Thursday, August 27, 2009


Today I would like to discuss one of my favorite topics. Probably the thing I most like to talk about excluding bicycles... food. Being enthusiastic about food is useful in that it makes it possible for cyclists to interact with non-riders... after all, they don't understand how we could be excited about carbon fiber frames and riding for hours in lycra. And we don't understand how their lives have any meaning with cycling and salivating over new Campagnolo parts...

But I misled you with that intro. Because I will not beguile you with wonderful pictures and tales of Italian food. That will come... as the weather worsens and my desire to ride decreases, I have this sinking feeling I will post about Italian lunches, but that is still a few months away... hopefully!

Today I will discuss on-bike food. Clif bars, to be exact. You see, I have just discovered these little bundles of joy during my time in the US this summer. I had, as many roadies, a very traditional approach to these things. Riding food consisted of some combination of the following:

  1. honey or nutella micro-sandwiches wrapped in tinfoil;
  2. apple slices wrapped in tinfoil;
  3. micro prosciutto sandwiches with a touch of olive wrapped in... yes, you guessed it;
  4. pre-packaged apple sauce (a French brand, no, actually it is yummy); and/or
  5. stops at bars for a pastry and coffee.
Yes, usually it was number five. I am a great forward planner, no really... but could you resist this after 50 km:

Ahhh, caffè e cornetto...

But then a terrifying problem rears its ugly head when you plan your riding in rural South Carolina. They do not have Italian espresso bars on every street corner. As a matter of fact, they do not have them anywhere. This is the closest thing I came across. I am not sure what the opening hours were, though:

I stayed away, a bit of a 'deliverance' feel to the place, wouldn't you agree?

So what is an increasingly hungry Italian cyclist going to do to stave off hunger... especially before his 45 million calorie lunch that is waiting for him when he returns from his ride?

Consumerism to the rescue! For 99 cents you too can purchase a Clif bar, which comes in about 300 different distinct flavors, from your local Trader Joe's (I like to show off and drop American store names, just to show how hip I am regarding the Americana shopping experience). These are in environmentally friendly wrappers that ensure that even in 40 centigrade heat in your sweaty jersey pocket for several hours there will be no effect on the contents.

Nothing left. Only the nuclear proof packaging.

When you open the package, the actual contents look like something that your dog might leave on the footpath during your (his? her?) daily walk. The consistency is a wee bit chewy. And you do need some water to get them to go down well.

Having said that, they are really, really yummy. As in, I wish I had brought a second one on the ride. The regular Chocolate Chip and Chocolate Chip Peanut Crunch (the only two flavors I tried) were both absolutely great. And I had no trouble eating them while riding...


A happily refueled Powerful Pete riding along in his Fat Cyclist jersey!

Now if I could only find them in good old Italia. Carrying 1~2 on long rides is definitely an option.

Highly recommended. 4 out of 5 stars on the Happy Powerful Pete rating scale. Minus one star for the way they look when you pull 'em out of the package. So, if you get a chance, try 'em.

I am curious. Let me know if you like them, and what other fake cycling food you enjoy partaking while riding. And, for the American readers of this blog, I am curious about Clif Shot Bloks. So be nice and send me a few to sample. Mille grazie!

In the meantime, I will go back to my caffè e cornetto until I can locate a decently priced supplier here in the Old World.


  1. I freaking love Clif bars, I usually have one on my morning rides and call it breakfast. They have but a select few that are Vegan approved though which I love dearly.

    I have been sending e-mails like a madman concerning "Team Fatty" (seriously I think I have sent about 50) to different people and have not got one response back about it. Sup with that?

  2. 1. I had no idea there were about a million flavors. I honestly thought they had chocolate and the peanut butter crunch thingamajig.

    2. Sorry, but emails about what?

    3. I regularly comment on Fatty's blog... many people check out my site, but apparently they are too shy to post.... just like you! LOL.

  3. Yup I think there are elevendy-trillion flavors to be exact. I like the nut trail mix what-cha-ma-callit.

    I'll e-mail you on the other stuff....and in turn you can go ahead and not respond.

  4. A lot of South and North Carolina has a deliverance feel. Lack of coffee shops is one reason I escaped to the big city. About Clif bars - to me they look and taste like uncooked whatever they are. For example, the carrot cake is like raw carrot cake and the banana bread is like raw banana bread. I much prefer their sister brand, Luna Bars. They are marketed to women, but my husband's manliness has not yet been harmed by consuming them.

  5. LOL Dottie. I bow to your superior knowledge and will do my best to procure some Luna bars. As a macho Italian I will then make sure to only eat them when no other burly he-man Italian cyclists clad in lycra and with shaved legs are around! ;-)

  6. You should try the White Chocolate Macademia in CLif or Luna. Good stuff!