Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Winter Duldrums-- Riding Clean

A couple years ago the BPA news broke and literally dozens of bike racers fled from store bought water bottles.  I was one of them.  It was a good thing for me because it forced me to dig into my collection of bottles that were far too old to get rid of those that had developed science projects worth of deposits on the bottom from powders and recovery mixes.  I settled on CamelBak's Podium Chill bottles as my first choice in hydration.  With their insulation they were great for the hot and cold days.  Even in the worst temps in DC's Summer I could expect to have decently chilled water for up to about 60 minutes after starting.   
The Podium Chill served me well but I began to notice I was having trouble getting the bottles out of my cages.  This became very true when I switched over to carbon cages.  I ended up having to literally twist the bottles out of the cages and I started to conclude that these bottles must be just a little wider than what the cages were made to hold.  I have no mathematical proof for that assertion but literally hundreds of hours of real world testing.  I also became concerned with the fact that they carried only 21 oz per bottle and cost in the neighborhood of $12 a piece.  Truth be told, CamelBak also made 25 oz Podium Big Chill but that bottle is so large that it almost doesn't fit into my 56-cm frame.  The fact that each bottle cost $12 made signing one for the adoring fans in the following picture taken at SuperWeek last year exhilarating with just a little financial sting. 

Around Christmas, I remembered a  Le Tour video of some guy running along the side of the road in a Clean Bottle suit and so I dialed up the website and took a quick read on the product he was selling.  I was looking at it as a possible alternative.  I found the 4 for $29.95 price much attractive than CamelBak's price and was excited to see that the bottles were also BPA free.  I read more into the story behind Clean Bottle and the outreach the owner undertakes with each purchase and was impressed.  So I bought a 4 pack of bottles and I'm now sold on the product.

I was pretty excited about the idea of a bottle that can be cleaned better in the first place.  Heck, even my Mom thought it was a great idea.  I was a little skeptical about how the bottles would hold up under real world use and I have to say I am very impressed.  I have been using them with a great degree of consistency for the past month and half, including numerous times through the washing machine and they have exceeded my expectations.  I thought you would get leaks with the twin seals but I have never experienced a leak from these bottles.  I have put them through daily hard rides, mountains, and gravel and they have done exactly what I have asked them to do. 

The plastic on the bottle is thicker than most of the store bought versions so they feel substantial in your hands.  Even with gloves on they are user friendly and I don't spend time fighting to get them out of my cages.  The added bonus I wasn't expecting is that the nozzle can be removed for cleaning.  This is a genius idea.  I can now finally get rid of the hangover taste of whatever powder or recovery drink I had used the prior time.  This is that taste which would normally outlast even the washing machine on older water bottles. 

These are officially now my go to bottles in my rotation and when they are clean they are the ones that will go first on to the bike before any others. 

1 comment:

Too Slow said...

Rob -- #1, that kid looks SO excited to receive your signed bottle; and

#2, the clean bottle concept of an unscrewable bottom end is similar to a set of a popular brand of baby bottles I've seen, where cleanliness is understandably also a priority. I do wonder how much it adds to the weight of the bottle, however, from the grams-counting perspective....