Santa’s Little Cycling Helpers 2012

Cycling Shorts unleashes Santa’s (last minute) Little Helpers.
We’re up to our eyes in bicycle shaped packages badly wrapped and covered in sticky tape, it’s all got a bit manic, so much to get organised and so little time, so we’ve got together to give you a list of gift ideas that won’t disappoint even the fussiest cyclist in your life.

We’ve split our choices into four perfect price parcels. Let us know what you intend to give, or hope to receive.

 

Secret Santa

Under £30

Anna Magrath:
I’m going to give you a long list of favourites, a pick n’ mix if you will.
Ideas for the kids… why not go for a Crazy Stuff Helmet, choose a crocodile, cat, eagle or numerous other critters, all for under £30.
Keep your loved ones visible on the daily ride or commute and weekend roaming with this selection of road safe stocking fillers:
Daub the kids (or your own) bikes and clothing with this brilliant Glowtec Reflective Paint, a little pot goes a long way! Besides my bikes I own a KMX Trike Kart which is very low, so for extra safety part of the frame and the wheel rims are painted with this stuff, during daylight you can’t see the paint, but at night when light hits it it’s amazingly bright and a steal at £4.99 a pot. Also try the Glowtec glow in the dark paint if you’re riding in the countryside (it needs pitch black to stand out). What about a brilliant Proviz Triviz Light, this neat little gadget will attach to clothing and bikes, it has a number or light settings and to recharge you plug the battery into your USB hub on your laptop. Genius! and a snip at £29.99. howies reflective Roadsign Backpack, now available for a limited time at £25! Why not pair it with an awesome howies T-Shirt, so many designs to choose from, all classics!

Let people know you’re coming… and with a bit of panache… this Brass Striker Bell does the trick! Personalise your bike with your own Custom Head Badge for £17.00.

For the stylist female rider in your life, why not treat her to some AnaNichoola Goat Skin Kestral Cycling Gloves (fingerless mitts) they are so buttery soft on your hands, well padded and a great value buy at £34.99 (yes I know over budget a bit, but worth every penny). Available in white or black.

For the men… these Bike Chain Cufflinks should do the trick £20.

For the serious roadie… some excellent ASSOS Chamois Cream, I swear by this stuff, it’s cooling menthol feel is great and it lasts twice as long as other brands I’ve tried, it’s a bit more expensive that some others (£13.99) but I think it’s worth the money.

Something to give you your coffee stop fix, why not send some Montezuma’s Doppio Coffee Pip Sweets, get your coffee and sugar rush on the go. If you’re feeling naughty why not try some of their award winning chocolates too! Bean Machine bars and chocolate covered coffee beans. All these goodies start at £2.39 and go up to £4.99.
If only a hot coffee fix will do; then why not go for a Keep Cup, these reusable cups help keep your coffee warm between the coffee shop and the office. They come in a range of colours and sizes and will only set you back £8.50, they fit under most coffee machines to be refilled.

Lets get a bit arty… what about one of the gorgeous prints from friends of Cycling Shorts; Bruce Doscher and Andy Arthur aka Magnificent Octopus. All for around £30, what a treat!

For the collector types why not gather your own peloton, with these great die cast cyclist figures from France, made as they always have been, each is hand painted, available for around £6 each.

Jonathan Tiernan-Locke:
Rapha Winter Socks… £15
I’ve spent countless hours in the saddle with cold and numb feet… often extending up the legs until it feels like they’re made of wood. Some toasty winter socks such as these can help make that peg leg feeling a thing of the past!

Keep those feet dry and warm in a pair of Campagnolo Thermo Txn Waterproof Overshoes, these are a real favourite of mine. Slightly over budget but what the hell!

Christian Grasmann:
Because you are the revolution!….What about an – RPRT T-shirt £20

Nick Dey:
It’s book time… ‘Vélo’, £21 from those fine gentlemen and ladies at www.rouleur.cc. A series of short essays by Paul Fournel, he of ‘Need for the Bike‘ fame, beautifully illustrated throughout by Jo Burt. A book the cyclist in you life will find themselves returning to time and again. I’d bundle this with ‘Need for…’ To complete the Fournel Christmas cycling package.

David James:
Has to be a book! Not an electronic version to go on the Kindle or iPad, the real thing I mean. For anyone who hasn’t read it yet, Tyler Hamilton/Daniel Coyle’s The Secret Race has to be up there, but I think David Walsh’s Seven Deadly Sins is likely to be the top seller and the one I want to read the most (along with the rest of my family!). As a stocking filler, again for anyone who hasn’t read it, it would have to be Paul Kimmage’s Rough Ride. If you do have an iPad then for £2.99 Lanced: The Shaming of Lance Armstrong is all the old David Walsh articles from the Sunday Times about Armstrong and are well worth a look, especially for those shocked when Armstrong was finally caught out!

Lawrence Bywater:
Fantastic images by two of the best photographers in the business – a gift that keeps on giving throughout the year. Gruber Images Cycling Calendar

Hayley Davis:
This is a tough one. It’s either got to be a mix or cycling related toiletry goodies such as Hoo Ha Ride Glide for the girls, some Muc-Off Dry Shower for the commuters and some Joshua Tree Salve for the road rash we’re bound to get in the new season!

Alternatively, it’s been a topic on every cycling fanatics tongue of late, but I’ve heard some fantastic reviews on Tyler Hamilton’s book, The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France: Doping, Cover-ups, and Winning at All Costs.

Felix English:
Inside-Out Sharp Cycling Book £10

Heather Bamforth:
Giordana Skull Cap – Stops heat escaping through your head when you’re out in the cold.

Registration to the Cycling Development North West Road Race League
Be a part of one of the most successful road race leagues in the country, with over 19 road races, supported by the National Escort Group, next season – visit www.cdnw.org for more information.

Taster session at Manchester Velodrome
Fancy being the next Emma Trott or Sir Chris Hoy? Get yourself down to a taster session at the National Cycling Centre to have a go – check out: www.nationalcyclingcentre.com

Paul Harris:
There’s only one thing on my list for the Secret Santa category – after his immense year, what could possibly be better Christmas day viewing than a review of Wiggo’s Tour de France victory? You can get the 4 hour edition plus a commemorative water bottle for twenty quid from the Cycling Weekly website, which leaves ten pounds to spend on seven and a half litres of Alpro chocolate soya milk, maybe not scientifically the best recovery drink, but certainly the tastiest… Between them, they should see you safely through digesting the turkey.

Sim Parrott:
Breaking the Chain by Willy Voets RRP £8.99

Sam Jackson:
‘Rough Ride’ by Paul Kimmage RRP £8.99
Kimmage has certainly endured a rough ride both in cycling and journalism, fighting what seemed a losing battle against omerta and the powers-that-be. As cycling looks to (hopefully) be on the brink of massive change, Rough Ride serves as a reminder of a cyclist who never fulfilled his youthful potential as he was generally beaten by juiced-up riders for the entirety of his career. Very enlightening, made even more so with the addition of hindsight. Try and pick up an updated edition if possible. An absolute steal – available at well under £30. One of the best and most honest cycling books ever written.

Keelan Phillips:
A huge amount of chocolate! Energy for my riding… honest!!

Jack Holroyd:
Park Tools Pizza Cutter – £17.99 – Great for the cyclist who has everything, a small novelty item that shows thought without breaking the bank or requiring knowledge of cycling from the buyer!

100 Greatest Cycling Climbs – RRP £8.99 – A handy little book for the cyclist who fancies self-medicating their lack of willpower with extreme pain.

