Full marks to Mule Bar for addressing gel wrapper waste and for its gels’ all-natural vegan content. But they do taste quite salty.
Low-waste packaging options
Economical refill packs
All natural ingredients
Vegan Society approved
Quite a salty taste
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Mule Bar aims to reduce the amount of gel wrapper waste with its range. If you cycle popular routes, both on and off road, you’re sure to have noticed the number of gel wrappers discarded by cyclists. The temptation is to just throw away the wrapper once you’ve consumed its contents since you are left with a sticky piece of plastic that makes a mess of your hands, clothing and any other kit in your pocket – but by doing so you're ruining the countryside for everyone.
So Mule Bar's gels are packed in a plastic wrapper like a toothpaste tube. You can just flip the cap with one hand to slurp its contents, then snap it closed when you’ve finished refuelling.
The cap can be screwed off when you get home to wash out the tube. You can then refill it from Mule Bar’s bulk bottles of gel. These contain enough gel to refill the cleaned-out gel wrapper up to 12 times.
Mule Bar’s gels are either vegetarian or vegan approved and made with natural ingredients. The main sweeteners used are syrups from rice, malted barley or agave. The first two have a high glycaemic index, the last a low GI, for a mix of burst energy and longer release carbs.
Mule Bar says its gels contain around 28g of carbohydrate for around 110 calories per gel, depending on the flavour. There’s also around 100mg of salt from pink Himalayan salt crystals, which provides the electrolyte content.
I particularly liked the Salted Caramel flavour gel, although all four options are palatable. The Café Cortado flavour has 100mg of natural caffeine from coffee and guarana too. But in all flavours the salt taste is quite pronounced. Mule Bar says that Himalayan salt contains trace minerals, although it does not say what or how much.
A 444g refill pack costs £14.99 and Mule Bar says that the gel can also be added to your water bottle for an energy drink. You can also buy refillable silicone containers. These have a higher volume than a standard gel and are easier to wash out as they can be disassembled completely.
But I did find I got a bit messy sometimes with gel around the cap and it’s quite difficult to consume the entire gel when riding because it takes quite a bit of squeezing to get the last bit out.
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Paul started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2015, covering cycling tech, new bikes and product testing. Since then, he’s reviewed hundreds of bikes and thousands of other pieces of cycling equipment for the magazine and the Cycling Weekly website.
He’s been cycling for a lot longer than that though and his travels by bike have taken him all around Europe and to California. He’s been riding gravel since before gravel bikes existed too, riding a cyclocross bike through the Chilterns and along the South Downs.
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