25 things I love about the bike – #10


Originally uploaded by billjank.


Much like the frame, they’re a perfect marriage of form and function. They hold tasty beverages, they keep out grit, and they let riders drink without spilling.

I’ll admit, my first waterbottles were treasured for their ability to let me sneak rum and whatever into venues that wouldn’t sell booze to me for the silly reason that I was too young.

But as I started biking, I gained a new appreciation. Filling the bottles is as important as filling the tires with air before a ride. Then there’s the subtle joy in learning to put the bottles into the cages without breaking cadence, and finally the zen that comes with learning to drink out of the side of one’s mouth, staying nice and aero, and not obscuring one’s view.

But the ritual is the best. Find a new shop? Buy a bottle. Take a trip? A bottle’s a great souvenir.

25 things I love about the bike – #11

New Pavement

New pavement is a gift. There just a joy to cresting the top of a favorite hill, looking down, and seeing a new, smooth ribbon of blacktop stretching out to the horizon. There’s the quick transition from the road humm off of old blacktop to the silence of new blacktop. The joy or riding on a shoulder completely barren of sand, gravel, or potholes.

Somehow, it just makes you faster.

25 things I love about the bike – #12

water bottle cage side

Originally uploaded by billjank.

Bottle Cages

Form follows function. As the bicycle frame represents a finely honed trade between strength and weight, between stability and maneuverability, the bottle cage represents a compromise between strength and weight, between accessibility of beverage and safety of beverage.

I’ve tried fancy bottles, holders, and combinations of both, and I keep coming back to the classic bent wire bottle cage. Works with a wide range of containers, from actual water bottles to 20 ounce soda bottles out of the grocer’s cooler. In a pinch, you can roll up a shirt and a change of pants into a nice, tight cylinder and be set up to be seen in public.

But, sometimes, the option in place just works. When that happens, it’s time to jump on the bandwagon that works and ride it until the wheels fall off.