I really like Jelly Bellys. They're delicious. As such, I really was excited to read about the contents of their Sport Beans. They look as good, or better than a typical packet of energy gel. They were on sale at Target. I bought some.
On Saturday, I headed out for what would turn out to be a hard, hot 56-mile ride. (Though quite steep in sections, it only had about 2450' of climbing. Did I do a good job making it sound like that is easy for me?) Along with a couple packets of energy gel, a Balance bar, and a full bottle of Cytomax, I brought Orange Sport Beans. I used them well before I got to the climbing part of the ride.
I use energy gel because it is quick energy AND I don't have to chew. From the moment I put the first Sport Bean into my mouth, this realization hit me--and the feeling continued to grow. When it comes down to it, I'd rather it if all my calories I take in during a ride came in a liquid or semi-liquid (gel) form. I bring energy bars because they provide lots more calories per dollar and become a necessity on extended rides.
Sport Beans aren't as messy as gels, by a long shot. I really don't like the way gels are dispensed. I find it difficult to "eat" them without making a mess on my fingers. Also, I never feel like I'm getting all the contents of the packet--a theory proved by the mess in my jersey pocket when I get home and throw away the "empties." On the other hand, you're more likely to drop a Sport Bean while riding than you were to drop a dollop of gel.
I really wanted to like Sport Beans. Energy-wise, they are great. Plus, I get to eat my favorite jelly beans in the world (aside from regular Jelly Bellys). Unfortunately, I breathe too hard (or work to hard) when riding to enjoy the chewing--or even to be able to just ignore it. If I actually stopped to take a break and eat, I'd prefer Sport Beans to gels.
I have one more package, and I intend to suck on these and let them dissolve as a test to see if they work well that way. Watch out for a cyclist choking on the side of the road tomorrow.