnie-77 Posts: 61
    great tip, will give it a go!
    "Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving." A. Einstein
  • shogunsteveshogunsteve Posts: 209
    arnie-77 wrote:
    great tip, will give it a go!

    Just go steady on quantity.....some people find it better at first to go through a load phase for 24 - 48 hours...and then a further quantity 1 or 2 hours prior to the ride..

    Oh and too much will induce a sprint for the nearest bathroom / bush :lol:
  • arnie-77arnie-77 Posts: 61
    the tip just gets better! been porking it out recently and could do with dropping a few kg...
    "Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving." A. Einstein
  • shogunsteveshogunsteve Posts: 209
    arnie-77 wrote:
    the tip just gets better! been porking it out recently and could do with dropping a few kg...

    Nice one :lol:
  • militiacoremilitiacore Posts: 101
    arnie-77 wrote:
    bicarb trick? do please tell...

    Reduces lactic acid build up. Look to use 0.2 - 0.4gm per kg of body weight, add it to usual drink mix or in seperate bottle. Start at minimal use first!

    I wouldn't say it's the most efficient way to reduce lactic acid although it does have it's place in generally keeping the body in a more alkaline state. To reduce lactic acid build up during a ride I'd use Beta Alanine and possibly run Citrulline Malate alongside it, say 3-4g of each.

    In terms of on bike fuel it's easy to make your own isotonic drink. Easiest is 1 part fruit juice to 2 parts water and add in 1g of Himalayan Salt. I'd also add in 5g-10g Amino Acids and possibly any of Maltodextrin, Waxy Starch Maize or Brown Rice Flour for extra carbs depending on how long you're planning to be out but roughly 30g carbs per hour in the saddle is a good guide.
    Chas Roberts - DOGSBOLX
  • shogunsteveshogunsteve Posts: 209
    arnie-77 wrote:
    bicarb trick? do please tell...

    Reduces lactic acid build up. Look to use 0.2 - 0.4gm per kg of body weight, add it to usual drink mix or in seperate bottle. Start at minimal use first!

    I wouldn't say it's the most efficient way to reduce lactic acid although it does have it's place in generally keeping the body in a more alkaline state. To reduce lactic acid build up during a ride I'd use Beta Alanine and possibly run Citrulline Malate alongside it, say 3-4g of each.

    In terms of on bike fuel it's easy to make your own isotonic drink. Easiest is 1 part fruit juice to 2 parts water and add in 1g of Himalayan Salt. I'd also add in 5g-10g Amino Acids and possibly any of Maltodextrin, Waxy Starch Maize or Brown Rice Flour for extra carbs depending on how long you're planning to be out but roughly 30g carbs per hour in the saddle is a good guide.

    Well I considered Citruline, though cost and also the fact that I havent seen any research data on Citrulline, aside from that posted on shops selling it, led me to the £10 for 5kgs of Bi Carb....as opposed to the £10 for 100gms of CM :lol:

    That doesnt mean I wouldnt buy it if the research was present :oops:
  • militiacoremilitiacore Posts: 101
    Citrulline Malate is a combination of the amino acid Citrulline, which is involved in the urea cycle and Malate, a Krebs (also known as also known as the tricarboxylic acid cycle or citric acid cycle) cycle intermediate which is a major producer of aerobic energy within the mitochondria. Citrulline is found naturally primarily in Melons, and Malate can be found naturally in Apples. Citrulline Malate (CM) is a versatile compound that can enhance performance through a variety of biological mechanisms. CM increases levels of arginine and ornithine which are both important amino acids for muscle growth and have been shown to influence growth hormone levels.

    By virtue of this increase in argninine levels CM elicits similar benefits to arginine based supplements (see AAKG for details). CM reduces fatigue through a number of ways. It protects against increased blood acidity by increasing the levels of bicarbonate in the blood. It dramatically speeds up the rate at which the metabolic by-products of exercise (such as lactic, ammonia and endotoxins) are removed from working muscles, and it increases the rate (by up to 34%) of oxidative (aerobic) ATP production during exercise.

