Showing posts from May, 2020

Recipe – Peanut Butter and Banana Baked Oat Bars

Flapjacks are a staple of the cyclist diet. The fact that my High Energy Flapjack Recipe is one of the most viewed blog posts every month confirms that. How can you create variations of the oat based favourite though—to add greater variety and interest?

This recipe is for a different kind of oat bar—held together with banana, eggs, and coconut oil—rather than the traditional flapjack honey/syrup and butter.

I am not going to claim that it is healthier or better, but it is a great alternative. The less crumbly nature of the bars also means they are ideal for jersey pockets.

Ingredients2 medium bananas1 large egg1 cup rolled oats½ cup wholemeal flour¼ cup coconut oil¼ cup dark brown sugar1 tbsp peanut butter1 tsp vanilla essence½ tsp baking powder¼ tsp salt1 cup of your flavouring of choice: choc chips, chopped dates, raisins, etc.

MethodPreheat the oven to 180 CelsiusGrease a 6-inch square baking tin with butter or coconut oilMash the bananas in a large mixing bowl and add in the dark…

Good Reads – 'The Grand Tour Cookbook' by Hannah Grant

"They are what they eat" says Hannah Grant—at the time Head Chef for Team Tinkoff-Saxo – one of the most successful professional cycling teams on the UCI World Tour circuit.

It is a motto that I subscribe to very strongly. Food is an integral part of cycling. Food is your fuel, and your conditioning agent, as well as your recovery. Energy bars and gels can do so much, when you are on the bike; but it is what you eat the rest of the time that really makes a difference.

Cycling teams realised the importance of nutrition some time back, and that is why a number of the top teams now have Michelin level chefs working for them; their role is to ensure that the nutritional intake of the riders is absolutely optimal for their performance.

Hannah Grant is one of those top chefs, and just as the mechanics at Team Tinkoff-Saxo played an integral role in preparing the bikes for the riders each morning and evening, Hannah has a fundamental role in ensuring that the riders are correctly…

Review – BTR Deluxe Pannier Rack Top Bicycle Trunk Bag

I must admit that I was a little sceptical that a rack-top pannier trunk bag from an unknown brand could be 'Deluxe' when it retails for less than £25. However, the BTR Deluxe Waterproof Rack Pannier Bike Bag is a well designed piece of kit, and offers impressive value as a piece of luggage for cycle tourers, bicycle commuters, and bikepacking enthusiasts. Here is my review...

Most rack-top 'trunk bags' retail for at least £40, from major players such as Topeak. So, with the BTR Sports Deluxe bag coming in at £25, I was not sure it would be up to the rigours of everyday use and abuse. Yet, it has shown itself to be a strong performer.

The thing that particularly stands out with the BTR bag is the design consideration. Tiny things make a significant difference with luggage that you use every day, and this bag has some notable features that make it a smart choice for a cycling trunk bag.

First, the bag attaches to the rack using a universally compatible set of heavy-dut…

What Is in Your Gravel Adventure Jersey Pockets?

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post 'What is In Your Gravel Adventure Bar Bag?'—it had a great reception and led to another conversation in a similar vein—What to pack in your cycling jersey pockets for a long unsupported off-road endurance ride? This is my line-up of jersey pocket riding essentials for bikepacking and gravel adventures…

First, I recommend reading the 'What is In Your Gravel Adventure Bar Bag?' post before reading this one—because for me, the bar bag is the best place to store most of your essentials on an off-road adventure—as there is less chance of items flying out on bumpy trails.

So, what comes with me in my cycling jersey pockets is therefore a selection of easy-to-access essentials—ones that you might want to grab whilst riding, when you cannot stop to access your bar bag.

The Jersey — Sportful Super Giara Jersey My gravel jersey of choice is the Sportful Super Giara Jersey. This cycling jersey was designed with gravel and off-road riding in mind.…

#RideFuel Review – KIND Breakfast Bars

I am always on the lookout for new and interesting cereal bars—that can work as good #RideFuel energy bars for long bike rides and adventures. The new Breakfast Bars from KIND looked to be a super choice when I saw them arrive on the shelves of my local shops—moist, nutritious, and offering some tantalising flavours. I picked a few up to stash in my jersey pocket…

Ravenous, on a 200-kilometre gravel ride this week, I pulled out one of each of the three flavours of the KIND Breakfast Bars over the course of the ride (in addition to a local bakery stop). It served as a great taste-panel test of the #RideFuel.

The bars are made with five wholegrains: oats, millet, buckwheat, amaranth, and quinoa. Soft-baked, they are moist and flavoursome; as well as packed full of slow release carbohydrates, protein, and fibre.

There are three flavours to choose from: KIND Breakfast Peanut Butter, KIND Breakfast Blueberry Almond, and KIND Breakfast Honey Oat. The line-up has a distinct resemblance to …

Endurance Nutrition – A Cyclist's Shopping List

We all know the importance of eating right. What you eat affects your health, your mood, and your cycling performance. You Are What You Eat—so, your shopping list could be likened to your body's fuel receipt. Are you fuelling right for endurance sport and cycling adventures?