Marty MacDonald McCrossan:
Would have to be one of my own Wiggo Cartoon mugs or a T Shirt all the way on that one! £12.50 and £20 respectively.

Paul Sloper:
Eddy Vinyl Figure £35
Hmm secret santa now thats always a hard one…I had to go over budget by a fiver on this one http://rouleur.cc/eddy-vinyl-figure

Santa’s Little Helper

Under £100

Anna Magrath:
Maybe something for the coffee table? What about the stylish book Merckx 525. It’s a beautiful book and any true cycling fan or cyclist would be happy to receive this.

Treat your bike to some luxury this Christmas… Brooks Leather Handlebar Tape £45.

This little curiosity caught my eye, the Lightskin LED Seat Post, contained within the stem is your rear light, not sure how great it is but it looks very stylish £43.

For the cycling mad ladies you can’t go wrong with an AnaNichoola Sun Cat Jersey (£75) and matching Sun Cat Padded Cycling Shorts (£80); both are beautifully made and the shorts have a high waist unlike other brands so you won’t find your back exposed when you lean forward on your bike. The waist is really comfy too, it doesn’t dig in. Available in Black and white (I opted for one of each colour).
Another favourite of mine and great value are the dhb Women’s Vaeon Roubaix Padded Bib Tights, great for winter, they have a zip front and they are really comfortable, only £49.99.

Quality unisex items that won’t disappoint are the TwoZero Verso Hi-Vis Cyclone Cycling Jacket, available in Black or Yellow, in a range of good sizes and well made, price £54.99. For a few pounds more for a limited time is the Visijax Signalling LED Cycling Jacket, this jacket is really well made, it has a soft feel and is extremely bright, there are reflectors all over the jacket and integrated front and rear lights with indicator lights when you lift your arms. It’s a great jacket with the lights off and you’re like a neon christmas tree when the lights are switched on, no one will miss you in this thing! Limited offer prices of £58 – £78 (depending on size) from an RRP of £149. It should also be a hit with gadget lovers in your life as Stephen Fry was spotted wearing one in his latest series ‘Gadget Man’. The other unisex item is a wonderful New Zealand Soigneur Merino Wool Retro Cycling Jersey

Monkey Bike Wheel Lights… for kids and proper big kids! Turn your spokes into a party of patterns and colour. £39.99

Christian Grasmann:
RPRT fluo Helmet Sterling – Keep visible, safe and sound even in the Christmas rush on the dark icy winter nights.

Nick Dey & Felix English:
Nick says: Has to be the Rapha Merino bundle especially with their current discount. Not cheap but how can you not give socks, etc, for Christmas? £90 with 15% discount.

David James:
A really bright rear light (not sure which one) or a luminous jacket (again no preference) to show someone how much you care. You can never be too safe out on the road, so anything which makes you more visible in my mind, even though in the case of the luminous jacket you can probably see it from outer space is a fantastic gift!

Lawrence Bywater:
Channel the great Eddy Merckx on long winter rides.
Molteni Retro Long Sleeve Jersey

Hayley Davis:
Everyone consider’s their bike a piece of art, so there’s no better way than to display them in the home than with a bike shelf like this wooden beauty from Urban City Bike Shelves www.urbancitybikeshelves.com

Heather Bamforth:
Castelli Leggera Jacket – This is one of the best rain jackets that I have ever owned (and I have owned a few).

British Cycling Membership and Race Licence
For under £100 you can have £10m liability insurance and personal accident insurance if you buy the Gold membership package, together with loads of other offers plus if you purchase the racing licence for £32 if you’re over 18, you can compete in various British Cycling events! Visit www.britishcycling.org.uk for information about the racing licence.

Sam Jackson:
A nice set of pedals. E.g. Look Keo 2 Max Carbon Pedals
For the most friendly, secure and satisfyingly fantastic cleat click you could ever wish to experience, invest in some nice pedals for your bike. Money can’t buy the confidence and assurity you get from a quality pair, meaning you can keep the power down for longer without any niggling fear of pulling out of a cheaper pair. An excellent investment that will last.

Paul Harris:
For a hundred quid, you’re approaching serious territory – if it’s for someone who spends a long time on their bike, how about a gift that keeps on giving? The Brooks Swift saddle is an example of hand-crafted British finery, a piece of leather perfection that, once worn in, will be more comfortable than anything else on the market, and will last… Well, last longer than the bike you fit it to.

Keelan Phillips:
A voucher for a massage, really need it, on a bike every single day for hours can do anyones back in! …and preferably a hot young lady.

Jack Holroyd:
Foska Novelty Jerseys – £48.99 – Great jerseys worth a giggle and surprising comfortable. Comes advertising Road tax, Baked Beans, Newcastle Brown or Cornflakes amongst others.

Sim Parrott:
Tacx T3075 Cycle Motion Stand

Jonathan Tiernan-Locke: & Jack Holroyd:
Lezyne Super Drive – £99.99
What JTL says: Super bright and compact little unit, and very well made. Just leave it on the winter bike and never get caught out in the fading light again. Flashing commuter mode through to full power where it’s good enough for MTB night rides!

What Jack says: A 500 lumen light under £100? This baby is seriously bright. Whether commuting through London or climbing the Pennines after dark, this little sliver of CNC aluminium will really light up your life.

Cristi Ruhlman:
Camelbak All Clear
And finally, Camelbak has a cool new biotech offering that uses an ultra light long lasting battery with a UV light to clean and purify water from “iffy to safe”. Made for travel to some remote parts it’s great for the car or hiking or just to be on the safe side. Retailing for $100

Marty MacDonald McCrossan:
A nice expensive bottle of Montepulciano!

Paul Sloper:
Shutt Velo Rapide Active Softshell Jacket £99.00
Affordable, well made, great design and fit… what more do you look for in a jacket?

Something Under the Tree

Under £250

Anna Magrath:
For this price range I’m starting with my favourite winter jacket. I really love my Le Col Ladies B3 Winter Cycling Jacket, everything about the design is perfect in my opinion. A couple of my friends have road tested my jacket and it doesn’t seem to matter if you’re tall or short, busty or less so the design works. My favourite feature is the extra long thumbhole sleeves which my friends and I all found brilliant. There has been real attention to details on this jacket, the finishing is excellent. It looks great, feels great on, fits perfectly and is really well made. Wicks well, and keeps you snuggly warm and dry. This is going to be a favourite for years but I can’t wait to see what Le Col do for the girls next season. £234 pricey but worth it, you’ll get year worth of wear out if it.
To accompany the jacket and complete the look why not try the Le Col Unisex Padded B3 Winter Tights £159.99, same as the Jacket, beautifully made and really comfortable (speaking from a female perspective).

If Santa cares to listen I’d love a set of Elite V-Arion Parabolic Inertial Rollers (£229.99 current price), during the winter months there’s nothing better than staying toasty warm and still being able to give yourself and the bike a workout.

The other item to catch my attention was a pair of ASSOS Zegho Crystal Glasses £223.99 (normally £279.99) I’ve heard good things about them but not had a chance to try them out for myself, they have good eye coverage to protect from any unidentified flying objects that may be airborne (and if you temporarily take flight) which I like, they also have great reactive lenses at the top so going in and out of shade won’t leave you temporarily totally in the dark as the bottom third of the lens will be clear… so I’m putting them on my little list… I can but hope.

Jonathan Tiernan-Locke:
Karcher Pressure Washer… around £200
I used to dread coming back from a muddy MTB ride or wet road ride in the lanes…not anymore. What used to be a lengthy and freezing cold chore is now less than a minutes work!

Christian Grasmann:
Thule Bike Case – Let your bike travel in style and safety, just in case you can’t wait for spring.

