Featured Nutrition Recovery Reviews

Scheckter’s OrganicEnergy

Need a boost on the bike? Hate the quick fix ‘jag’ of coffee or more traditional energy drinks? The answer could well lay with Scheckter’s OrganicEnergy, a break from the norm that delivers a 100% natural power lift and boasts organic credentials to boot, whilst also claiming a more sustained approach to energy levels without any of the sudden crash that can accompany other manufacturers’ product. As if Scheckter’s needed one more trick up its sleeve, it tastes great.


Developed by Toby Scheckter, a former racing driver who was raised on an organic farm, the 250ml cans of OrganicEnergy delivers through three main mechanisms. Firstly, caffeine comes from a combination of raw green coffee bean extract and guarana, the latter a South American plant related to the maple which delivers twice the caffeine of coffee alone – one can of OrganicEnergy provides approximately 85mg caffeine, about the same as a double espresso. Secondly, ginseng a traditional herbal supplement that claims innumerable benefits (though none scrupulously tested or proven) and finally gingko biloba another long-established herbal preparation which is often said to improve mental focus and improved blood circulation – though the latter isn’t amongst Scheckter’s claimsf for it.


However, Cyclo can be absolutely certain on several points: the caffeine boost was more than perceptible on the ride, a good steady increase that felt sustained and didn’t leave us lagged at the end of it. Beyond the increased buzz that you would expect caffeine to deliver, it’s also worth noting that mounting research shows that it can, in the short term, increase VO2-Max (effectively the amount of oxygen you can metabolise and the effectiveness with which this happens) in addition to raising lactic acid thresholds which can delay the onset of fatigue. We also know for sure that Scheckter’s OrganicEnergy tastes incredibly good – almost an unheard of quality in energy drinks where the norm still seems to be ‘if it tastes foul, it must be doing some good.’ This drink delivers a crisp, clean, slightly citrus taste with no bitter after tang.


Soil Association and Vegetarian Association approved, Fairtrade compliant, 100% natural and organic and, another bonus, from this month also available in a ‘lite’ version that has 33% fewer calories, thanks to the switch from sugar cane to organic agave, a cactus-like plant native to Mexico. Scheckter’s OrganicEnergy is available from Waitrose, Holland & Barrett and some independent health food stores across the UK with a RRP of £1.45 for a 250ml can. This drink is definitely set to be Cyclo’s taste of the summer rides. Further information at


Extras Recovery Reviews

Kenkoh Classic Health Sandal

With much sunnier weather in prospect it’s high time to start looking at something beyond the comfy fire-side slipper for that all-important post-cycle recovery and pamper session and with that in mind Cyclo took a (slightly cynical) look at the Kenkoh Classic Health Sandal. Why cynical? Well beyond the aesthetic – the Kenkoh’s are odd to say the least – the big selling point for these Japanese imports is that they claim to stimulate the many reflexology points on the sole of the foot and, as something of a pseudo-science, reflexology is something we rather reserve judgement on.


The sandals ‘work’ (depending on your definition/belief-system) through stimulation provided along the length of the under-foot by 1000-plus tiny rubbery nodules that gently massage the foot with each step taken. Putting aside any particular adherence to the benefits of reflexology, what the Kenkohs do undeniably delivery is an exceptionally pleasant and wholly unexpected massaging of tired feet that stimulates blood-flow to speed recovery. The sensation – which at first feels a little like walking on a tiny bed of nails – is oddly relaxing and after a few hours strapped into race shoes brought quick relief to achy soles and toes.


We can certainly see some benefits here to riders suffering a range of minor foot ailments from plantar fasciitis and heel bruising to poor circulation and, although we would argue that the Kenkohs are far from the stylish ‘must-haves’ that the makers claim, they work exceptionally well in revitalising pedal-worn feet. Cyclo loves a spot of pampering and combining these with a little after-cycle foot cream massage is the closest we’re likely to commit to a day at a spa.


Expect to pay around the £50 mark for the Kenkoh Classics or £35 for the all-new flip-flop version that hides away the ‘magic’ nodules within far more conventional looking summer wear. More information and online purchase at


Nutrition Recovery Reviews

Nectar Sports Fuel

Goodness Shakes are rightly known for their excellent sports recovery drinks (see the Cyclo review here) but now they have taken the plunge into the exercise sports drink market with an intriguing new idea. Nectar Sports Fuel is a concentrate which comes in a 2litre bottle (at around £25.00) with a precision pump that delivers exactly the correct amount (25ml) for mixing with 500ml of water – but here’s the clever bit: pump once for a hypotonic drink, twice for an isotonic drink or three times for a hypertonic solution.


Perhaps that needs a little explaining… the hypotonic version will deliver fast hydration and is best suited for use during low intensity workouts (or long, slow bike rides) or in hot conditions. Isotonic works best for higher intensity workouts, strenuous rides or races and delivers a greater energy boost, whilst the hypertonic, three pump, version serves up a real surge of energy for that sprint finish or for interval-style training.)


