Reprinted from the Examiner
In my refrigerator at home I keep a jar of Trader Joe's crunchy peanut butter, some homemade fig jam, margerine and whole-wheat bread. These items are always present, fresh and waiting to be combined into cycling food, but the overwhelming majority of the time, I set out for a ride without packing a sandwich. If I'm on a regular 25-mile ride a snack is usually unnecessary, but more than once in the past few months I have found myself out on a longer ride, post climb, feeling like the remaining miles would proceed more enjoyably if I had some grub in my pouch.
So if I can't be relied upon to prepare a sandwich before I head out, what other options remain? I've tried several energy bars, including the ubiquitous Clif Bar, but I'd frankly rather go hungry than try to force down most of the pre-packaged options on the market. Most taste artificial, stale, dry and boring, and come a radically distant second to even the most carelessly prepared PB&J.
I wasn't particularly interested, then, in trying out the Bonk Breaker bar which Mike passed to me a few weeks ago, halfway through a 40-mile ride and right before a punishing local climb. In size and shape it resembled a Clif Bar, albeit in a slightly more attractive wrapper. I took it anyway, peeled it open (with very little effort, which is important on a bike) and slipped out the neat little block of soft energy-stuff.
Out of the wrapper, Bonk Breakers look like a block of fudge, and the texture is not far off that, either. It's soft and smooth, with just enough tooth to be appealing in the mouth, but without any of the clogging character of a Clif Bar. The flavor is pretty terrific, too; I had the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, and it tasted really good. I remarked to Mike that, were it offered, I'd eat the Bonk Breaker just as a snack. It's fudgey, sweet (but not cloying), tastes fresh and natural, and is easy enough to get down during a relatively demanding bike ride. I certainly didn't want to see it again ten minutes later, halfway up a stiff climb, and the Bonk Breaker did the job of staying put. Likewise, I wasn't tasting it for hours afterwards, which probably indicates that the ingredients are natural and fresh.
The hardest test for any energy product, though, is whether it helped me complete the ride. On the one hand, I've ridden the same ride dozens of times without a snack and been just fine. On the other hand, I don't remember suffering more than usual on the climbs, or the long ride home. The Bonk Breaker clearly provided some degree of nutrition, and if that made my ride more enjoyable, I suppose it served its purpose.
Bonk Breaker bars are available locally at REI, or from the company website. They cost around $2 each, or $25 for a box of 12.