Hayley Davis:
A GoPro HD Hero 3. These little cameras are so much fun to play with regardless of what you’re doing. I sure had a great time watching my descending videos this year!

David James, Heather, Anna & Nick Dey:
David says: I would have definitely said a Go-Pro Pro HD Camera, but the price has crept up too much, so there’s can’t be anything better than a Garmin 500 with the cadence sensor and heart rate monitor to see how your training is going, or in my case to tell me just how unfit I am!
Nick says: The Garmin Edge 500 GPS performance with heart rate and cadence. £199 (Amazon) to £229 (Wiggle) depending one where you shop. A fine little bike computer that makes for very useful analysis with Strava.com. If, like me, you get lost a lot, then the Garmin Edge 800 is the perfect bike buddy – but too pricey for this category.
Heather says – ‘A trusty favourite at Cycling Shorts Towers, this computer is small yet will still monitor your heart rate, cadence and track your trip with GPS – a brilliant buy if you are looking at building on your performance next season.’
Anna says – ‘Always popular, one of the most picked item’s on last years list, I’m picking it again. If I had the cash though I’d splash out on the Garmin Edge 800” title=”Click to buy the Garmin Edge 800″ target=”_blank”>800‘.

Lawrence Bywater:
Anything with Yak leather must be worth the money!
Rapha Grand Tour Cycling Shoes

Felix English:
Rapha Hardshell Jacket £240

Heather Bamforth:
Mavic Aksium Wheelset
Worried about trashing your carbon deep section wheels on potholes? Then invest in a paid of Mavic Aksium wheels – superb value for money and make a great spare wheelset – have a look at the following link for more information: www.bike-treks.co.uk

Association of British Cycling Coaches
So you want to improve next season but can’t afford a coach? Why not become a coach yourself through distance learning with the Association of British Cycling Coaches? Prices start at £250 and you don’t have to qualify as a coach if you don’t want – but the content of the course will be invaluable in helping you exceed your targets – check out: www.abcc.co.uk

Sim Parrott:
Tacx Galexia Roller Trainer £245

Sam Jackson:
A turbo trainer. “While away the wintry hours safe in your garage or shed, away from the perils of black ice and the dark. You get the additional benefit of working off all those mince pies, and you’ll definately notice a massive difference in your riding as the training pays off. A perfect motivation booster, if all seems lost in your bid to get fit for next year.

Paul Harris:
You’ve got to like someone to spend two hundred and fifty quid on them – if you like them that much, it would be a good plan to do something to make sure they come back to you, so why not make sure they can see their way back home after a winter training ride? The Exposure Revo is a dynamo powered light that’s available for road and off road disk hubs, so there’s no need to worry about keeping your battery charged and at 800 lumens there shouldn’t be any problems seeing where you’re going.

Keelan Phillips:
My current tv cost me about 20 quid, it’s so old school, I’d like a big tv that I can hook a laptop up to so I can watch all the latest bmx videos!

Jack Holroyd:
Tacx Booster Turbo Trainer – £231.99 – A winter trainer suitable for long term use, the Booster is a solid piece of kit for moving the bike inside in bitter conditions.

Kask Vertigo Helmet – £164.99 – As worn by Wiggo and Cav, this helmet is a serious piece of kit. It’s super lightweight, increasing the comfort from the already stonking padding. Add in it’s beautiful looks and you’ve got a winner.

Cristi Ruhlman:
Cycling clothes – Nothing makes me want to ride more than a new cycling kit
This year Interbike was showing bright NEON colors for Spring for Women at least.

Who said the 1980s were over!! But for cycling gear it makes great safety sense and fashion sense too.

Pearl Izumi has cycling and Tri-athlete wear in blue, black, white with neon green accents. From $80 to $150. Giro was showing some Empire cycling shoes in everything from the traditional black with bright GIRO pink inners, naming and laces with matching soles to some really glow in the dark neon green show and traffic stoppers. Retailing for $299.
And Giro also has a line of nice open helmets in blues and silver to protect and add extra styling to the outfit. Retailing from $40 to $275.

Paul Sloper:
Genesis LED Light from £195
New front light. I’d love to have the more expensive one but that’s over budget so it’s this baby.

Marty MacDonald McCrossan:
Having had Yanto in the commentary box with me a fair few times over the years I would have to go with one of his Arcus Winter Jackets methinks!

Santa Baby

Dream gift… The sky’s the limit!

Anna Magrath:
Well obviously if a budget is no option I could go on forever, but for me I’d be happy with a WSD [Women Specific Design] Trek Madone 7, being a short girl these bikes really work for me…. Oh and maybe a set of custom made V-Sprint Wheels… yes please!

Ok… I hear you, coffee does feature quite heavily on this list… but we like a good espresso here at Cycling Shorts, so we would really love a top notch machine to help us though the day.

For the cycling gent who has everything… a Dashing Tweed Reflective Stretch Tweed Cycling Jacket, this design is cutting edge even though it takes inspiration from 16th century equine armour. The underarms are open for ventilation and the classic tweed is woven with wool mixed with modern reflective fibres. It’s yours for £850!

If I was truly dreaming then a I’d like a Pro Women’s Cycling Shorts Cycling Team!… you never know… it could happen!

Jonathan Tiernan-Locke:
2013 Cyclo-cross World Championships, Louisville USA: Weekend VIP tickets, Flights & accommodation… approx £1000 (other ticket packages are available).
This is something I’d love to go to; the atmosphere at ‘cross races is incredible and I’m sure the US won’t disappoint. An awesome weekend of racing, with foghorns, chips and beer!

Christian Grasmann:
Fuji Altamira SL – It fits perfectly into the Thule Bike Case and takes the ride to at new level.

Nick Dey:
Four offerings here. Firstly in terms of equipment it simply has to be a custom build Serotta Ottrott SE. The frameset comes in at £6,499. It’s a journey!

But what about an experience you will never forget? My choice would be Flanders Week with Nico and his fantastic team at www.go4cycling.com. It’s as close to pro riding as many of us will ever get. Ride the Ronde van Vlaanderen, Paris-Roubaix, and several classic routes under the watchful eye of the Lion of Flanders, Johann Museeuw; fully supported as only the pro’s know how. Follow the pro-races at several points as the Go4cycling team play ‘Belgium hopscotch’ across Flanders for the Ronde, the midweek Scheldeprijs and Paris Roubaix. Keep up with the race via a satellite feed in the ultra-comfy bus. But best of all, don the VIP pass, enter the service course and watch the teams prepare, chat to the riders, the DS’s, the mechanics and support staff. Fully embrace the the flavours, sounds, and energy of an elite Race. A week never to be forgotten. Genuinely classic.

Charity fundraising £500: why not sign up your loved one for one of the splendid Action Medical Research century rides? The ‘must ride’ UK event of 2013 is the Ride London Olympic route sportive on 4th August. Relive the glorious memories… Cav’s heartbreak, team GB’s chase, and, if you really need to, Vino’s success!

Charity fundraising £1500: ride from London to Paris with a hundred plus other like minded souls and be there when the centenary Tour de France finishes, and Cav wins, on the Champs Élysées. When: 17th to 21st July 2013.

David James
I’m sure it would be very easy to list endless number of presents in this section, but whenever I’m in a position to spend a decent amount of money I try to give that extra bit of thought and apply Epicurus’s philosophy and say to myself “Would it really make me happy?”. So is it the latest carbon 29er hardtail MTB that first springs to mind the one that would make me really happy? After some deliberation it is a resounding, no. Just riding a bike should bring happiness, not the type of bike you are riding. So on those lines, I think if money was no object I’d love to be able to go to a remote community somewhere in the world, with a lorry full of bikes for people who may have never ridden one before. I reckon they would have so much fun the look on their faces would be worth far more than anything money can ever buy! I’m not sure everyone would want this as a present, but it certainly ticks all the boxes with me.

