Monday 13 July 2015

Energy gels, powders etc.., or au naturel?

Regular readers will know that I do quite a few long distance rides on my beloved Brompton bikes. These tend to be well over 50 miles and having enough fuel is an ever important consideration. When you go to any bike shop in addition to all the other related items they sell, there is a growing array of energy gels and powders. I wonder whether they are needed?

There seems to be a huge industry dedicated to this with products before you cycle, during and after you have completed whatever it was you were doing. Occasionally when at certain cycling events one is given handfuls of these and I have used them now and then.

When I have been on night rides with seasoned cyclists the one thing that struck me is that they rarely seem to use anything like this. They favour flapjacks, nuts, Jelly Babies and honest to good cakes. A few have either electrolyte powders or tablets in their water bottles but that is about it.

I am sure they have their place. I know from reading about peoples kit for the Dunwich Dynamo that many opted for a few gel packs as they took up virtually no room and weighed next to nothing. As for me, I come down on the side of au naturel. I would need a fair bit of convincing to stop me from eating a hefty wedge of cake, couple of Jelly Babies or nut bar.

So, I put it to you. What is your take on this? Are you the sort of cyclist who prefers the ultra modern approach or are you the sort to try and go au naturel?


  1. Gels must be best as there is a whole industry now backing them, but they taste too "chemically" for me. I'd rather have a couple of handfuls of good quality trail mix or flapjack stowed in my bag, along with a tenner or two for a good pub lunch and a fish and chip supper ...

  2. I have to say I do like the nut bars, and sandwiches most of all. I use the electrolyte tabs in my water as I've found that stops me having cramps a few hrs later. But good solid food is always the best for me, I've tried the gels but I don't like the tastes and tbh I don't see any befits when I have used them

  3. I've read of the gels causing stomach upsets


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