This is serious, people. I hope you’re sitting down. Really. Sit down. Not a half sit. A real sit. Both cheeks. If you’re reading this on your phone, put the phone away and wait until you are sitting behind a computer like a civilized person.
Ready? Deep breath.
I told you to sit down. My initial reaction was one of defiance and disbelief. I even suggested that I understood Le Langue du Peloton better than she does. In her infinite grace and my infinite obtuseness and ever-increasing volume, she almost conceded this as a possible explanation to this ground-rattling revelation.
There is something seriously fishy going on in this here petri dishy if what we as a collective of Cyclists – even those in France – have referred to as bidons are actually giant plastic jugs that are more commonly strapped to backs of Jeeps and motos than bicycles. Maybe we would take a bidon in the car to the start of a big ride, to fill up what we should probably be calling une gourde. Madness.
Cornered, I sought the advice of my good friend William, who represents one half of both Pavé Cycling Classics and Malteni Beer. He replied with his usual delicacy and the natural charm that I assume made him a good sprinter:
Tell her to fuck off. Was she born in the 50’s? For fuck’s sake. We haven’t called them gourdes since before the war when they were metal and were stopped up with corks. For fuck’s sake.
The only conclusion I can come to is that when the plastic bottle was introduced, some bright spark called it a bidon half as a pisstake and half as a way to distinguish this novelty from the traditional bar-mounted bottle. And we’ve been confusing the non-Cycling French population ever since.