How many water bottles have you lost while charging through gnar? Well, I’ve lost a few and it sucks. I have a great hydration pack that is comfortable and disappears after about 5 minutes onto the trail (unless it’s full of water). So for shorter rides I’ll either go without the pack and just use a water bottle, or I’ll wear the pack with an empty bladder to stow extra gear I may need during the ride, but still rely on a water bottle for hydration. This plan generally serves me well.
That is until I lose my water bottle. Such was the case last July on a special invite trip to ride the savage trails of Georgetown, California, with California Expeditions. I had never ridden these notorious motocross trails before and we were still learning how to connect trails to make a route that is easy to shuttle. I filled my water bottle before leaving camp and even threw an extra small bottle of water in my pack just in case.
As (bad) luck would have it, I lost my main water bottle on the first chunky trail we encountered and we were only 2 miles in on a 9.5-mile adventure that involved lots of climbing, some crashes, hike-a-bikes, and temps creeping over 100F. As dehydration set in and I started feeling loopy, I decided to drink as much as I could from the one stream we crossed and risk giardia rather than faint on the trail at the worst possible moment like when charging down steep rocky chutes of which these trails offered many. The ride leader offered to share his water with me but I’m stubborn in situations like this and don’t want anyone else to suffer because of my errors.
Ultimately, I made it safely back to the shuttle rig but felt pretty sick the rest of the day and didn’t enjoy the ride nearly as much as I could have had I been properly hydrated. All this drama because I failed to push down on the water bottle hard enough until I heard the telltale click that it was locked into place.
So is there a better water bottle cage design out there that could have helped me? Seth’s Bike Hacks was eager to find out so he devised an unscientific but effective test. While his test methods don’t cover all circumstances, it does help sort out which cases may be most secure for your riding style and cage mounting locations.
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