Lawrence Bywater:
Twice in one stage can’t be missed. Hopefully to see Chris Froome outsprint Contador to the line.

Hayley Davis:
I absolutely love love love the TDF 2010 paintings by Sarah Halliday and can imagine they’d look fantastic in every one of our ‘training rooms’. And at Price On Demand, I can imagine they’re pretty pricey!

And if art isn’t your thing – a week (or 3) cycling in the pre-alps with VeloVercors.com ;)

Felix English:
Condor Lotus Type 1 LC Road bike £5,200

Heather Bamforth:
Jaguar XF Sportbrake
For the ultimate team car, this is on the wish list – if it is good enough for Team Sky, surely it should be good enough for your team or club? Check it out at: www.jaguar.com

Sim Parrott:
A Parrotti Roubaix full carbon frameset fitted with Pete Mathews custom wheel set and Campag Superrecord EPS

Sam Jackson:
An Unlimited Budget?! Go hard or go home. Buy a cycling team. Or better still, several. Perhaps you could invest in women’s cycling, or sponsor an amateur team? If the sky’s the limit you would even some money left over to buy the £8,000 bike you’ve always dreamt of. How about the Cervelo P5 Time Trial bike? Buy one of those and watch your 10 mile time trial PB plummet by probably about ten minutes! Stealthy.

Paul Harris:
The clue’s in the question – if money was no object and Sky was the limit, you couldn’t get much more extravagant than purchasing a celebratory Pinarello Dogma 2 in glorious TdF yellow. You probably don’t deserve it, you probably couldn’t get anywhere near pushing it to its extraordinary limits, and you’d had to have been very, very good indeed for Santa to leave one of these under the tree – but you know you want one. And even if modesty forbade you taking it out in public, wouldn’t it look great hung on the living room wall…

Keelan Phillips:
My perfect gift would be for my very own indoor BMX flatland area for me to ride in, with a heater, a fridge, sound system, even a disco ball… and also a new VW Transporter for me to cruise around in to get to my venue with my bikes in the back…. and then a nightclub to put a BMX night on once a month where they only play the music I want and the dancefloor is for BMX riding!… and then maybe a chicken shop to deliver to me wherever I am (I love chicken), all kinds of chicken, jerk chicken, fried chicken, chicken curry etc; all this riding makes me hungry ya know!… Oh and a decent mountian bike so I can ride at Cannock Chase!…. and also a tandem so I can have fun jumping stuff and trying tricks with another rider…. hope that’s ok Santa… I hope I’m on your good boy list.

Jack Holroyd:
Brompton M3L – £870 – The Brompton is the iconic british bicycle. Small, convienient and sturdy, this thing turns heads and folds into a couple of square foot for easy carrying. It’s ideal for commuters, for regular city riders or anyone with limited storage space. A definate winner.

Cristi Ruhlman:
BIKND Inflatable Bike Case
This is THE inflatable bike case. Made in Quebec, Canada by biknd. Really cool, easy to use, innovative and so fast to get the bike ready for those short or long destination cycling trips. Priced at $599 it’s about half the price of the industry standard Sci-Con case (but takes half the time to put the bike in or out!) I was totally impressed with it. It’s #1 on my wish list.

Marty MacDonald McCrossan:
Euskatel Team Bus – To me would look great to rock up at the local 10 or Wednesday night World Championship of Criteriums and you’ll be helping to feed the families of the team as well as they have €1million shortfall to pay the wages
this month……I think I would have a jacuzzi fitted as well though!

Paul Sloper:
Bianchi’s 2013 Vacansoleil-DCM Team Bike
A 55cm frame weighs a claimed 895g… yes please!

Let us know your cycling gift ideas.
All the Cycling Shorts Team wish you a happy, healthy and safe Christmas and New Year!
 
 
If you don’t see anything that fits the bill, check out last years list by clicking here!

CLIF Bar Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We got our hands on a selection of Cliff Bars to review for you and Sim and Heather took on the taste and energy test.
 

Heather’s Opinion:
I had my first taste of CLIF Bars whilst taking part in the Deloitte Ride Across Britain last year – the chocolate chip version kept me going from John O’Groats all the way to Glasgow, so when I was asked to review CLIF bars for CyclingShorts, I thought why not?

So, a large selection of CLIF Bars in all different flavours made their way through my door – There was the chocolate chip version which I had tried before, then Crunchy Peanut Butter flavour, followed by Oatmeal Raisin Walnut, then Chocolate Almond Fudge, with White Chocolate Macadamia Nut bringing up the rear.

I must say that some of them sounded slightly exotic and I wasn’t convinced that I would like them, but I tried them all anyway (it’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it!)…

So, what did I think? Well, some of the flavours and the texture of the bars are better than others. For example, whilst the Oatmeal Raisin Walnut version may appeal to some due to the lower calorific content than the others, I found that unfortunately it was a bit disappointing – too dry to have on its own, especially trying to eat it going uphill. However, I was pleasantly surprised that the most exotic-sounding one (in my humble opinion), the White Chocolate Macadamia Nut was in actual fact the best of the bunch, mainly due to the addition of white chocolate pieces compensating for the dry nature of the bars in general. However, the Crunchy Peanut Butter flavour came a close second, as CLIF have worked hard to make that bar more chewy and therefore slightly more moist.

The Chocolate Almond Fudge was a bit disappointing too – I thought that it would be the CLIF Bar version of Bakewell Tart but it just seemed difficult to eat, as did the Chocolate Chip version. The bars really fill a hole and contain on average 245 kcals per bar and provide plenty of slow release energy from the seeds and grains used.

CLIF pride themselves on using wholesome and nutritious ingredients and having no trans fats, hydrogenated fats or high fructose corn syrup. It should be noted though that under UK regulations CLIF Bar cannot state that the bars are organic or contain no transfats.

The wrappers are foil and although this keeps the contents fresh, it can hurt your teeth trying to rip it open (I can’t ride in a group of people non-handed so I have to use my teeth – but don’t tell my dentist!) however if you want weight for your £1, these are definitely substantial bars – you can feel the heft when you pick one up!

So, for marks out of 100, overall I would probably give the CLIF bar range 70% (good start, but some improvements needed) although I would give the White Chocolate Macadamia version 85%.

 
 

Sim’s Opinion:
I confess to being rather skeptical about using Cliff Bars as I have had mixed experiences using energy or nutrition bars when riding, to the point that I have reverted to using trusty old jam and bread on most rides. My experience is that some are gooey and sticky, others sickly and worse still some that encouraged the production of some rather unpleasant gases, which was not good in the bunkhouse when all ten of us had been using the same product with the same effect! So needless to say I was a tad apprehensive when I was among a group of friends taking part in the Manchester 100 who would be testing a range of Cliff Bars. Fortunately we would not all be staying in the same room at the end of the day!

On the day we had four different flavours, Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Almond fudge, White Chocolate Macadamia Nut and Oatmeal Raisin Walnut, to test and we split them across the group of Team Parrotti riders. My son plumped for the Chocolate Chip and I tried the White Chocolate Macadamia Nut.

Out on the road we were particularly impressed with the ease of opening the packaging and the fact that the bar stayed intact allowing us to nibble on the bar and keep popping it back into our back pockets without making a mess. Which is great if you want to use them for a little pick up as you are riding.

