In my pre-road bike, pink mountain bike-only world, water bottle cages didn’t exist. To hydrate myself I would pull over to the side of the road, dismount, pull my water bottle out of my backpack or pannier, drink some water, put my water bottle back in place and then climb back on my bike and set off again.
Water breaks, at least on routes that I use frequently became highly ritualistic. On my commute home, for instance, I had three traditional stopping places. Taking a water break at each location wasn’t mandatory, but if I wanted to stop for water there were only three places I allowed myself to do so. My options were: beside the farm with the constantly escaping livestock, next to the field of friendly cows and/or just before the hill into town.
But the old traditions have been laid to rest with the arrival of my road bike and its life-changing water bottle cage. It is a magical device indeed, allowing me to drink water at will without the need to pause my ride.
On my first trip on my new road bike, pulling the water bottle from its cage seemed more life-threatening then life-changing. And actually drinking from the water bottle while pedaling? Probably tops the list of most dangerous things I have ever attempted in my life. I was certain I going to crash my bike, I was wobbling that badly.
Once the agony of trying to slide the bottle back into the cage without crashing into the nearest ditch was finally over, I made the executive decision that in the future I would only attempt to drink water on quiet country roads. That way, if I crashed, at least I would crash in private, with some measure of dignity intact.
What a difference two weeks makes! Today, I pulled that water bottle out with ease, drank from it without breaking my cadence and slid it easily back into place with barely a glance.
I am practically a pro.