A moment for a minor rant

Yesterday afternoon, as I was heading home early from work – rather unusually on my road bike – disaster struck.

At about 45km/h on Lilyfield Road, my bike bottle made a daring escape from the cage in which it had been imprisoned, and leaped to freedom.

A rather short-lived freedom that ended a millisecond later as it was crushed to death under my rear wheel.

Luckily, it did not end in an ignominious high-speed crash as can be the case, but it was the end of life for my $25 Camelbak Podium Chill insulated drink bottle, which is now an integral, nay essential part of my cycling kit, riding as I do in the frankly absurd temperatures of Sydney, NSW. SO now I’ve had to go and buy yet another one.

Which brings me to the rant bit.

When did I start needing to pay $25 for a bidon?

Back in the day, when I was a young whippersnapper, bottles were disposable, acquired as giveaways at bike shows, or in the goodie bag handed out with your race number, or (perish the thought) bought for a  mere quid in the bargain bin of the local bike shop (if you liked the logo).

They had shitty bite valves that leaked everywhere, crappy closures that leaked everywhere and were made of basement-grade plastic that aged in months and, yes, leaked everywhere. But they were cheap and it didn’t matter if you lost one or threw it away when it inevitably became too gross to drink out of.

And then I discovered expensive bottles. Bottles with screw tops and elaborate seals. Bottles with twist valves that refuse to leak when closed but flow like the Nile when opened and squeezed. Bottles without difficult to clean corners. Bottles, and here’s the rub, with double walls and an insulating layer, so your water stays cold for more than five minutes in the scorching Aussie heat. And yet, they still leap with an astounding lack of grace, from badly adjusted bottle cages. Like the ones on my (long term loaner) road bike.

Why? Why do I do this to myself (and my wallet)? Why do I discover products that actually work but cost an absurd amount, this necessitating replacement with another of equal or greater value? Wasn’t life better when I didn’t have to shell the price of a very, very good six pack of beer on a plastic bottle to hold little more than water?

No, it wasn’t. Why, then, am I so resentful?

I put it down to the human condition. It’s the only explanation.


(Yes, I know, if I was willing to wait for mail order, I could pay far less than $25 for one of these. But I have to ride home today and it’s hot. Shut up.)

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