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Nuun vs High5 Electrolyte Tablets – No Sugar Hydration Comparison (for Cyclists, and Diabetics too)

Published on 4 July 2012 in Kit Reviews

I’ve been delighted with the recent trend towards no-sugar electrolyte replacement drinks – I have diabetes, so most isotonic drinks were off the menu thanks to their alarming sugar content.

A free sample of High5 Zero was taped to the front of a magazine recently, and I saw Nuun tabs for sale in Leisure Lakes when I paid a visit to buy my new Endura MT500 top (review to follow). So I decided to run a quick back-to-back test for your delectation.

What Are These Electrolytic Hydration Tablet Thingies, Then?

When you exercise, you lose water.  But when you sweat, you also pump out salts which your body needs to replace to function at its optimum.  You might have read about people who’ve done a hard event, then drank lots of water, then dropped dead.  Over-simplifying things grossly, this can be because their body’s systems are watered down too much by plain water – we need to replace the other good stuff that’s lost by sweating, too.

These tablets are made to combine a cocktail of useful salts and things into a soluble tablet.  This saves space & reduces packaging thereby helping to save the planet, and it means the tabs are easy to store at home or in your pack/pocket out on the bike.

Doing away with sugar not only reduces bulk, it works better with your body: sugar-rushes are almost always followed by a post-sugar crash which isn’t much fun.  If you’re diabetic like me, sugar rushes are just a no-no unless you’re going hypo, in which case you should have a gel and suitable snack handy anyway – but that’s a different issue.


£6 of your hard-earned might seem steep for a few tabs, but think of it this way: Depending which option you choose, the packs work out between 30p and 50p per 500ml of drink, which is bloody good value when compared with a full bottle of juice from the shop.

High5 Zero vs. Nuun

I tried the Pink Grapefruit flavour High5 Zero, because that was the freebie I got with my magazine… but I’d probably have bought that one anyway.  It tasted light and refreshing and I’d have no hesitation buying that flavour again.  For the Nuun version, I bought a tube of Tri-Berry tabs: once again, the flavour is refreshing without being overpowering.  In both cases, you expect a slightly salty taste but I couldn’t detect any saltiness.  Just to be sure, I asked our girls (aged 9 and 10) to try them and they both thought the taste was great: so much so that they keep asking if they can have one when we’re at home! So that’s a hit on both counts, flavour-wise.

For me, the main consideration seems to be that for a similar price per tube, High5 supply 20 tabs whereas Nuun only give 12.  If you’re prone to getting quickly bored of the same flavour, maybe 12 tabs is enough.  If not, then I’d recommend High5′s tubes of 20 as it equates to only 30p per bottle.

If you’re wondering how the stuff mixes, have a quick look at this video.

Want Some?

You can  probably buy these from your LBS but if you’re looking to compare or buy online, then visit the following links and make your own mind up.  I particularly like the Nuun 4 Tube Variety packs, since I’m one of those people who likes a change.  But don’t forget, High5 are cheaper per drink.  The links show you the range of different flavours available – there’s something to suit everyone, even you.

1. High5 Zero at Chain Reaction Cycles
2. High5 Zero at Wiggle Online Cycle Shop
3. Nuun at Chain Reaction Cycles
4. Nuun at Wiggle Online Cycle Shop
5. Nuun 4 Tube Variety Pack at Wiggle – shows quite a saving over buying one at a time.

Tell ‘em Phill sent you :)

 Stop Press: Banana Nuun Update:
Everybody knows that Banana is the finest flavour of milky things in the universe. Fact.  Especially that wonderful chemically-enhanced banana flavouring of our youth.
But +Chris McGovern , +Rick Horsfield and I wondered how banana flavour  would taste in a watery thing, particularly an electrolyte and salt-containing watery thing.
So, I ordered some BananaNuun from Wiggle.
And let me tell you, folks: the taste is… well… not all that good.
I’d stick to the citrus or orange & berry, if I were you.


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How Do You Keep Your Head Cool Whilst Cycling?

Published on 5 June 2012 in Kit Reviews

Airhead Cool Spray – Review

I know a guy who has a lot of good ideas.  He’s got connections to some leading trichologists and, between them, they’ve developed some ingenious solutions to common problems.  One such solution is Airhead Cool Spray.

A little while ago I was asked to review this product as my friend knows I ride quite a bit and, sometimes (not too often), it’s even warm in Lancashire!  So I agreed on the condition that he didn’t mind me being totally honest.

I have to say, I was extremely sceptical at first.  I mean, my helmet’s got good venting, right? And when I’m hot I can squirt water on my head, right? Well, yes, except I prefer juice.  But from what little I understand about how the Airhead Cool Spray works, it basically uses a proprietary mixture of ingredients to magnify and prolong the same effect you get when damping your head down – the evaporation of a fluid, combined with your own natural cooling mechanism being temporarily improved.  * I might be wrong there, don’t quote me, but I can’t think of a better explanation in my own mind…

So, What Is It Like?