The consistency of the bars is moist but not too gooey and this works really well when riding allowing you to take small bites without the bar falling apart. However you do need a sweet tooth as the bars are very very sweet but then that is not surprising considering nearly a third of the bar is sugar (between 21g – 23g for a 68g bar). This was the general experience of all Team Parrotti riders who tested the bars during our day out at the Manchester 100. We all agreed that the bars are worth carrying as a back up source of energy but we all felt that they are a little too sweet to use as a regular nutrition.

Of the flavours tested the clear favourite was Chocolate Chip with White Chocolate Macadamia Nut a close second. The least favourite was Chocolate Almond fudge which was incredible sweet and rather sickly.

The bottom line has to be ‘would we use Cliff Bars again?’ and the answer is a resounding yes. They provide a good energy boost that be easily nibbled on when needed and they are really easy to digest with no adverse effects (if you know what I mean!).

To learn more about CLIF Bars and their extensive range of products visit their website: www.clifbar.co.uk

Cycling Shorts overall rating for the Cliff Bar Range:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Review: +Nuun – Electrolyte enhanced drinks tabs

With the recent BBC Panorama documentary in mind about the research that underpins sales and marketing of sports drinks in the UK, I have become some what sceptical about the claims made by manufacturers relating to the performance enhancement that the general population of active sports people and in our case active cyclists can gain from the use of sports drinks and nutrition products.

For those who did not see the programme, in a nutshell, the BBC had linked up with a group of researchers at Oxford University who wanted to test the validity of the research and data that is currently being used to sell Lucozade Sport and Powerade.

As we may know all research findings are based on statistical analysis and we all know about statistics, ‘there are lies, damn lies and statistics’! I should know I used to use research findings and materials data to sell a specific engineering product. In the past making claims that our product out performed the competition. Well it did in certain areas but not always the one the customer wanted to use it in, but who was I to enlighten them to that fact!

The outcome of the team at Oxford appeared to suggest that sports drinks offer no significant advantage to the average population vs drinking water. In fact they went even further and suggested the the ingestion of 23 grammes of sugar per 500ml of fluid could be detrimental to the target audience, children!

But perhaps this is where Nuun is different as the name might suggest it has nuun of the ‘nasty’ calories found in sugar, although this does mean the drink does not provide an energy source but then it is does not claim to do this.

So what does the American manufacturer actually claim? Well here is their promotional information on the company website:-

Nuun branded products’ formulation is based on years of research and feedback from some of the world’s top academic and practicing experts in the field of sports medicine—specifically in dehydration and hyponatremia. Nuun’s development is focused on the three most important aspects of proper hydration:
 
SPEED OF ABSORPTION
One of the most important characteristics of what you drink while you’re active is the speed at which your body can absorb it. The concentration of dissolved salts and sugars (osmolarity, for those more technically inclined) determines how fast the drink can cross from your digestive track into your bloodstream, where it can re-hydrate and replenish you. Nuun branded products produce a hypotonic solution, so your body absorbs Nuun faster than the leading “sports drinks” or even water alone. This gives your body the ability to restore optimal water and electrolyte balance quickly and efficiently.
 
ELECTROLYTE CONTENT
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that people who are active for more than one hour get 500–700mg of sodium for every liter of water they consume. This is up to three times the sodium amount that traditional “sports drinks” provide. Some experts in the field believe that sodium concentrations should be closer to the 700–1000mg range. In addition to other critical electrolytes, Nuun Active Hydration provides 700mg of sodium for every liter of drink to ensure that you are adequately replenishing your body to help you perform at your best and stay healthy. U Natural Hydration is an all-natural line of electrolyte and vitamin-enhanced drink tablets with half the sodium as Nuun Active Hydration. U Natural Hydration is sweetened with stevia and contains only 7 calories per tab. It is ideal for less intense activities, a perfect way to stay balanced and quenched.
 
CARBOHYDRATE CONTENT
Nuun branded products contain virtually no carbohydrates (less than 1g) for a couple of reasons. Ingesting drinks containing high levels of carbohydrates can slow the rate at which your stomach empties, delaying the absorbance of the water and electrolytes. Carbs also increase the osmolality of what you’re drinking, delaying absorption beyond the stomach.
If you’re participating in intense exercises lasting more than 60 to 90 minutes, you should consume carbohydrates to ensure energy levels for working muscles. But how you do that is up to you. Everyone manages energy consumption differently, whether it’s with sports bars, gel or other sources of calories and carbohydrates.

Other then the reference to the American College of Sports Medicine no specific references appear to be easily found on the company website. The marketing blurb continues with:-

WHY IS HYDRATION IMPORTANT?
Hydration is important for your overall health, regardless of your daily activity level. A large percentage of your body is made up of water, and proper hydration means ensuring that your body maintains that level of water, as we are constantly losing water. Water helps your body regulate temperature, transport nutrients to organs and tissues, transport oxygen to cells, remove waste, and protect your joins and organs.
Hydration, however, is more than just drinking water. Proper hydration is essential for concentration and attention to detail, whether you’re running a marathon, or a marathon of errands. Even a small decline in dehydration levels can result in a decrease of mental and physical performance.

HOW CAN I STAY HYDRATED WITHOUT THE UNNECESSARY SUGARS?
Nuun is hydration, without the sugar – a refreshing alternative to many of the options in the beverage market today. On average, Americans consume 130 pounds of sugar per person, per year. Sugar has been directly related to heart disease, metabolic syndrome and diabetes.
Beverages containing large amounts of sugar can accelerate the dehydration process. Sugar requires water from the body in order to be digested, leaving less water to properly fuel muscle and brain function. With zero sugars and only 8 calories in each 16oz. bottle, Nuun is a smart choice for hydration.

All very interesting, but wait what is this about sugar causing dehydration, this a new one to me. I always thought that the key to rehydration was to drink water with the addition of salt and sugar. Well that is certainly what I remember being told would save lives in third world countries, if only they could have clean water, salt and sugar!
But wait please remember that this product was developed for the American market and the key words to pick up on are:-

On average, Americans consume 130 pounds of sugar per person, per year. Sugar has been directly related to heart disease, metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

A quick internet search revealed via the Livestrong website that sugar can dehydrate you if you get very high levels in you blood, this can happen if you are, guess what, yes you guessed it Diabetic! (Read more: www.livestrong.com)
So with all this in mind and one over riding memory of the Panorama programme, Graeme Obree describing his feed and hydration regime for his hour records, water and jam butties!

 

So down to the testing; how does Nuun perform out on the road?

The first thing to comment on is the Nuun bottle that came with the test product, it is very good, and continues to be a favourite of mine after two weeks of daily rides. It has an easy to use soft mouth piece, wide mouth to allow for easy cleaning and is made of a soft plastic that allows easy squeeze to get a good squirt of hydration product.
The test arena for the hydration tabs is the sunny Vendee (Atlantic Coast France) and the region that is one of the key sponsors of the Europcar Team. Testing has been conducted on medium paced rides of over 60 minutes in temperature approaching and in excess of 30oC! Prime weather for dehydration and salt imbalance, the type of weather that can easily promote post ride cramp.
The three flavours on test were, Strawberry, Lemon and Lime and the main sample of Grape. Nuun recommended dosage is one tab per 500ml bottle, but being a tight Yorkshireman, I typically only use one tab (habit was developed using High 5 Zero) so my initial test rides are all based on a single tab.
The tabs are incredibly easy to use, drop one into the bottle and add water. Step back and watch them fizz away to their hearts content. With a little agitation they dissolve very quickly, so much easier then a powder mix and no mess. The tab format also means that will be easy to carry on a long ride and mix on route. Nice. This as far as I am concerned is an absolutely major benefit to using tabs vs powders. They are really easy to transport anywhere in the world and better still take up less cupboard space, this means less hassle from the one who is to be obeyed (aka the wife)!