In terms of the ‘sciencey bit’ Nectar is a ‘dual carbohydrate source’ consisting of 2 parts glucose to 1 part fructose; because these two types of energy use different methods for absorption into the body they can enter the bloodstream (and therefore ultimately the muscles) up to 55% faster than either a standalone glucose or fructose-based energy drink.


The taste, as you might expect from For Goodness Shakes, is excellent too. The Lemon/Lime variety is pleasantly tangy and the Light Orange variety has a mellow mandarin hint – obviously having a sports drink that is actually palatable makes all the difference to drink the right amount. Value’s good too – depending on the concentrate level you opt for each diluted 500ml serving will cost from around 65p, around half what you would expect to pay for a pre-prepared sports drink with similar values.


As a rough guide to nutritional values, the isotonic version (double-pump, 50ml of concentrate) will serve up 240Kcal of energy with 60g of carbs (48 from the combined sugars) along with a good balance of potassium, magnesium and other body salts otherwise lost through sweat.


For more information, visit:

Nutrition Recovery Reviews

Euro Shopper Energy Drink

An energy drink from Euro Shopper? What next? Lidl sports gels? Netto hydration tablets? Regardless, the budget brand has introduced their own energy drink to an already pretty crowded market, but at the very least they have had the good sense to give it the no-confusion name of ‘Energy Drink’. And if there is one thing that Cyclo loves more than a good long Sunday sportive, it’s saving a few pence in the process which makes this, at a mere 35p per 250ml can, a tempting proposition. How does the Euro Shopper Energy Drink shape up?


Of course price isn’t everything can a drink costing less than a third of the market leader’s be any good? Euro Shopper are obviously convinced they can take on the big boys here, even employing the rather cheeky tag line ‘All the taste, none of the bull’, and on taste alone it does measure up well. Like-for-like the sugar levels are close to that of Red Bull – 28.25g for Euro Shopper compared to 27.5g for RB, and this is offset by the caffeine bitter kick, 77.5mg against 79.5g for the equivalent size of RB. Rather shamefully though Energy Drink doesn’t list its sodium content. So taste is reasonable and, after all, who glugs an energy drink for taste alone?


The Euro Shopper option has reasonable levels of active ingredients besides the caffeine content – Taurine (950mg), Vitamin B12 (0.4mg), Vitamin B2 (0.66mg), Vitamin B3 (7.2mg), Vitamin B5 (2.4mg), Vitamin B6 (0.8mg) and is certainly on a par with most other, more expensive, alternatives. As the major active ingredient the caffeine alone is likely to give you the kick you require – there is strong evidence to suggest that besides the ‘buzz’ it will provide, it can also increase the lactic acid threshold (meaning, potentially, that muscles will take longer to fatigue) and raise, by as much as 5%, your VO2Max (the amount of oxygen you can effectively process during exercise.)


Certainly it lacks the ‘cool’ of Red Bull and you’re unlikely to see either the Euro Shopper X-Fighters or Flugtag any time soon, but this is certainly a good budget option for these lean times.


Extras Recovery Reviews

Elite O3one Pre-Comp Warm-Up Oil

O3one OilWarming up before exercising should be second nature to diligent riders; preparing your muscles for the hard work of anything from a pro competition to a Sunday sportive or even the daily commute will invariably help your body work harder and, crucially perhaps, suffer less post-saddle. Warming your legs through stretching or by starting at a slow pace for the first mile or two (less of an option on a pro race Cyclo grants you) will go a long way towards increasing the temperature around your muscles, but better still – or at least additionally – is the application of pre-ride muscle rub which has the added benefit of rapidly stimulating blood flow. Always happy to put on a little oil for the enlightenment of our readers, Cyclo took the plunge with the Elite O3one Pre-Comp Warm-Up Oil.


Available in 150ml at around £15.00; what we can say with some certainty is that it’s not unpleasant smelling, fairly non-greasy, rubs in well and leaves very little residue – the result being that your muscles are nice and warm when you hop on the bike. Where things become more complex is in trying to accurately measure the oils more specific claims – namely that this is an “Ozonized oil” (hence the “O3one” name, see what they did with the ‘3’ there? Cute) and as such it will ‘help to convert lactic acid (in part) to sugars that can be used by the muscles.’ Hmmm, even if you accept the less-than-proven ‘lactic acid is bad’ theory let’s just say that Cyclo can’t see Dr Ben Goldacre and his Bad Science buddies reaching for a bottle on the strength of that claim any time soon.