In this post I take at items that often feature on my own shopping list. The product selection is strongly influenced by insights that I have gained from nutritional experts, as well as key ingredients used in recipes from books such as Hannah Grant's 'The Grand Tour Cookbook'.

I have split the list out into different nutritional categories—to make sure all bases are covered, and hopefully give a range of options for different dietary preferences. Some ideas for your weekly shop...

ProteinEggs — egg yolks are a source of choline—important to reduce muscle fatigueWild salmon — fish is a great source of omega 3 fatty acidsFrozen plaice fillets — white fish is a source of low-fat proteinSmoked macker…

Recipe – Sprouted Spelt Pancakes

Read a cookbook such as Vélochef or The Grand Tour Cookbook, and you will see that many sports nutritionists are moving away from white flour based pasta; turning instead to traditional ancient grains such as spelt and rye. These light and fluffy spelt pancakes are a flavoursome low-GI carbohydrate energy source, as well as being rich in protein.

Ingredients (Makes 5 large pancakes) 150 grams – Spelt Flour25 grams – Icing Sugar150 ml – Milk 2 Eggs1 tsp Baking Powder1/2 tsp Cinnamon
MethodAdd all the ingredients to a bowl and whisk together until smoothCover and place in the fridge for 2-3 hoursMelt a knob of butter or coconut oil in a heavy frying pan on a medium heatSpoon in the mixture and flip the pancake halfway through cookingEnjoy!

Good Reads – Skratch Labs Feed Zone Portables Cookbook

A year or so ago, I reviewed the Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration Mix here on Life In The Saddle. I was impressed by its subtle flavour, natural ingredients, and how effective it was at warding off cramps. In the last month, I have been testing out recipes from their 'solid fuel' solution: the recipes in the Skratch Labs Feed Zone Portables Cookbook.

The Feed Zone Portables Cookbook is a collection of recipes for snacks, breakfasts, lunches, and light meals, which you could take with you on any of your outdoor adventures. From rice cakes to panini rolls, and cookies to granola—this is a collection designed for easy transportation and easy consumption.

The book is most definitely written for the American reader—with quite a few Americanisms like "grit" and "put it out for 10"; as well as using a lot of ingredients that are far cheaper in the States than they are this side of the Atlantic (such as maple syrup and blueberries). Yet, being selective about which…

7 Tips – Secrets to Improving Sleep Quality and Recovery

Sleep is the primary pillar of effective recovery—getting enough quality sleep is therefore fundamental to endurance sports performance. I have learnt the hard way what a lack of sleep can do to your health, wellbeing, and cycling success; in this post I look at seven of those lessons, and tips on how you can improve your sleep quality and recovery.

Getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night is a critical part of recovery. It is during the deep sleep period that our bodies begin to fully repair and rejuvenate themselves; readying themselves for the next effort. Key growth hormones are released when you are in undisturbed sleep—so it makes it a fundamental part of performance improvement.

1 – The Sleep RoutineThe most important ingredient in getting superior quality sleep on a regular basis, is to create a regular sleeping schedule. You often hear people say "I wake up at the same time, even when I am tired…"—this is natural—it is because our bodies like routine, and so we have a …

Recipe – Healthy Homemade Black Olive Hummus

I am a big fan of Hummus (a.k.a. Houmous). It is a great source of vitamin B6, manganese, dietary fibre and protein; as well as copper, zinc, iron, folate, and phosphorus. Made of just a few simple and natural ingredients—it can be a quick and easy lunch or snack, and it will help keep you healthy and aid recovery.

A lot of shop bought hummus uses oil or thickener to give it consistency. However, after a bit of experimentation I have found that this recipe—made in a Nutribullet—is super easy and even tastier than most.

Ingredients (2 large servings)400 gram tin organic chickpeas (in water)175 gram tin black olives (pitted) (drained)1x tbsp tahini pasteJuice of half a lemon1 clove of garlic1 tsp paprika½ tsp chilli powder½ tsp black pepper½ tsp salt

MethodDrain the water from the tin of chickpeas and place it to one side in a cup (you will need it later)In the small Nutribullet cup—add the drained chickpeas, olives, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, paprika, chilli powder, black pepper, an…

Coffee – The Life Blood of Cyclists

It seems every cyclist I know is in love with the dark aromatic drink—coffee. What is it that makes us love this bean-based beverage so much?

Is it the caffeine kick we crave to keep our legs spinning? The warming feeling when you are getting ready to brave the elements? Or is it tradition, and part of a long running café culture in our sport?

In this post, I look at the natural stimulant that makes so many of us tick. I try to find out what it is that really makes coffee as valuable as liquid gold for many two-wheeled enthusiasts.

Stimulate and MotivateWe cyclists like to see ourselves as a hardy bunch—often rising at dawn to train throughout the year or pitching up camp in wild and remote places on our bicycling tours.

Those brisk mornings are often a struggle. It can be a challenge to pluck up the willpower and strength needed to pull heavy legs from under the duvet or sleeping bag and get them turning those crank-arms.

A fresh coffee supplies a unique source of motivation. Warming…