Vegan Rice Bars; what's in your Jersey pocket?

As the weather gets warmer and road season winds down, cross season winds up, and all around people are active; dragging the last bit of Summer out of Autumn if we can. The open road gets a little chillier and maybe you're already dreaming of next year. What do you bring with you on your rides? Hopefully a little more water, or planned water stops, but what do you eat on the bike? It's a long struggle finding what works for your body and when. Don't be afraid to experiment in your off-season!

A big thing across the board for both recreational and professional cyclists is eating real food on the bike. There are only so many sports drinks, bars, blocks and gels that a person can eat before it really starts to wear down your appetite. Scratch actually makes a good cookbook for just that. Me? I like to improvise with whatever's in the cupboard. Some basics for on-the-bike that you probably already have around; peanut butter(or -nuts in general), rice, and fruit. Rice is a great substitute for bars, it's good carbohydrate-level sugar. Below I'll share one of my favourite recipes(it's vegan too!). Fruit is a short-acting sugar, good for a small pick me up when you get to the top of the hill or immediately when you feel your energy start to wane. Peanut butter and/or a handful of nuts act a lot like the long-acting sugars, bordering on the protein sugars, but a little fattier. Fat is not bad, people, especially when you burn it off on your bike.
Here's a cool recipe that I've adapted for the bike and doesn't break the bank when you make it yourself. It usually comes out to about $3-4 for about a dozen 2" x 4" bars; and is vegan, depending on how militant you are with your sugar consumption.  Probably takes about 1 hr all said and done, but it's a lot of set it and forget it. I've adapted it from a Filipino dessert recipe called "Babingka," all you pinoys and pinays know what I'm talking about! It stores fairly well on the bike for touring purposes too!
Ingredients: Most of these can be found at your local Safeway if not your local grocer, or your local Asian market. The hardest one to find is probably the Sweet Rice, check the Asian aisle and the bulk aisle.
 - 3 cups Sweet rice (yes it's a type)
 - 1 can Coconut Milk(roughly 1.5 cups)
 - 2 cups Water(tap does fine)
 - 1/2 cup Sugar
 - 1/2 tsp Salt
 - juice of 1 lime (optional, I like the tang)
You'll need a rice cooker, or if you ARE the rice cooker, then you'll have to hang out with this recipe for a bit, not safe to leave it on the stove by itself, unfortunately. Basically, combine all ingredients in the rice cooker and press "On." Stir every 3-5 minutes, to make sure it doesn't boil over. If you are cooking on a regular stove, cook as usual, you'll just have to stick around and stir more. Once the rice is cooked through(you can tooth test it like pasta and usually your rice cooker knows when), empty the rice into a greased baking pan.
If you leave it here, it is still sticky, but definitely edible at this point. You can let it cool and then cut into bars and wrap in parchment paper or foil to put in your pocket.
My method is to actually bake it at 400F for about 10 minutes to set it. I usually press other fruit into the top, i.e. nuts or Banana/Mango slices. It will become less sticky, aka "set." Again, let it cool, cut into bars, and cover.
Next, you get your kit on and pedal to the top of a far-off mountain and enjoy your hard work; you can make your bar and eat it with a view!
[caption id="attachment_7712" align="alignnone" width="300"]Ready to cook! You can make your own Vegan Rice bars at home for way less than buying bars at the store.[/caption]
What's your favourite recipe? Did you like mine? I want to know! Email me at; shelby@huckleberrybicycles.com and share your stories!