Energy bars are part of every serious cyclists' life, whether we like it or not! Personally I prefer protein bars for a more sustained energy release, but as someone who avoids dairy, that leaves me with two unappealing options: going to a specialist health-food shop for a disgusting blend of hemp protein and macrobiotic goo, or making them myself. So Chapeau! to PowerBar who have brought out a tasty vegan cereal bar we can buy in sports shops! Two other zesty new flavours are also on the PowerBar menu: Lemon Cheesecake and Jaffa Cake to refresh your tastebuds.
Ride Velo did an upper body workout this morning (have you seen Chris Froome's arms recently??), and followed it with a protein bar taste off. Eating 30% protein bars after weight-bearing exercise is ideal for building and maintaining muscle mass, as well as replenishing energy supplies - as any personal trainer will tell you. The trouble with protein bars is that they're routinely full of mushy whey powder and it can be hard to disguise the texture.
But manufacturers PowerBar have managed to create three new flavours which actually do the job very well. Thinking outside of the strawberry, vanilla and chocolate box, the Lemon Cheesecake bar actually mimics the texture of real lemon cheesecake (minus the buttery biscuit base) and tastes pretty authentic. It even smells good!. The end result is smooth and creamy with a subtle and refreshing lemony tang. This is even better than my previous favourite energy bar flavour favourite 'Mojito' which Ride Velo was given during Ride100 one year.
Now I have to admit I am not a fan of Jaffa Cakes - ever since I heard comedian Jerry Sadowitz refer to the wobby orange centre as being "the collective earwax of the McVitie family." So it was with trepidation that I took a bite into the new Jaffa Cake flavour from PowerBar. Hurrah - no flaccid orange jelly in the middle, just a creamy smooth centre that tasted very much like the Jaffa Cake sponge base with a hint of orange. Clever! And all this surrounded by dark chocolate. In my opinion, a huge improvement on the real thing, but I probably won't be rushing down to the shops for one any time soon.
What really appealed to me, however, was the vegan and lactose-free Blueberry Nuts cereal bar. This bar contains soy, which has always been my dairy alternative of choice. Cranberries, blueberries, peanuts and almonds are also packed into this healthy and nutritious offering, and it is actually made from natural ingredients, unlike standard bars. It looks the most appealing of the the three, and contains no artificial colours or preservatives, although the smell is a bit synthetic, ironically.
So the winner is - for taste - definitely the Lemon Cheesecake from the unanimous jury. But for health - the Mary Berry star of the bars - Blueberry Nuts is the out and out winner. Congratulations PowerBar! Get yours from ProBikeKit.co.uk Lemon Cheesecake flavour coming soon...