1) You do have to wonder seriously about the customer experience you are going to get from a company that features Ed McMahon and M.C. Hammer as spokespersons during the Super Bowl. Did you run out and buy insurance from the company that hired Kevin Federline last year? I didn't think so.
2) If anyone offers Team Two Wheel even a couple of thousand dollars, not even "several" thousand, we will take down any blog post. In fact, I would like to offer a fee schedule: Remove or edit any post: $10, except for Dr. Spalm advice, which we will remove for only $5. Three for two deals available on Double Down Wednesdays.
3) If you have any cycling products that you would like Team Two Wheel to review, please forward them to our attention. Team Rider 1 has suggested that Team Rider 3, by dint of copious amounts of both power and bulk, makes an ideal product tester. If you look at the weight and height of most professional cyclists, you get the idea that they could make frames out of equal parts carbon and balsa wood. To stand up to Rider 3, they should ideally be equal parts carbon and high tensile strength I-beams. Most wheelsets these days have 12-24 spokes per wheel. Rider 3's wheelsets would ideally consist of 48 spokes, soldered and tied. Let's just say, the guy is big, really big.
The first product we have to review is actually two PowerBar products called, "Energy Bites" and "Protein Plus Bites". Basically these are small balls in a foil pouch [Please insert your own joke here]. The foil packet has a resealable top. Since we only want to provide top notch information for you, I tried to do some research on these bite-sized balls. I knew they were a new product from PowerBar, but the sample package doesn't have a lot of other information. When I looked on-line, I found descriptions of a product that looks similar, but was introduced in 2003 and subsequently withdrawn from the market. As a result, I can't find out much about them, beyond what is on the sample package and my own taste.
|From Product Testing|
We had the chance to try two types of "Bites", chocolate/peanut butter and oatmeal raisin. With both flavors, rather than pushing the carbohydrate angle that most ride products spout, these both mention protein with one having 20 grams of "Tri-Source Protein" in the Protein Plus Bites and the other containing 11 grams of protein and something called "C2 Max Dual Source Energy Blend". The claim is that this provides carbs in a mix that is easier for athletes to absorb. Again, I am lacking empirical evidence. I would ask Dr. Spalm to do some laboratory testing of them, but we can hardly afford his wordiness without any real work, so we will have to forgo this step.
So here is what I can tell you. On shorter rides, like under 90 minutes, I rarely eat anything solid. By the time I am riding 2 hours and certainly longer, it is important to eat. That means you have to be carrying something that is both edible and "seems" edible after your appetite is impacted by the ride.
|From Product Testing|
Rider 2 and I tried the peanut butter/chocolate bites after a two hour ride. Our reaction was about the same, "ummm, pretty good, I guess I could eat those." They held up well to two hours in a jersey pocket. Although it was cold, there were protected and I thought they might be a bit melted. Instead they were in good shape. Honestly, I didn't eat them and think "wow", but I certainly thought edible. I wonder how the chocolate exterior would hold up to warm weather, but otherwise a decent addition and I'm sure appealing to some.
The oatmeal raisin was more to my taste. I not only tried this on a ride, but I also had family members give them a taste. The Rider 3 household was in agreement on these, which is that they were tasty, reminiscent of an actual oatmeal raisin cookie, and left us a bit thirsty. On a ride, this is probably a good thing, since drinking water is almost always a good idea. Also, it is my personal experience that PowerBar products need to be consumed with plenty of fluids for best results. That wouldn't be a problem after these bites, as they induced some thirst and mixed well with water. To be the ultimate food, they would also need to blend well with malted beverages or tequila, but that is a product test for another day.
Bottom line - On a major endurance ride, in the 4 - 10 hour range, the trick is to eat whatever seems appealing. It gets harder and harder to eat an appropriate amount and mix. For me, the longer the ride, the more I feel like eating some "real" food, rather than just energy bars, energy gels and energy drinks. I will definitely think about adding some oatmeal raisin PowerBar Energy Bites to the group of things I would take along on an epic ride. These won't be available to the public for another few weeks, but keep an eye out for them at Two Wheel Transit.