There are huge benefits to be had from making sure you don’t ride out with cold muscles and there are equally clear advantages to what amounts to a little gentle massage as it delivers the twin-joys of both warming you up and stimulating blood flow. Do you really need to spend £15.00 on an oil to do that? Well if you accept the ozone-therapy angle then sure and either way it will be less greasy than the much cheaper baby oil option. As for Cyclo, think we may look for some middle ground on this one…


Apparel Recovery Reviews

CompresSport F-Like Full Legs

CompresSportCompression kit seems to be everywhere these days. At it’s most basic compression wear is simply close, actually very close, fitting socks, shorts, leggings or tops with a high lycra (or similar elasticated material) content for which manufacturers make some quite extraordinary claims. It has long been recognised that in the case of socks/stockings such gear can help post-operatively and it was this discovery that has lead to the evolution of these sometimes disturbing looking items of apparel into performance enhancing must-haves. With this in mind we took a look at the CompresSport F-Like Full Legs…


Whilst claims that compression leggings aid venus return (the return flow of blood back to the heart) are probably true – whether or not this is a true benefit is still open to debate. If lactic acid (simply a by-product of breathing during cardiovascular exercise) is viewed as in some way “bad”, as it still is by some experts, then increased venus return is certainly beneficial because, the argument goes, lactic acid causes muscle fatigue and possibly cramping. However Cyclo understands that there is a growing school of thought that lactic acid is, if anything, benign – which certainly undermines some of the claims made by compression wear suppliers. Regardless, there are still ample benefits to sporting leggings during a long ride. Muscle oscillation is reduced which can stretch the amount of time to fatigue and even more helpfully they help to keep the muscles warm and therefore performing at their maximum for longer.


CompresSport are one of the newer kids on the block and their excellent “F-Like Full Legs”, which look rather like hold-up stockings, measure up well – so well in fact that the likes of Ironman (woman?) extraordinaire  Chrissie Wellington sports them. Admittedly Cyclo found these a touch – shall we say – feminine? They have a rather odd semi-Goth squiggle just at the part of the thigh that you would least like someone to stare at, but, and this is probably more important, they are incredibly comfortable and felt supportive of the muscle through the whole length of the leg. Useful too for post-ride recovery which is an area in which compression kit has clear and well recorded benefits. Not cheap at £70.00 a pair, but if they are going to help you ride harder and recover faster they could be worth every penny.


Available from


Recovery Reviews

Happy Foot Kit

Happy Foot KitOf course we know that as cyclists you’re all good at looking after aching quads and calfs post race (right?) but if there’s one thing Cyclo finds tender after a long time on two wheels – apart from perhaps out nether regions – it’s the soles of our feet. However flashy your footwear it’s inevitable that a good long slog on the bike is going to take its toll, with the plantar fascia – the band of tissue not unlike a ligament that stretches from your heel to your middle foot bones – often taking the brunt of the abuse. We were delight to receive (goodies always welcome) the wonderfully named Happy Foot Kit from Opal London and set about indulging our oft-abused appendages.


Contained within the cheekily foot-shaped bag (not the most hardcore pro-looking bit of kit so you might want to just keep it safely at home) is 100ml of cooling aromatherapy peppermint foot gel and a ribbed massage foot roller which is excellent for relieving aching feet and simple to use – just put it under the sole of your foot and move it backwards and forwards. It also has an excellent application for use if you are suffering from the otherwise hard to treat Plantar Fasciitis (a painful inflammation of the aforementioned plantar fascia which can be caused by overdoing things) and also as a simple in-flight exercise to help in the prevention of DVT. The cream is effective and soothing; no claims of true medicinal benefit made, but the simple act of massaging in is revitalising.


Cyclo certainly wouldn’t claim that the Happy Foot Kit is anywhere close to an essential addition to your cycling toys, but the results are undeniably satisfying after a long hard sportive. Feet are so easily neglected and this could be your chance to rectify the situation and pamper them just a little…


Available for £7.00 at


Apparel Recovery Reviews

Physicool Cooling Tee-Shirt

The original Physicool product was a cooling compression bandage that first made its appearance on Dragons’ Den a couple of years ago and could genuinely claim to be revolutionary in its ability to combine post-exercise compression with the recovery benefits of cold – all without the need for icepacks. Now, in association with OK! Famously Fit an online “Celebrity and Expert Health and Fitness” magazine (with ex-Steps star Lee Latchford Evans, no less), they have released the Physicool Cooling Tee-Shirt based on the same coolant spray as the bandage. In principle this might seem like a good idea, but in execution is a little bit neither fish nor foul. The tech-quality T-shirt can simply be sprayed as and when required with the coolant spray to help wick away heat from the body; and in this it is undoubtedly effective – we found that it consistently cooled us for more than an hour without the need for “recharging” and not just in a vague menthol spray way that fools you in to thinking you are cooler (such as with Skins ICE) but in a demonstrable and measurable body-temperature manner. Good stuff, but at Cyclo we can’t quite see the point.


Post ride you could certainly use it to simply cool off – although rapid cooling isn’t always the best advice – but with a little more application this could have been an excellent addition to you kit bag. Imagine if Physicool had teamed up with the aforementioned Skins, or indeed CompresSport, TXU, etc, so that true post-exercise recovery could have been achieved with a little extra squeeze. At £49.99 for a T with 250ml of coolant or £58.98 for a T with 500ml you are already in to the territory where you could by an excellent compression top from most of the leading brands and still have money over to but a stand-alone bottle of coolant at £7.99 for 200ml or £16.99 for 500ml…


So, certainly not the cheapest bit of kit you could add to your bag, but it does do exactly what it claims. Cool.


Available from