Let the genie out

Behold the water bottle. Looks simple, relatively harmless, right? Actually the number one cause of accidents on the Pan Mass Challenge is the humble water bottle. They get dropped, pop out of their cage, roll across the road, and riders in pacelines unsuccessfully dodge them. Ouch!

I crashed out of the 2014 B2VT ride when my bottle popped out for the second time. As I slowed down, my front wheel was caught in a crack in the pavement (curse you Pepperell!) and down I went, just 30 miles in. I replaced the rear cage with a Specialized Rib Cage and that bottle only comes out when I want it to!

I drink more when the water is cold so I like to freeze bottles. If you throw a bottle of water into the freezer it could split – unless you first fill it up with ice cubes. This trick lets me keep a few frozen bottles ready to go for a hot day’s ride.

Gatorade and Powerade are expensive, so instead buy the powdered versions. You will have to shop larger supermarkets, and look at the edges of the sports drink shelves. A $4 container lasts me most of a season.

The first person to win 5 Tour de France races was the French cyclist Jacques Anquetil who had an innovative way to climb better – he would put his bottle in his pocket to make the bike lighter. Not exactly a physics major, but he did excel at the time trial.

How about Camelbacks? I bought the first generation of these, thinking it would be handy to have the equivalent of 3-4 bottles ready to drink. In my experience they are uncomfortable, and need to be cleaned thoughly. The last time I used a Camelback, I accidentally swallowed the bite valve and rode 8 miles with the hose clenched between my teeth until I could get to a store to buy a replacement. Maybe I’m just too stupid to drink out of anything but a bottle.