Ride 1 Strawberry.
72 mins early morning start 7.30am temperature 22oC and climbing.
Initial reaction was that the flavour would probably be the bottom of my list, a little insipid to say the least but I would never normally drink anything strawberry flavoured so a little harsh maybe and especially as I am using a half dose.
The product seemed to work during and post ride and I would certainly say that it was more palatable then plain water.

Ride 2 Lemon and Lime.
78 mins fast paced afternoon ride 4pm temperature 32oC
This was a much better flavour for my taste even at half strength a very smooth taste and no after taste of bicarb (can sometimes get this with other tab products) over all quite impressed. No issues with cramp during the ride.

Further rides using Grape
A range of easy and hard rides across similar temperatures to the first two tests.
At half strength the grape did not taste very strong so I took the plunge and used the recommended one tabs per 500ml. Bingo! the taste was great and more importantly no cramp during or post rides. The biggest benefit for me, from past experience, is the fluids were good to drink even when the bottle temperature had risen during the ride. I normally find it unpleasant to drink warm water mid to end of a long warm ride. Adding Nuun changes this and the tepid fluid stays pleasant to drink and actually encourage you to maintain fluid balance.

So much for the use now for the science behind the product or at least the labeling and list of ingredients. Now be honest after all the hype, advertising and endorsements listed for the product you use how many of you actually read the ingredients and find out what they do or are used for? I confess I have never done so, but in view of the TV documentary I thought it might be enlightening!

 

On each packet is found the following:-
Nuun turns water into a refreshing sports hydration drink (hmm this smacks of the Apprentice style sales pitch!!)
According to the label Nuun are electrolyte enhanced drinks tabs with zero sugar and only 8 calories per tab.
The full nutrition data is listed for a tab in 240ml as:-
Fat 0g

Sodium 173mg (2%)

Potassium 50mg (1%)

Total Carbs <1g
Sugar 0g
Vitamin C 19mg (31%)
Riboflavin 250mg (15%)
Calcium 6.5mg (1%)
Magnesium 12.5mg (3%)

 (percentages based on a 2000 calorie diet)


Ingredients: citric acid, sorbitol, sodium bicarbonate, sodium carbonate, sodium benzonate, natural flavours, polyethylene glycol, magnesium oxide, sodium acetate, ascorbic acid, acesulfame potassium, calcium carbonate, natural colour, riboflavin 5-phosphate.

Hmm that all sounds very tasty, if not a little industrial!

A couple of the ingredients leapt out at me immediately:
Sorbitol is that not a laxative? I seem to remember in my childhood falling foul of eating too many sorbitol mints, hmm not a pleasant memory.
Sodium Bicarbonate (baking soda), is this not the active ingredient in popular Plink Plink fizz pick me up and headache tablet? I remember a science experiment at school where our teacher demonstrated that over 50% of the Alka Salksa was actually Bicarb and was only added to give the good old fizz for branding!
Sodium Benzonate, is that not related to benzene and is that not found in petrol and is it a cancer causing chemical?
Well that is what got me thinking about what all these chemical actually are and you can find out too my reading the ingredients appendix. (data sourced from Wikipedia so reader beware).

 

Back to the product itself and the burning question Does it work? and would I buy it?

Does it work? yes it does create a very palatable hydration drink with the benefit of no added sugar. Does it keep cramp at bay and provide good salt balance. Used at full strength Nuun works very well and does what it says on the Tin (or plastic tube in Nuun’s case) Would I buy it? Yes. It really does turn water into a great flavoured hydration drink. I would recommend you try Nuun for yourself, you might just find you like it and that it suits your needs well.
 

Tablets RRP: £6.00 for a pack of 12 Tablets.
Nuun Bottle RRP:£4.00
Flavours: Banana, Tropical, Lemon Tea, Citrus Fruit, Fruit Punch, Strawberry Lemonade, Kona Kola, Orange, Grape & Tri-Berry.
 

Enter our competition to win nuun goodies by clicking here!

To find out more about nuun and their products visit their website by clicking here.

 

 

 

Ingredients appendix

Citric acid is a weak organic acid. It is a natural preservative/conservative and is also used to add an acidic, or sour, taste to foods and soft drinks. In biochemistry, the conjugate base of citric acid, citrate, is important as an intermediate in the citric acid cycle, and therefore occurs in the metabolism of virtually all living things. Citric acid is a commodity chemical, and more than a million tonnes are produced every year by fermentation. It is used mainly as an acidifier, as a flavoring, and as a chelating agent.

Sorbitol, also known as glucitol, is a sugar alcohol, which the human body metabolizes slowly. It can be obtained by reduction of glucose, changing the aldehyde group to a hydroxyl group. Sorbitol is found in apples, pears, peaches, and prunes. It is synthesized by sorbitol-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, and converted to fructose by succinate dehydrogenase and sorbitol dehydrogenase. Succinate dehydrogenase is an enzyme complex that participates in the citric acid cycle.
Sweetener
Sorbitol is a sugar substitute. It may be listed under the inactive ingredients listed for some foods and products. Sorbitol is referred to as a nutritive sweetener because it provides dietary energy: 2.6 kilocalories (11 kilojoules) per gram versus the average 4 kilocalories (17 kilojoules) for carbohydrates. It is often used in diet foods (including diet drinks and ice cream), mints, cough syrups, and sugar-free chewing gum.[citation needed]
It also occurs naturally in many stone fruits and berries from trees of the genus Sorbus.

Laxative
Sorbitol can be used as a non-stimulant laxative via an oral suspension or enema. As with other sugar alcohols, gastrointestinal distress may result when food products that contain sorbitol are consumed. Sorbitol exerts its laxative effect by drawing water into the large intestine, thereby stimulating bowel movements. Sorbitol has been determined safe for use by the elderly, although it is not recommended without consultation with a clinician. Sorbitol is found in some dried fruits and may contribute to the laxative effects of prunes.

Sodium bicarbonate
Sodium bicarbonate or sodium hydrogen carbonate is the chemical compound with the formula NaHCO3. Sodium bicarbonate is a white solid that is crystalline but often appears as a fine powder. It has a slightly salty, alkaline taste resembling that of washing soda (sodium carbonate). The natural mineral form is nahcolite. It is a component of the mineral natron and is found dissolved in many mineral springs.
Since it has long been known and is widely used, the salt has many related names such as baking soda, bread soda, cooking soda, and bicarbonate of soda. In colloquial usage, its name is shortened to sodium bicarb, bicarb soda, or simply bicarb. The word saleratus, from Latin sal æratus meaning aerated salt, was widely used in the 19th century for both sodium bicarbonate and potassium bicarbonate. The term has now fallen out of common usage.
Baking soda in sports
Small amounts of sodium bicarbonate have been shown to be useful as a supplement for athletes in speed-based events, like middle distance running, lasting from about one to seven minutes. But overdose is a serious risk because sodium bicarbonate is slightly toxic and in particular gastrointestinal irritation is of concern. Additionally this practice causes a significant increase in dietary sodium.

Sodium carbonate (also known as washing soda or soda ash), Na2CO3 is a sodium salt of carbonic acid. It most commonly occurs as a crystalline heptahydrate, which readily effloresces to form a white powder, the monohydrate. Sodium carbonate is domestically well known for its everyday use as a water softener. It can be extracted from the ashes of many plants. It is synthetically produced in large quantities from salt (sodium chloride) and limestone in a process known as the Solvay process.