Airhead Cool Spray arrives in a strong card tube, through your letterbox.  Inside the packaging is some information about how it works, and some literature about the other products that Ahead Solutions provides.  I won’t go into those here.  Inside is a 30ml pump-action bottle which, I have to say, is a great size for dropping in a baggies pocket or your pack.  I reckon each application is 7-10 little sprays so you’ve got enough to last you quite a while. I photographed it next to my 750ml drinks bottle so you can see how it squares up.

Does It Keep You Cool?

Here’s the thing: I didn’t think that this stuff would work for longer than a few minutes after application.  I thought that I’d use it after rides to cool myself down during that few minutes of post-ride overheating.  After trying it a few times, I’ve found that I was wrong.

It’s best applied before you go out when the weather’s warm, or even just warm-ish.  The effect lasts for a weirdly long time!  The first time I tried it before riding out, on a nice warm Lancashire day, I just sprayed some onto the back of my head.  An hour later when I was on my way home (having long forgotten about spraying the stuff on) I was aware that the back of my head was still cooling.  I know, don’t ask me, I have no idea.

Smells nice too. Kinda minty.

This Airhead Cool Spray stuff just works.  It simply keeps your head cool under your helmet.  If you feel the heat when you’re riding, then give a try, that’s all I can recommend.

I’ve been so impressed that I got my friend to build me a little online outlet, but don’t feel obliged to buy it through me, just contact Ahead Solutions and ask any questions you’ve got, or give it a try.  I don’t think I would have done, but I’m glad I did.

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Importing Cyclemeter Rides Into Strava (kml to gpx)

Published on 15 May 2012 in Advice, Rides


I use Cyclemeter to track my rides, and I like it.  The iPhone app works really well, doesn’t suck the life out of my battery (as long as the backlight’s switched off) and reliably posts my rides to Twitter, Facebook and the DailyMile site, which has some excellent display and reporting.

So, I wasn’t looking for a new tracker or recording website.


… However, there’s no denying that Strava has some excellent characteristics. The ability to compete via segments – against your friends, people you’ve never met and yourself – is a fantastic idea.  The even better part of this idea is that other people can do the hard work of setting new segments up.

Importing Ride Data Into Strava From Cyclemeter

Update, 8th April 2014:

I received the following comment from Paul Ferguson, which I’m going to copy and paste wholesale as it’s as helpful as you’re going to see online. Please note the following paragraph!

“Also found this post as the first result. Thought I’d add a little update for others.

Cyclemeter still remains after a few years my favourite tracking app, so many nice features which Strava don’t support but thats where my chums are along with better embedding.

The GPX attachment option in email has gone, shame I though but it turn out its because Strava export is now officially supported as an Elite feature for £2.99 / $4.99 a year with full integration and worth it – its nice to support the developers.

Elite also add a few Strava like features like Analyzing your ride along with weather record, terrain and traffic maps, direction orientation in maps and connect with RFLKT (don’t know what that even means).

Best of both worlds.”

Many thanks for that, Paul. Much appreciated.

…and now, back to the original article, but be aware that the following may not work on your updated version of Cyclemeter…

I’d heard that the iPhone Strava app isn’t very good, yet.  So I had an issue – how to import my rides recorded by Cyclemeter to the Strava website so I could look at my segments and get a little bit more information.

I scoured the internets and found nothing, but thankfully a little diligent research and the Abvio website gave me what I needed.  So, I’m retracing my steps below so you don’t have to scour Google like I did.

So, How Is It Done?

On Your Phone

Open your Cyclemeter App. Click the “History” icon at the bottom.  Then select the ride you’re looking for via the “Recent” heading or the  “Summaries” links. These are marked (1) and (2) in my picture.

Find your ride on Cyclemeter

Find your ride on Cyclemeter

Next, you’ll see your ride information. Scroll down to the second box – the top link will be “Email/Export“. Select this option.

You’ll then see the following screen. Select the “GPX File Attachment” option.

GPX File Export

GPX File Export

This will open up an email with the gpx file attached.  Send this email to yourself.

On Your Computer

Open up your emails. You’ll have one from yourself with the gpx file attached.  Save this gpx file somewhere you can find it.

Next, log in to Strava.  If you’ve never done this before, I’d suggest that linking it to Facebook is the easiest option for most people.

Strava LogIn

Strava LogIn

Once logged in, there’s a clear “Upload Activity” button at the top right. Hit that.

Strava Upload Activity

Strava Upload Activity

On the following screen, the option you need is “Upload a file on your computer” so select that, then browse to the gpx file you’ve saved from your email.

Find Your gpx File

Find Your gpx File

Strava will upload the file for you, with all the data you need.  You can then edit the ride details: the name of the ride; notes; anything else you like such as what bike you were on… etc.

Then all the wonderful functionality and competitiveness of Strava is available for your delectation!

Phill's Windy Hill Strava Ride

Phill’s Windy Hill Strava Ride

A little advice here: Just don’t spend too long online messing with your segment readings – get out and ride your bike!

By the way, my Strava profile can be found by following this link. I’m the one at the bottom of the tables. KOS – King Of Slowness. :)

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