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Reverence: Waterboys and Podiums

Reverence: Waterboys and Podiums

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This article started off as a Reverence for the Camelbak Podium, and might still be, who knows, it’s late and my mind is scrambled. As often happens when searching for a suitable image for an article, tangents often appear from nowhere and derail the original train of thought. Soon one finds oneself careening out of control towards the only bend in the track where it just so happens the only town within 2000km that has a massive nuclear reactor/fuel refinery is situated adjacent to said bend. (Sorry about that, I was unfortunate enough to witness the worst movie ever recently and it’s really messed with my head. There’s those tangents again. Spoiler: the train really is stoppable, which I deduced by, oh, the synopsis in the tv guide.)

Anyway, bidons. The one piece of cycling equipment that is the most essential besides the actual bike. The one thing that should never be left at home. The saviour, the giver of life, the fuel tank for the engine for the chassis. Just go out for even less than an hour of riding sans bidon, and you’ll be crying like a baby does for bitty.

There’s been much talk about the humble bidon around here already, so in a way this seems even pointless to say. But say it I will: Camelbak Podiums are the duck’s guts. It doesn’t even matter why, just use one and you’ll know. I’ve lost count how many I own, have owned, lost, or finally thrown out when the black, hairy growth is no longer able to be controlled. A dilemna that Pro teams rarely face, as most of their bidons get supped from once, before jetison to the roadside and into the clutches of baying souvenir hunters (or the front yard of a bemused, elderly Italian lady).

The job of the waterboy is probably the most denigrating for a Pro, even if many domestiques are resigned to the fact that it goes with the territory; there’ll still be a pecking order among them and the neo-Pro will be unmercifully sent back to the cars to load up with as many bottles as they have pockets or orifices to stash them. Or maybe the indignity just feels like there’s a bidon or two where the sun don’t shine.

Imagine wearing the Maillot Jaune, the biggest moment of a career spent working for others, a career with very little in the way of wins or the world’s attention, and being told to “go get us some water, will ya?” while every camera in France is trained upon you. It has happened. Or you are a National Champion, or World Champion? Is this the ultimate disrespect to not only the rider, but the jerseys themselves?

Water giveth life, then cruelly and coldly snatches it right out from under you, for all to see. Cycling has class structure, just like life, and the waterboy is decidedly stuck on the bottom wrung of the social ladder, no matter even if they are dressed up in their best for the day.

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// Accessories and Gear // Reverence

  1. One could offer the contrary opinion that everyone has a role to play and no role is unimportant when a win is on the line. In a hospital, par example, no one is “just a janitor” (or anything else for that matter). If there were no janitors, then the place would quickly go to shit (both literally and actually) and the rest couldn’t do their jobs, pecking order or not.
    Even the prophet depended upon teammates (from time to time), and though they had no glory, he always took care of them afterwards, shit role or not.

  2. like the “Little Britain” reference, especially from a kiwi/aussie/belgian/whateveryouarethesedays.

    The bands and bottles look like shit together.

  3. Suppose you end up waterboy depending on what legs you have on the day


    chart from here

  4. @sthilzy love the chart. In my mind I fit different roles depending on the day.

    As for the camelback. The newer style looks loads better on a bike and unloads maximum hydrating flows for those really hard efforts. Best bottle I have used.

  5. Picked up a couple Specialized Purist bottles at Uranium Bicycles in Moab at a couple years back. Sadly that LBS seems to be gone, but the bottles are still going strong. Purists are the only bottles with valves that can be completely disassembled in seconds for easy cleaning. Yea the o-rings are a bit tight, but a wipe of olive oil on reassembly takes care of that, and the valve is supposed to be left open after first sip anyway.

    I have not used my Camelback Podiums since getting the Purists. After a two or three month honeymoon period all my Podiums became black mold breeding grounds.

  6. I love my bottles, but only to the extent that they portray what I’m doing today. Long ass ride? I’ll take my charity 200k souvenirs. Quick punchy group ride? Local shop bottles or even better bottles I got from a visit to a far flung shop while on vacation. Have a hideous green bottle from a cool shop in Santa Fe. Mello Velo I believe it’s called.

