many are the providers who wish to cater for our energy and hunger needs on the bike, some of which are highly tasty, some of which taste like papier mache with a fruity sheen. as i have said on many a previous occasion, there is little point in perusing the ingredients, energy provision, calorie count and fat percentage if the resulting flavour and/or texture is not to your liking. our sunday morning rides take in substantial portions of the island, always assuming the weather to be favourable, something i'd like to think we can count on as british summer time becomes even more of a fact rather than a promise. all those sunday rides, allowing for the fact that i do have to pedal about 15km back home, finish with a soya cappuccino at debbie's, and in previous times, i have found myself flagging on the homeward run due to a slight hunger and thus energy deficit.
there is occasion to stop en route during the ride to have a slurp from the bottle and a munchie bar, but i have been trying to save myself for the coffee break, and an accompanying calorie intake. when i have mind, i like to have an appropriate repast in the rear pocket, although it wouldn't be the first time that recollection of the need to do so has only occurred at breakfast on sunday morning.
very kindly, the folks at 9bar sent through a selection of their products to fill the back pocket during a week of cycling to more distilleries than most people will see in a lifetime. single malts are hard work. 9bar (no idea why they're called that) have a slight nutritional advantage over several of their competitors, in that the five flavours on offer are wheat, gluten, dairy, lactose, yeast and egg free. notwithstanding the fact that i thought lactose and dairy free meant the same thing, that's a fairly impressive portfolio, and one of the reasons that they are happily endorsed by olympic track rider, craig maclean who is a coeliac sufferer.
the constituents of each bar consist predominantly of seed concoctions: original, nutty, pumpkin, flax and organic. some of these have a carob coating on one side applying a sweetness to those tightly packed seeds. i rather like the idea of the bars being lactose and dairy free, though the other options don't actually affect me from any health or dietary points of view. each 50g bar is liberally fixed with a substantial number of calories, so there should be little difficulty with ingesting sufficient amounts, ensuring consistent pedalling over a reasonable distance.
this is, in fact, borne out in practice, but as is the nature with all foodstuffs, the taste is entirely subjective, and a separate issue from dietary ingestion. the only bar i found myself completely at ease with was the nutty version, despite its carob coating; seeds just don't do it for me i'm afraid. i mention a slight aversion to carob (a chocolate substitute) for two reasons; firstly, those rear pockets tend to get reasonably warm during a heated sprint, and the lead-up to same, meaning there is often somewhat of a sticky, melted mess when trying to stuff down a bar while riding the bike. secondly, and i'm willing to accept that this maybe a desired intention, chocolate makes me thirsty; something that i do not wish an energy bar to do to me while pedalling.
i do not want this review to seem like a character assassination, since the bars are well constituted and i really cannot deny that they did exactly what it promised on the wrapper. they just aren't for me. bear in mind however, that craig maclean thinks otherwise, and he is a lot faster than i.
9bars can be acquired in several ways, but perhaps the sanest way to go about it is to order a sampler pack of five bars for only £3.50. once tried and reportedly satisfied with a particular variation, they can be purchased in packs of 16 individual bars at prices varying from £10.40 for the original, up to £13.60 for the organic. this includes free delivery. ordering is through 9bar's particularly imformative website.
posted tuesday 1 june 2010..........................................................................................................................................................................................................