Not everyone loves sweet tasting treats, which is why we covered savory energy bars here. However, sometimes when you’re really digging deep on a long ride, a sweet tasting gel can be just what you need to put some ‘zing’ back into your legs.
There’s tons of choice out there, but we’ve got a few personal favourites to share that are definitely worth trying. Here are 5 of the best…
GU Enegy Vanilla Bean Gel
GU Energy Gels aren’t everyones favourite gels, because they’re fairly thick in consistency and many of the flavours available are quite sweet – though they do have a ‘naked’ no taste option.
However, when I borrowed one of these from a friend in a moment of need (no, I didn’t give it back) I was VERY pleasantly surprised. Like, ‘can I have these for pudding every day’ sort of pleasantly surprised. The Vanilla falvour is gorgeous.
As with all gels, the focus is on quick delivery carbs. Because of the thicker nature of the product, the pouch can be quite small which is handy in crammed back pockets, too. This one is perfect for long rides when you just need a pick-me-up, though it would be hard to swallow in a race when you might be better going for something thinner (such as one of High5’s IsoGels).
Mule Bar Kicks Gel Cherry Bomb
Mule bar make a range of energy gels in various flavours – Lemon Zinger, Apple Strudel, Salted Caramel – all of which I can vouch for. They also offer a Coffee Cortardo option – which PERSONALLY I’d steer clear of but I will admit taste is subjective.
The Cherry Bomb is by far my favourite. Made from natural ingredients in the UK, the creators use high GI rice syrup for the rocket fuel kick, and medium GI agave nectar to make sure you keep on going.
Cherry juice has many reported benefits, including acting as an anti-inflammatory.
There’s electrolytes in there in the from of Himalayan crystal salts, too. On top of all this – the gel just tastes yummy. Our friends over at Road Cycling UK reviewed it, too, and thought much the same.
Torq Energy Gel Raspberry Ripple
It really is hard to pick a favourite from Torq’s selection – there’s Strawberry Yoghurt, Black Cherry Yoghurt, Rhubarb & Custard, to name a few alongside Raspberry Ripple.
Like most sweeter gels, the consistency is quite thick, so you feel like you’re getting a proper snack and the sweet taste is a great psychological boost.
Torq use fast delivery Fructose and Maltodextrin carbs for quick delivery, which they claim is much more efficient and effective than using glucose. The gels feature only natural flavours and are suitable for vegans.
If you’re after an extra kick, the Forest Fruits and Banoffee gels contain 89mg of caffeine, too.
Our friends at Bike Magic reviewed the Raspberry Ripple version as well, and gave it a big thumbs up.
Cliff Shot Blocks
Admittedly we’re cheating here, because these aren’t gels – but they serve the same function in delivering quick release carbs. And wow, are they yummy!
Shot blocks are a bit like a ‘get out of jail free’ card – three chews contain around 100 calories and 24g of carbs and they can really help open up the tunnel when it feels like you’re making a one way trip to ‘blonk land’ (not as good as it sounds).
Flavours include Black Cherry, Citrus, Cran-Raz (Cranberry & Raspberry), Margarita, Mountain Berry and Orange – Black Cherry and Orange both contain caffeine, and Margarita has three times as much sodium for those who struggle with cramp.
Natural Energy Gel – Apple and Cinnamon
We’ve got to put a little plug in for our own brand – and honestly, this one is super scrummy!
We made this gel using dates, apple juice, cinnamon, honey, and coconut oil – it’s so good we even tried it on toast (really).
Have a go at the recipe here – and rest assured, the dates and honey will definitely give you a good kick on the bike.
Not sure about gels? Check out this piece for more information about their uses and benefits.