In the year plus that I’ve been writing RUR, I have had an array of amusing conversations with my riding friends which begin with the question, “Hey, what’s dumb about bikes?” I have yet to find a cyclist without a ready answer or three, so just know that, no matter how long I go on, there is a trove of ideas, partially-written drafts, and half-baked jokes living on my laptop already.
Today we turn our attention to the mostly innocuous bottle cage. No one should think too hard about their bottle cages, but this is bikes, and so plenty of people have spent plenty of time obsessed with the problem of how to carry water on the bicycle, and apparently the answer is a ‘cage.’
In contemplating the humble water bottle cage myself, I spent some time envisioning other ways to transport liquids while riding. My best idea is a time trial aero-helmet with a reservoir in the tail and small straw dropping down from the brim. My second-best idea is a channel inside the bike frame with a water-fountain-style spout protruding from the stem.
My other thought is this: Isn’t it time we stopped keeping bottles in cages? What’s wrong with “bottle holders,” or even “bottle huggers?” You Euro-nerds might even call them ‘domestiques,’ since they’re water carriers, but don’t be surprised if someone does that fake-sneeze-while-yelling-douche trick that never stops being funny. The point is, it’s just a coaster with sides. Do we really have to be so linguistically aggro with it?
The truth is, affixing water bottles to a bicycle frame isn’t that difficult a problem to solve, which makes it extra amusing when a particular cage becomes more of a bottle launcher than a bottle holder. Really spices up the group ride. Separates the good bike handlers from the broken collar bone havers. You have that friend. We all have that friend. Uninvite them.
I myself am a strict adherent of the King Cage Maxim, which states “just get a pair of stainless King Cages and move on with your life.” For those of you not familiar with King Cage, they make all the water bottle holder you need and none that you don’t. Actually, they make a titanium cage. It’s real cute, but you don’t need it.
If you absolutely insist on carbon cages, because carbon, carbon, carbon, then the obvious choice is the Arundel Mandible. Or you could just bungee a water bottle to each bicep. That would work too.
As a final aside, if you’re opening a new tab to look up King Cage, DO NOT make the mistake of googling “kink cage” by accident. You will not be able to unsee what you find, and it will do nothing for your hydration needs.
Consider subscribing. It costs almost nothing.