    Its ability to remove ammonia is particularly important as high levels inhibit glycogen formation, disrupting the energy cycle. Moreover CM also improves recovery by dramatically increasing the rate of phosphocreatine (see creatine) replenishment after exercise ( 20% increase). Citrulline Malate is a very useful supplement for anyone participating in high-intensity exercise, including strength athletes, bodybuilders, cyclists and some runners (e.g middle-distance runners). It's particularly effective when training enters a hypoxic state, such as in the later stages of endurance type events/sports (and when bodybuilding using constant-tension techniques).

    In a clinical setting CM has been shown to improve recovery from physical activity in patients with acute diseases as well as increasing feelings of well being and combating asthenia often associated with chronic wasting conditions.

    Realistically to get the same effect with bicarb you're looking at dosage of 20g, of which 5g approx would be sodium and not entirely healthy for you in that quantity.

    As said before though using with Beta Alanine yields the best results as they work synergistically. Basically Beta Alanine acts as a buffer of Hydrogen ions, keeping blood PH higher and less acidic.

    I guess using these individually does prove expensive but I also use a decent blend which contains these plus D Ribose and other goodies which works out at around 38 servings for £30.
    Chas Roberts - DOGSBOLX
  • shogunsteveshogunsteve Posts: 209
    Citrulline Malate is a combination of the amino acid Citrulline, which is involved in the urea cycle and Malate, a Krebs (also known as also known as the tricarboxylic acid cycle or citric acid cycle) cycle intermediate which is a major producer of aerobic energy within the mitochondria. Citrulline is found naturally primarily in Melons, and Malate can be found naturally in Apples. Citrulline Malate (CM) is a versatile compound that can enhance performance through a variety of biological mechanisms. CM increases levels of arginine and ornithine which are both important amino acids for muscle growth and have been shown to influence growth hormone levels.

    By virtue of this increase in argninine levels CM elicits similar benefits to arginine based supplements (see AAKG for details). CM reduces fatigue through a number of ways. It protects against increased blood acidity by increasing the levels of bicarbonate in the blood. It dramatically speeds up the rate at which the metabolic by-products of exercise (such as lactic, ammonia and endotoxins) are removed from working muscles, and it increases the rate (by up to 34%) of oxidative (aerobic) ATP production during exercise.

    Its ability to remove ammonia is particularly important as high levels inhibit glycogen formation, disrupting the energy cycle. Moreover CM also improves recovery by dramatically increasing the rate of phosphocreatine (see creatine) replenishment after exercise ( 20% increase). Citrulline Malate is a very useful supplement for anyone participating in high-intensity exercise, including strength athletes, bodybuilders, cyclists and some runners (e.g middle-distance runners). It's particularly effective when training enters a hypoxic state, such as in the later stages of endurance type events/sports (and when bodybuilding using constant-tension techniques).

    In a clinical setting CM has been shown to improve recovery from physical activity in patients with acute diseases as well as increasing feelings of well being and combating asthenia often associated with chronic wasting conditions.

    Realistically to get the same effect with bicarb you're looking at dosage of 20g, of which 5g approx would be sodium and not entirely healthy for you in that quantity.

    As said before though using with Beta Alanine yields the best results as they work synergistically. Basically Beta Alanine acts as a buffer of Hydrogen ions, keeping blood PH higher and less acidic.

    I guess using these individually does prove expensive but I also use a decent blend which contains these plus D Ribose and other goodies which works out at around 38 servings for £30.


    hmmm interesting. Is there any research around....I couldnt see any when I googled
  • militiacoremilitiacore Posts: 101
    I've not seen any specific research but pubmed is worth checking.

    Specific research can also be manipulated to suit so I prefer going with real world data, as in try it for yourself. Been using CM and BA for maybe 2 years now with good effect.
    Chas Roberts - DOGSBOLX
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