    What’s with the bidons I’m expected to diaassmble and clean? For fucks sake that’ll eat into post-ride beer drinking.

  7. I use the podium chill version in the heat and it works nicely. Probably doubles the cooling life of drinks, or the time they stay froze. An in-insulated bottle goes from fully frozen to totally thawed inside an hour.

    on the indignity… at least getting bottles is slightly better than being told to hand over your cap so the team leader can shit in it.

  8. Um, according to Rule #52 bidons should match your kit/bike, yet camelbak don’t make either. Looks like we’ll have to wait until they do.

  9. Is the Podium 610 ml allowed given it is > 500 ml and in contravention of Rule #52 ?

  10. @markb

    @rfreese888

    The clear/carbon bottle will match any bike. And the small one is a small one which is smaller than the big one.

  11. @ChrisO

    on the indignity… at least getting bottles is slightly better than being told to hand over your cap so the team leader can shit in it.

    I’ll remember this on Keepers Tour next year… bring extra caps.

  12. My only gripe with Camelback Podiums is that their neck is non-standard, which makes them prone to launching. If they had mated better to the standard lip that’s found on most cages, they’d stay put better. I have many Podium bottles with their soft caps shaved off by the tarmac to show for it…

  13. @brett

    @markb

    @rfreese888

    The clear/carbon bottle will match any bike. And the small one is a small one which is smaller than the big one.

    Ah, I see. I just fill it up with a drink that matches by kit and/or bike. So it looks like it’ll have to be Guiness when all in black, so long as my helmet is white.

  14. Wouldn’t it be sweet to have some V bottles? I make do with a couple of nice orange ones from Crank Daddys in Milwaukee that match the v plugs.

    You can out me down for two V bottles and two V caps while we’re at it. Anyone else?

  15. Regarding Camelback Podiums and the Specialized Big Mouth, one is made in China and the other is made in USA. In addition, the CBs are covered in branding and the Big Mouths are usually nice and plain.

    Now I have nothing against global supply chains per se, but when the option to spend my $ in support of manufacturers on the NA continent (not just the company letterhead) presents itself, especially for items of a disposable or semi-disposable item, I always trend towards the on shore product. Even if it is one that will `make mike more money`.

    Besides, in this case the Big Mouths look much nicer on the bike.

  16. Cavendish (pictured in article) “Elite Corsa bottles only please!”

  17. I feel as though there needs to be an article Peña. Apparently it was voluntary, but still, someone should have stopped him and said, ‘no, I will do it’.

    I like the sounds of the Vuelta a Colombia (from the article brett linked to). It seems to embrace many of the rules.

  18. iI have 5 podiums. Im thinking they all need to be replaced after reading about the black hair.

  19. @DeKerr

    Regarding Camelback Podiums and the Specialized Big Mouth, one is made in China and the other is made in USA. In addition, the CBs are covered in branding and the Big Mouths are usually nice and plain.

    Now I have nothing against global supply chains per se, but when the option to spend my $ in support of manufacturers on the NA continent (not just the company letterhead) presents itself, especially for items of a disposable or semi-disposable item, I always trend towards the on shore product. Even if it is one that will `make mike more money`.

    Besides, in this case the Big Mouths look much nicer on the bike.

    Cheers!

  20. @extra special and bitter

    I feel as though there needs to be an article Peña. Apparently it was voluntary, but still, someone should have stopped him and said, ‘no, I will do it’.

    I like the sounds of the Vuelta a Colombia (from the article brett linked to). It seems to embrace many of the rules.

    Yeah, that is a story that is worth looking into. I couldn’t find any images of him loaded with bottles while in the Maillot Jaune though. Maybe Gunderson apologised and had them removed?

  21. @DeKerr

    Regarding Camelback Podiums and the Specialized Big Mouth, one is made in China and the other is made in USA. In addition, the CBs are covered in branding and the Big Mouths are usually nice and plain.

