Professor and former WQAD-TV reporter Alan Sivell is biking RAGBRAI and blogging for LMQC about it this year. Follow his adventure right here … and tell him what you think, too!
Snack bars. Cereal bars. Energy bars. Or, just plain “bars.” Whatever you call them, they are essential to biking long distances. But finding one that tastes good yet is not a bunch of empty, sugary calories…that’s tricky. Finding true love might be easier.
I was in a big, big box store this morning and walked an ENTIRE aisle of bars. The cereal bars sound good. But just as with most cereal that comes in a box and is intended for a bowl, the first or second ingredient is sugar. That’s not going to power you up the hills of western Iowa.
(Besides, I’m saving my sugar cals for the legendary pie along this route.)
And just about every snack bar HAS to have chocolate in it – coated in it or covered on the bottom. If not that, at least chocolate chips. It’s as if the makers of this ersatz candy bars figure we truly do need a spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down.
But news flash, bar makers. You are not making bars for the grade schooler’s lunchbox. You are making them for very hungry people. Almost anything you give them will taste very good after an hour or two of biking. So don’t fill them with sweeteners. Squish some nuts and fruit together and put a wrap on it.
During the school year, I often make individual portions of almonds, cashews and raisins to stave off hunger. But it’s hard to eat that while riding a bike with 10,000 people.
My favorite bars right now are Clif Crunchy Peanut Butter bars. Softened by the summer sun, they are melt in the mouth good. However, they have way too much sugar and I need to find an alternative. My wife is a fan of Larabar’s fruit and nut bars. Any suggestions?