Chew/gel alternatives


I happen to work at Clif Bar and if you guys are interested I can ask our nutritionist to give me a more detailed explanation on the types of carbs in Bloks and why are they’re easier on the gut than just eating candy.

But as a real food alternative, this:

100% agree, these are relatively cheap, natural and digest well.


That would be great!


I regularly make “GCN Energy Bars”, although I swap the oil for butter. For races, I cut them up into bite size pieces, in an open bag in the back pocket - it’s easier than opening a gel. When I did triathlon (up to Olympic) I used to have one at the start of the bike from a top tube bag. I’ve tried others, but I keep coming back to these as the easiest to make and keep!

On long weekend rides/ sportives/ audax, I’ve gone to bringing plain turkey sandwiches for the first few hours. Carbs from the (granary/ wholegrain) bread, some protein and limited fat. It seems to be working well for me. I never had on bike issues, but did used to suffer sugar crashes post ride going all sweet, particularly if I also did the post ride cake tables!


This past year, I have used Maple Syrup for gels in a flask, and Annie’s Organic Bunnies for my chews.

Maple Syrup is the same stuff they sell in a packet and call it Untapped. Why not reduce waste and cost buy buying in bulk.

I got the Annie’s Organic tip from a podcast with Stacey Simms who has worked with Skratch, Osmo, and now Nuun I believe.


I’d be careful with dates as things can get really messy, real fast… particularly during the race.
Don’t ask me how I know.


I eat jelly snakes or fruit jellies a fair bit on the bike. They don’t seem to have as much kick as a gel, but I save those until I really need one.


I’d love to see the carb breakdown for bloks (and all the clif bar products really)


A warning - I love all candy, especially black liquorice (the salty kind), but don’t use liquorice for riding. Too much liquorice can lower potassium levels and cause heart rhythm irregularities. Also, it’s a laxative…

+1 on dates, but definitely make sure your stomach is good with them for a while before any events/races. For me, I tolerate them better than gels, and they’re just as good at holding off a bonk.


For longer rides or races (4+hrs) when gels/syrup won’t do, my go to is homemade rice cakes. I chop them up in to bike size chunks and use small ziplock bags to stuff them individually in to my jersey pocket… I like this recipe the most:


This is my go to recipe as well!


A handful or five always go down smooth :wink:


Haribo gummy bears.

13 of them = 100 calories and have VERY near the exact same composition as a Gu gel. You can chipmunk them in your cheek which essentially puts the glucose on a mini time-release program.

For longer rides where you need some actual food, I haven’t found anything that works better than the Nature Made Fig bars. They were mentioned on a podcast once, and I’m hooked.

You’re welcome :wink:


During my workout today I thought of this thread because I tried something new today. 1 hour into Galena +3 I ate a Blueberry Muffin flavored Larabar washed down with some water and maybe it was mental but I felt great for the last two intervals with zero stomach issues. Plus that particular flavor is my fav… last week during the same workout I ate Honey Stinger chews to see how I felt and I prefer the Larabar. Easier to eat and pretty satisfying


In my opinion, the Feed Zone Portables cook book is worth a buy. Lots of great recipes for rice cakes and other items to take with you on the bike.

The first part of the book also does a great job of breaking down the principles of re-fueling during exercise and how to avoid GI distress. It’s really helped me out a lot.


Soreen Lunch Loaves (Banana flavoured Malt loaf).

Sliced in half and made into a PeanutButter & Jam canapé, then slid back in the packet. Hnnng.


I hated gels because of their thick consistency and the absolute gut bombs I would get while running out past 10 miles , same with cycling after a few hours. A friend offered me some gels by Pacific Health labs, taste good and they were not thick. I have been a fan ever since, if I feel the need for real food I just eat a HoneyStinger waffle.


Sorry, I promised to ask and then life happened. But I did ask our nutrition specialist about the difference between the Bloks and candy and here’s the the quote from her reply:

"We do combine the types of sugar in ratio that is known to promote quick absorption and utilization by the muscles. We also include electrolytes like sodium to help the athlete replace some of the sodium they are losing by sweating. "

We both agreed we could probably do a better job at marketing it this way, but there you go. While candy like Jelly Babies will also have close to 80g of carbs in 100g of product, nearly all of these carbs will be sugar. Bloks have a 50/50 ratio of complex to simple carbs. Hope this helps!