    Now I have nothing against global supply chains per se, but when the option to spend my $ in support of manufacturers on the NA continent (not just the company letterhead) presents itself, especially for items of a disposable or semi-disposable item, I always trend towards the on shore product. Even if it is one that will `make mike more money`.

    I’m all for buying local too. But I’m also all for not giving Mike any more money.

  22. @unversio

    Cavendish (pictured in article) “Elite Corsa bottles only please!”

    Agreed but only the red coke version.

    Slightly off topic but does Rule #52 apply to gravelling?

  23. There’s something that just doesn’t sit right with me when I see a “cyclist” with a c’back. Am I too “pro-traditional”? Who knows. Even in the middle of summer here in central Florida, two bidons have been sufficiant for all riding to date.

    To me, there is a certain beauty to seeing bottles on a well kept machine. A humpback pouch? Not so much.

  24. @justindcady

    There’s something that just doesn’t sit right with me when I see a “cyclist” with a c’back. Am I too “pro-traditional”? Who knows. Even in the middle of summer here in central Florida, two bidons have been sufficiant for all riding to date.

    To me, there is a certain beauty to seeing bottles on a well kept machine. A humpback pouch? Not so much.

    We’re not savages.

  25. @Chris

    @unversio

    Cavendish (pictured in article) “Elite Corsa bottles only please!”

    Agreed but only the red coke version.

    Slightly off topic but does Rule #52 apply to gravelling?

    there is also a v meter violation.

  26. Have posted a picture of this monstrosity before. At least he is flat-back riding. But tell me about the socks and short shorts?!?


    Then there is this cockamamie thing


    I wonder how hard you have to suck on this?

  27. @Chris

    @unversio

    Cavendish (pictured in article) “Elite Corsa bottles only please!”

    Agreed but only the red coke version.

    Agreed. But I do alternate from red coca cola to black on black coca cola.

  28. @HMBSteve

    I wonder how hard you have to suck on this?

    zegt mijn vrouw ook vannacht

  29. These make sense. At least the bottles are secure and grab-able. It may look less old school but safer and easier to load too. Maybe preloaded?

  30. @freddy

    @HMBSteve

    I wonder how hard you have to suck on this?

    zegt mijn vrouw ook vannacht

    Bidonkadonk?

  31. Back on topic: in the Feb 13 velosnooze Lennard Zinn did a nice “what’s gonna grow” study on a bunch of different water bottles in which he left a variety of sports drinks for a looong time. After a quick spin in the dishwasher, the camelbaks won overall ratings, taking the “likely not infectious,” and “why the hell not, I’ll keep using them” categories.

    They’re all I ever use.

  32. @Dave

    Purists are the only bottles with valves that can be completely disassembled in seconds for easy cleaning.

    You can disassemble those? How? I have three of them and think they are great bottles… even better the valve comes apart for cleaning.

    A mate loves his insulated camelbacks but they are taller to accommodate the loss of volume and still don’t hold the same amount. Besides that it only buys him 30-45min of cooler water before his is room temp anyway. Not worth it since I prefer the Purist valve and the smaller size.

  33. @HMBSteve

    Have posted a picture of this monstrosity before. At least he is flat-back riding. But tell me about the socks and short shorts?!?

    Then there is this cockamamie thing

    I wonder how hard you have to suck on this?

    Oh FFS. He’s not even time trailing. How hard is it to pick a biddon out of it’s cage?

    As to the lead photo I see disrespect for the jersey, but I also see someone showing humility and serving others, not one being humiliated. But then WTF do I know about what goes on in a Pro pellet?

  34. @Puffy The mouthpiece slides up and down on pins in three slots around the cap. Twist the mouthpiece clockwise so the pins pop out of the slots. The mouthpiece can then be pulled out of the cap. Flush soapy hot water through it and rinse.

    I should also mention that the Purist bottles have some sort of coating inside that keeps them from absorbing color or odor from your mix.

    Skip all of this if all you put in the bottles is water or drinks with preservatives. I use Infinit though, which is a great growth medium.