Sodium carbonate is also used in the production of sherbet powder. The cooling and fizzing sensation results from the endothermic reaction between sodium carbonate and a weak acid, commonly citric acid, releasing carbon dioxide gas, which occurs when the sherbet is moistened by saliva.
Sodium benzoate has the chemical formula NaC6H5CO2; it is a widely used food preservative, with E number E211. It is the sodium salt of benzoic acid and exists in this form when dissolved in water. It can be produced by reacting sodium hydroxide with benzoic acid

Sodium benzoate is a preservative. It is bacteriostatic and fungistatic under acidic conditions. It is most widely used in acidic foods such as salad dressings (vinegar), carbonated drinks (carbonic acid), jams and fruit juices (citric acid), pickles (vinegar), and condiments. It is also used as a preservative in medicines and cosmetics. As a food additive, sodium benzoate has the E number E211.

It is also used in fireworks as a fuel in whistle mix, a powder that emits a whistling noise when compressed into a tube and ignited. The fuel is also one of the fastest burning rocket fuels and provides a lot of thrust and smoke. It does have its downsides: there is a high danger of explosion when the fuel is sharply compressed because of the fuel’s sensitivity to impact.
Sodium benzoate is produced by the neutralization of benzoic acid with sodium hydroxide. Benzoic acid is detectable at low levels in cranberries, prunes, greengage plums, cinnamon, ripe cloves, and apples. Though benzoic acid is a more effective preservative, sodium benzoate is more commonly used as a food additive because benzoic acid does not dissolve well in water. Concentration as a preservative is limited by the FDA in the U.S. to 0.1% by weight. The International Programme on Chemical Safety found no adverse effects in humans at doses of 647–825 mg/kg of body weight per day.
Cats have a significantly lower tolerance against benzoic acid and its salts than rats and mice. Sodium benzoate is, however, allowed as an animal food additive at up to 0.1%, according to AFCO‘s official publication.
Safety and health
Main article: Benzene in soft drinks
In combination with ascorbic acid (vitamin C, E300), sodium benzoate and potassium benzoate form benzene, a known carcinogen. However, in most beverages that contain both, the benzene levels are below those considered dangerous for consumption. Heat, light and shelf life can affect the rate at which benzene is formed.
Professor Peter W. Piper of the University of Sheffield claims that sodium benzoate by itself can damage and inactivate vital parts of DNA in a cell’s mitochondria. Mitochondria consume oxygen to generate ATP, the body’s energy currency. If they are damaged due to disease, the cell malfunctions and may enter apoptosis.[citation needed]

Polyethylene glycol (PEG) is a polyether compound with many applications from industrial manufacturing to medicine. The structure of PEG is (note the repeated element in parentheses):
HO-CH2-(CH2-O-CH2-)n-CH2-OH
PEG is also known as polyethylene oxide (PEO) or polyoxyethylene (POE), depending on its molecular weight, and under the tradename Carbowax.

Biological uses

  • PEG is commonly used as a precipitant for plasmid DNA isolation and protein crystallisation. X-ray diffraction of protein crystals can reveal the atomic structure of proteins.
  • Polymer segments derived from PEG polyols impart flexibility to polyurethanes for applications such as elastomeric fibres (spandex) and foam cushions.
  • In microbiology, PEG precipitation is used to concentrate viruses. PEG is also used to induce complete fusion (mixing of both inner and outer leaflets) in liposomes reconstituted in vitro.
  • Gene therapy vectors (such as viruses) can be PEG-coated to shield them from inactivation by the immune system and to de-target them from organs where they may build up and have a toxic effect. The size of the PEG polymer has been shown to be important, with large polymers achieving the best immune protection.
  • PEG is a component of stable nucleic acid lipid particles (SNALPs) used to package siRNA for use in vivo.
  • In blood banking, PEG is used as a potentiator to enhance detection of antigens or antibodies.
  • When working with phenol in a laboratory situation, PEG 300 can be used on phenol skin burns to deactivate any residual phenol.

Commercial uses

  • It is the basis of many skin creams, as cetomacrogol, and sexual lubricants, frequently combined with glycerin.
  • PEG is used in a number of toothpastes as a dispersant; it binds water and helps keep xanthan gum uniformly distributed throughout the toothpaste. It is also under investigation for use in body armour and tattoos to monitor diabetes.
  • Low-molecular-weight (PEG 400) is used in Hewlett-Packard designjet printers as an ink solvent and lubricant for the print heads.
  • PEG is also one of the main ingredients in paintball fill because it is thick and flexible. However, as early as 2006, some Paintball manufacturers have been substituting cheaper alternatives for PEG.[citation needed]
  • PEG is a major ingredient in e-liquid, used in e-cigarettes. It is generally used as a 30%-50% proportion of the liquid that is vaporized. Its use is designed to give a smoother effect to the vaping action.[citation needed]
  • PEG is also as a food additive used as an anti-foaming agent; its INS number is 1521 or E1521 in the EU.

Magnesium oxide (MgO), or magnesia, is a white hygroscopic solid mineral that occurs naturally as periclase and is a source of magnesium (see also oxide). It has an empirical formula of MgO and consists of a lattice of Mg2+ ions and O2− ions held together by ionic bonds. Magnesium hydroxide forms in the presence of water (MgO + H2O → Mg(OH)2), but it can be reversed by heating it to separate moisture.
Magnesium oxide was historically known as magnesia alba (literally, the white mineral from Magnesia), to differentiate it from magnesia negra, a black mineral containing what is now known as manganese.

Medical
In medicine, magnesium oxide is used for relief of heartburn and sore stomach, as an antacid, magnesium supplement, and as a short-term laxative. It is also used to improve symptoms of indigestion. Side effects of magnesium oxide may include nausea and cramping. In quantities sufficient to obtain a laxative effect, side effects of long-term use include enteroliths resulting in bowel obstruction.

Sodium acetate, CH3COONa, also abbreviated NaOAc, also sodium ethanoate, is the sodium salt of acetic acid. This colourless salt has a wide range of uses.

Sodium acetate may be added to foods as a seasoning. It may be used in the form of sodium diacetate — a 1:1 complex of sodium acetate and acetic acid, given the E-number E262. A frequent use of this form is in salt and vinegar chips in the United States. Many US brands, including national manufacturer Frito-Lay, sell “salt and vinegar flavoured” chips that use this chemical, with lactose and smaller percentages of other chemicals, in lieu of a real salt and vinegar preparation.

Ascorbic acid is a naturally occurring organic compound with antioxidant properties. It is a white solid, but impure samples can appear yellowish. It dissolves well in water to give mildly acidic solutions. Ascorbic acid is one form (“vitamer“) of vitamin C. It was originally called L-hexuronic acid, but when it was found to have vitamin C activity in animals (“vitamin C” being defined as a vitamin activity, not then a specific substance), the suggestion was made to rename L-hexuronic acid. The new name for L-hexuronic acid is derived from a- (meaning “no”) and scorbutus (scurvy), the disease caused by a deficiency of vitamin C. Because it is derived from glucose, many animals are able to produce it, but humans require it as part of their nutrition. Other vertebrates lacking the ability to produce ascorbic acid include other primates, guinea pigs, teleost fishes, bats, and birds, all of which require it as a dietary micronutrient (that is, a vitamin).
Chemically, there exists a D-ascorbic acid which does not occur in nature. It may be synthesized artificially. It has identical antioxidant properties to L-ascorbic acid, yet has far less vitamin C activity (although not quite zero). This fact is taken as evidence that the antioxidant properties of ascorbic acid are only a small part of its effective vitamin activity. Specifically, L-ascorbate is known to participate in many specific enzyme reactions which require the correct epimer (L-ascorbate and not D-ascorbate).

