Nutrition Reviews

Clif Bar

Having recently enjoyed reviewing – and obviously eating – Bounce Energy Balls (review here), Cyclo thought it about time we introduced you to one of our all-time favourite ride snacks: Clif Bar. Whilst Bounce are pretty much the new kids on the nutrition block, Clif are currently celebrating 20years of delivering wholesome, nutritious goodness having made their début, appropriately at a cycle show, in September 1991. A couple of years before CEO and Founder Gary Erickson had been enjoying a 175mile bike ride when he tried a friend’s sports bar, hated it and thought “I could make a better bar than this…” Two years of experimenting in his mum’s kitchen and having named it after his father, Clifford, Erickson realised his ambition.


Clif Bar are available in three flavours in the UK – Oatmeal Raisin Walnut, Choc Chip and, our favourite, Crunchy Peanut Butter, whilst in the US consumers are spoiled by a far wider choice including the intriguing sounding Iced Gingerbread, Spiced Pumpkin Pie and Black Cherry Almond. In common with Bounce, Clif sport impressive natural and (largely) organic credentials along with a thoroughly home-made look and texture. They weigh in at 50g and because they are both filling and slightly on the chewy side they lend themselves to nibbling rather than gulping down in one hit – something that can be advantageous when trying to drip-feed your body the suitable nourishment on a long ride. Taking the Crunchy Peanut bar as a fairly representative example of the whole range the delivery of goodness is impressive for weight: 193kcal per bar with 9g of protein and just shy of 30g of carbohydrates; as you should be looking at an ideal protein to carb ration of between 1:3 and 1:4 (as this is where the absorption of carbohydrates works most efficiently) Clif Bars are spot on. 13g of the 29.5g of carbohydrates are (natural) sugars and less than a quarter of the bar’s 4.5g of fat are saturates. Pretty much every other important vitamin and mineral is also present – from A, D, E and C through Magnesium and Zinc for body-salt balance.


Clif Bar may have been around for two decades, but are still hard to beat.


Available individually from numerous high street health food and sports shops or as boxes of 15 online with an RRP of £19.99



Nutrition Reviews

Bounce Natural Energy Balls

Bounce BallsHere at Cyclo we are always on the lookout for nutritious (and hopefully tasty) treats to either supplement or replace gels, which despite many years in the saddle we still can’t quite bring ourselves to enjoy. Bounce Natural Energy Balls certainly seem to bring something a little different to the table; made from 100% natural ingredients and available in five unusual flavour combos: Fudge Walnut, Cashew and Pecan, Almond Protein, Peanut Protein and Spirulina/Ginseng. Depending on variety the individually wrapped balls weigh in between 40 and 50g with varying combinations of wheat, dairy or gluten-free credentials, making them suitable for cyclists with special dietary needs and all contain some truly whopping amounts of carbs and protein. Take, for example, The Almond Protein Hit Bounce Ball – our favourite on test – which packs in 12g of protein and 21g of carbs (12g of which is sugar) to serve up more than 200kcal of energy – ample quantities for fuelling up pre-ride, topping up once in the saddle or recovering afterwards.  The balls themselves can truly be described as “rustic”, looking perhaps more like something you would hang in a bird cage, but don’t let looks put you off. Bounce Balls are in fact incredibly tasty and a welcome addition to the kit bag if you’re looking for some variety in your exercise-dependent diet. They are, however, a little dry to the palate and we found that they needed to be taken with a drink.


The Spirulina/Ginseng variety is undoubtedly the most curious variety. Advertised as a “Defence Boost” this one is probably best used post-ride as it has an ideal 4:1 ratio (more-or-less) of Protein:Carbohydrate and is packed with Ginseng (noted as an antioxidant) and the lesser-known Spirulina, a “superfood” which dates back in use to Aztec times. It has a slight marzipan taste and texture, due to the inclusion of vanilla and almonds, and is one of the most unusual health foods Cyclo has ever tried.


Bounce Balls have really tried to do something different with their product range, both in ethos and execution and we wholeheartedly recommend that you give them a try, assuming you can provide a positive answer to their tag-line slogan: “Have you got the balls?”


Various UK stockists or available at, with a 12 price of £16.55