Is the high price of energy bars stealing from your tire budget? Bars are easy to carry and work well, but your local supermarket has many economical items that make good ride food.
You need grub that’s moist so you can get it down even when you have a dry mouth. It should be easy to chew so you don’t suffocate before you can swallow. It helps if the chow is bite size or can be broken down for easy handling. And it should travel well in your jersey pocket. You don’t want to reach back for food 60 miles into a century and find a pocketful of crumbs or a soggy mess.
Here are some suggestions for your shopping list:
—Fruit bars. They can contain traditional fig or lots of other fillings. Two quick bites and they’re down. Just plain figs work well, too.
—Granola bars. They’re individually wrapped just like energy bars but they cost a lot less. Check in the cereal aisle for a variety of similar products.
—Panini. These are little bite-size sandwiches, the traditional European race food. Make them at home with cream cheese and/or jelly after cutting the crust cut off the bread. Then wrap them individually in aluminum foil. To eat like a real Italian bike racer during long, cold rides, put a hunk of ham in there, too.
—Fruit. Bananas are nearly perfect: moist, easy to chew and swallow, and they come in their own wrapper. Slices of apple or orange in a baggie are great on hot days. Just be sure to eat them before they ferment.
—Dried fruit. Most is moist enough to go down easily, especially when accompanied by a sip of water.
—Candy bars. If you look at the carb and calorie information on a Pay Day, Three Musketeers and many other candy bars, you’ll see that it isn’t appreciably different from the numbers on many energy bars. But candy is considerably cheaper and more readily available. It could melt into a mess on a warm ride, though — one reason we like Pay Day, which is coated by peanuts, not chocolate.