Food chemistry
Ascorbic acid and its sodium, potassium, and calcium salts are commonly used as antioxidantfood additives. These compounds are water-soluble and thus cannot protect fats from oxidation: For this purpose, the fat-solubleesters of ascorbic acid with long-chain fatty acids (ascorbyl palmitate or ascorbyl stearate) can be used as food antioxidants. Eighty percent of the world’s supply of ascorbic acid is produced in China.
The relevant European food additive E numbers are

It creates volatile compounds when mixed with glucose and amino acids in 90 Celsius.
It is a cofactor in tyrosineoxidation.

Acesulfame potassium (ay-see-SUHL-faym) is a calorie-free artificial sweetener, also known as Acesulfame K or Ace K (K being the symbol for potassium), and marketed under the trade names Sunett and Sweet One. In the European Union, it is known under the E number (additive code) E950. It was discovered accidentally in 1967 by German chemist Karl Clauss at Hoechst AG (now Nutrinova). In chemical structure, acesulfame potassium is the potassium salt of 6-methyl-1,2,3-oxathiazine-4(3H)-one 2,2-dioxide. It is a white crystalline powder with molecular formula C4H4KNO4S and a molecular weight of 201.24 g/mol.

Acesulfame K is 200 times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar), as sweet as aspartame, about 2/3 as sweet as saccharin, and 1/3 as sweet as sucralose. Like saccharin, it has a slightly bitter aftertaste, especially at high concentrations. Kraft Foods has patented the use of sodium ferulate to mask acesulfame’s aftertaste. Acesulfame K is often blended with other sweeteners (usually sucralose or aspartame). These blends are reputed to give a more sugar-like taste whereby each sweetener masks the other’s aftertaste, and/or exhibits a synergistic effect by which the blend is sweeter than its components.
Unlike aspartame, acesulfame K is stable under heat, even under moderately acidic or basic conditions, allowing it to be used in baking, or in products that require a long shelf life. In carbonated drinks, it is almost always used in conjunction with another sweetener, such as aspartame or sucralose. It is also used as a sweetener in protein shakes and pharmaceutical products, especially chewable and liquid medications, where it can make the active ingredients more palatable.

Safety
As with other artificial sweeteners, there is concern over the safety of acesulfame potassium. Although studies of these sweeteners show varying and controversial degrees of dietary safety,[citation needed] the United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) has approved their general use. Critics say acesulfame potassium has not been studied adequately and may be carcinogenic, although these claims have been dismissed by the US FDA and by equivalent authorities in the European Union.
Some potential effects associated with Acesulfame K have appeared in animal studies. Acesulfame K has been shown to stimulate dose-dependent insulin secretion in rats, though no hypoglycemia was observed.
One rodent study showed no increased incidence of tumors in response to administration of acesulfame K. In this study, conducted by the National Toxicology Program, 60 rats were given acesulfame K for 40 weeks, making up as much as 3% of their total diet (which would be equivalent to a human consuming 1,343 12-oz cans of artificially sweetened soda every day). There was no sign that these (or lower) levels of acesulfame K increased the rats’ risk of cancer or other neoplasms. However, a similar study conducted with p53 haploinsufficient mice showed signs of carcinogenicity in males but not females. Further research in terms of food safety has been recommended.
Research suggests that acesulfame K may affect prenatal development. One study appeared to show that acesulfame K is ingested by mice through their mother’s amniotic fluid or breast milk, and that this influences the adult mouse’s sweet preference.

Calcium carbonate is a chemical compound with the formula CaCO3. It is a common substance found in rocks in all parts of the world, and is the main component of shells of marine organisms, snails, coal balls, pearls, and eggshells. Calcium carbonate is the active ingredient in agricultural lime, and is usually the principal cause of hard water. It is commonly used medicinally as a calcium supplement or as an antacid, but excessive consumption can be hazardous.

Health and dietary applications

500-milligram calcium supplements made from calcium carbonate

Calcium carbonate is widely used medicinally as an inexpensive dietary calcium supplement or gastric antacid. It may be used as a phosphate binder for the treatment of hyperphosphatemia (primarily in patients with chronic renal failure). It is also used in the pharmaceutical industry as an inert filler for tablets and other pharmaceuticals.

Calcium carbonate is known among IBS sufferers to help reduce diarrhea[citation needed]. Some individuals report being symptom-free since starting supplementation. The process in which calcium carbonate reduces diarrhea is by binding water in the bowel, which creates a stool that is firmer and better formed. Calcium carbonate supplements are often combined with magnesium in various proportions. This should be taken into account as magnesium is known to cause diarrhea.
Calcium carbonate is used in the production of toothpaste and has seen a resurgence as a food preservative and color retainer, when used in or with products such as organic apples or food.
Excess calcium from supplements, fortified food and high-calcium diets, can cause the milk-alkali syndrome, which has serious toxicity and can be fatal. In 1915, Bertram Sippy introduced the “Sippy regimen” of hourly ingestion of milk and cream, and the gradual addition of eggs and cooked cereal, for 10 days, combined with alkaline powders, which provided symptomatic relief for peptic ulcer disease. Over the next several decades, the Sippy regimen resulted in renal failure, alkalosis, and hypercalcemia, mostly in men with peptic ulcer disease. These adverse effects were reversed when the regimen stopped, but it was fatal in some patients with protracted vomiting. Milk alkali syndrome declined in men after effective treatments for peptic ulcer disease arose. During the past 15 years, it has been reported in women taking calcium supplements above the recommended range of 1.2 to 1.5 g daily, for prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, and is exacerbated by dehydration. Calcium has been added to over-the-counter products, which contributes to inadvertent excessive intake. Excessive calcium intake can lead to hypercalcemia, complications of which include vomiting, abdominal pain and altered mental status.
As a food additive it is designated E170; INS number 170. Used as an acidity regulator, anticaking agent, stabiliser or colour it is approved for usage in the EU, USA and Australia and New Zealand. It is used in some soy milk products as a source of dietary calcium; one study suggests that calcium carbonate might be as bioavailable as the calcium in cow’s milk. Calcium carbonate is also used as a firming agent in many canned or bottled vegetable products.

Flavin mononucleotide (FMN), or riboflavin-5′-phosphate, is a biomolecule produced from riboflavin (vitamin B2) by the enzyme riboflavin kinase and functions as prosthetic group of various oxidoreductases including NADH dehydrogenase as well as cofactor in biological blue-light photo receptors. During catalytic cycle, the reversible interconversion of oxidized (FMN), semiquinone (FMNH•) and reduced (FMNH2) forms occurs in the various oxidoreductases. FMN is a stronger oxidizing agent than NADH and is particularly useful because it can take part in both one- and two-electron transfers. In its role as blue-light photo receptor, (oxidized) FMN stands out from the ‘conventional’ photo receptors as the signaling state and not an E/Z isomerization.
It is the principal form in which riboflavin is found in cells and tissues. It requires more energy to produce, but is more soluble than riboflavin.

Food additive
Flavin mononucleotide is also used as an orange-red food colour additive, designated in Europe as the E number E101a.
E106, a very closely related food dye, is riboflavin-5′-phosphate sodium salt, which consists mainly of the monosodium salt of the 5′-monophosphate ester of riboflavin. It is rapidly turned to free riboflavin after ingestion. It is found in many foods for babies and young children as well as jams, milk products, and sweets and sugar products.

 
 

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