Raw Velo's unique flavoured gels and bars, which are preservative free, with no colours or flavourings offer easily digestible energy - tasty, effective and all natural, were an enjoyable trail snack that saved a ride from the dreaded bonk a few times.
The gels are made from organic fruit juices, coconut sugar and natural brown rice syrup. All very wholesome and ‘clean'. I’m not a big fan of many gels or bars and would rather eat ‘normal’ food, but I found that these gels and bars were a really good alternative, and didn't feel as junk like or sugary as others I’ve used.
Concentrating on the gel first of all, the best thing I found was I didn’t need to have water with them most of the time - they are a thinner consistency, which makes them easier to swallow. My first use was on a snowy Welsh hillside when I felt the dreaded empty legs getting close. They offer 20g of Carbohydrate in a 50g sachet. They come in the usual gel pouch most brands use, it'd be nice to make the packaging recyclable or more sustainable, but this isn't just an issue with these ones; it's universal.
There is that near instant increase in energy, which is partly a perceived thing, and I felt better for the next half hour or so, but with a slower wearing off. Hitting an empty stomach, I didn’t have any side effects initially or later on.
The gels I used where Blueberry and Hibiscus w/50mg Natural Caffeine, Blood Orange and Passionfruit and Coconut. They aren't as odd sounding as you might think - basically Blueberry, Orange and Coconut flavours. The Blueberry has a caffeine addition, which is an additional boost and I liked the extra energy kick form these, without it being too ‘rushy’.
Moving onto the bars - they contain a combination of ingredients that provide a longer-term energy release, coupled with protein which is a welcome addition for muscle repair and reduce muscle damage. They are all nice and squidgy and come in very chocolate centred flavours - Chocolate Raspberry, Chocolate Orange, Chocolate Walnut Brownie - all taste as described, with good proper flavours. Some might find the flavours too much if you don't like chocolate too much, but I’m not a chocolate fan and found them to be a good balance with the other flavours in them.
There are two others (Peanut and Peanut Butter and Jelly) which I have tasted and are very pleasant. They come wrapped in a foil packet, that is happily stashed in a bag or jersey pocket and easy to get into on the trail, with gloves.
Despite the bars being quite moist, I did need to drink with them at times, but they also taste near to eating real food - in part to do with the ingredients being dates, walnuts and so on. Obviously, they're not a choice if you have a nut allergy. They are more like a snack bar from a deli, and that makes eating them a pleasure, which often helps if you are doing really long rides and appetite is a little lazy, despite the need for food.
I found the bars to offer a good level of fuel, and provide a decent long term amount of energy - they feel like they do you good, and certainly feature a lot less unrequired elements to some other brands. This doesn't make them vastly superior, but it makes a lot of sense to put good quality in.
Essentially, the key difference in these gels and bars is the quality of the ingredients - they are easy to digest, and work effectively, and as with all gels and bars, you need to find out which works for you, and with the added points of being vegan, organic and natural offer distinct features that make them stand out from the crowd.
Price wise, they aren't overly cheap - a 20 bar box is £37.50 and 20 gels will set you back £35, with smaller sample packs available - but the level of quality in the product makes them decent value compared to similar brands.
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