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To keep going on a long bike ride you need carbohydrate. When you’re start going over three or four hours, you need a bit of protein too. This is because - to put it in the simplest terms - it helps the carbo work better. Protein is also important after a race or long ride to help muscle repair. And that’s where the Builders Bar, from all-natural energy food manufacturer Clif, comes in.
Each bar is 68g - and 20g of that is protein - making it an ideal option for after-ride recovery. You might also use it when you’re actually riding, especially towards the end of a 100-mile sportive, when you physiologically need to take on protein, and psychologically you just can’t face another sticky gel. Or you might just eat it as a snack at home or at work instead of a ‘normal’ chocolate or cereal bar.
As well as the protein, other key components of the bar are carbohydrate (30%) and fat (8%). The Cliff website is keen to emphasise that ‘unlike other protein bars, they contain no trans fats or hydrogenated oils’. In layman’s terms again, that means ‘good fat’ not ‘bad fat’.
The protein comes mainly from soya and nuts, while other ingredients include beet juice, brown rice syrup, cane juice, oats and palm kernel oil - plus chocolate and cocoa. Most of the ingredients are organic.
Tearing off the wrapper, at first glance the Builders Bar looks like any other cereal bar covered in chocolate. In taste and texture, as you might expect, it’s not like a traditional Mars or Snickers bar. But it’s not like a cereal bar either. It has the texture of a caramel slice, though not as sweet, even though it’s covered in chocolate. In short, it's a very nice flavour.
However, if full chocolate isn’t to your taste, other flavours available include choc-mint and peanut butter. They're all suitable for vegetarians.
I have used Builders Bars on the bike, but they get very sticky in my back pocket. If you’re a sportive rider with a tri-bag or an audax rider with a saddlebag you won’t have this trouble. Generally though, they’re better as a recovery food. Personally, I eat one after a long hard ride. It tastes great with a big hot cup of tea. Maybe not very scientific, but sometimes you’ve got to go on feel.
A single Clif Builder's bar costs £1.80 to £2, depending where you buy. On-line you can buy a box of 12 for £20 to £24.
A good way to take on protein, and very flavoursome. They're not cheap, but the price is on a par with many other energy foods.
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Make and model: Clif Builder's bar
Size tested: n/a
Did you enjoy using the product? yes
Would you consider buying the product? yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? yes
Age: 49 Height: 5ft 10 / 178cm Weight: 11 stone / 70kg
I usually ride: an old Marin Alp My best bike is: an old Giant Cadex
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, club rides, sportives, mtb,