  35. Water bottle mould: Milton solution (the same that is used to sterilize baby bottles) will get rid of it.

  36. stop putting stuff in your water, we all need to loose some weight.

  37. @girl

    Water bottle mould: Milton solution (the same that is used to sterilize baby bottles) will get rid of it.

    Second that or dishwasher them after each ride. I prefer clear bottles with a black cap. Black goes with everything! I’m not ashamed to say I buy the £1.50 Halfords cheapies. The look good. Feel good. Work good. And 500ml max so rule compliant to boot. Plus if I loose one mid ride, it’ s no biggie.

  38. Has anyone used Elite’s Hygene Corsa bottles? They would match my bottle cages and frame design and apparently stay ueber clean by virtue of them having some slick surface. The teat looks like it does the job too.

  39. @rfreese888 Yes. Essentially same as Elite Corsa, but you can see inside. Got one to keep clean and stow in the jersey pocket. It will scratch up faster than a… ??

  40. @Gianni: I believe the Tinkoff bottle gilets were handed out pre-loaded. Seems a very smart solution especially now skin suits are often the rule, not exception, in the pro peloton. Can’t see the bottle gilet having any use outside of pro racing. But I’m sure we’ll see people wearing them. Looking like prize tools.

  41. @Puffy

    @HMBSteve

    Have posted a picture of this monstrosity before. At least he is flat-back riding. But tell me about the socks and short shorts?!?

    Then there is this cockamamie thing

    I wonder how hard you have to suck on this?

    Oh FFS. He’s not even time trailing. How hard is it to pick a biddon out of it’s cage?

    As to the lead photo I see disrespect for the jersey, but I also see someone showing humility and serving others, not one being humiliated. But then WTF do I know about what goes on in a Pro pellet?

    Thankfully this photo is taken at an angle where we are spared seeing the stems on these bikes. Given the height of the bars relative to the headtubes, the damn stems must be damn near vertical.

  42. @wiscot

    @Puffy

    @HMBSteve

    Have posted a picture of this monstrosity before. At least he is flat-back riding. But tell me about the socks and short shorts?!?

    Then there is this cockamamie thing

    I wonder how hard you have to suck on this?

    Oh FFS. He’s not even time trailing. How hard is it to pick a biddon out of it’s cage?

    As to the lead photo I see disrespect for the jersey, but I also see someone showing humility and serving others, not one being humiliated. But then WTF do I know about what goes on in a Pro pellet?

    Thankfully this photo is taken at an angle where we are spared seeing the stems on these bikes. Given the height of the bars relative to the headtubes, the damn stems must be damn near vertical.

    Not to mention that their choice of gearing is so out of whack they couldn’t possibly need hydration.

  43. @Chris, @wiscot, @Puffy, @HMBSteve

    I was going to quote the photo but there are so many violations of The Rules in that I feel it would be wrong to force anyone around here to see it anymore than they have to.

    With the wookie factor 7 legs, sock length, eyewear arms under the straps, the EPMS, about the only thing they got right is Rule #14. Oh sweetmercifulcrap! I just noticed they’re not even in the big ring.

  44. That photo is almost art. The more you stare at it, the more awfulness you see. I love “digger” on the blue P-rello unleashing a hammer session in full 34/21 gearing….downhill.
    It also makes you wonder, if the bars are higher than the saddle, is it still called “saddle to bar drop” and expressed in negative numbers, or do you refer to said position as “bar to saddle drop”.

    And by the way, I believe the rider on the left is a woman, so the shorter shorts can be excused.

    As I said…art.

  45. @Chris No, not when water sources include iodine tablets and streams of questionable source.

    @RedRanger True enough, though I will use one with the topo map and route overlay to keep from taking a random logging trail into oblivion. It is a serious problem and people routinely die in the mountains.

    In both cases, Graveurs do provide an exemption to both Rules; still we must strive to Look Fantastic and indeed I did, but The Rules don’t apply as they would on the road for gravel just as they don’t for CX and MTB.

  46. Personally, I’ve been trying to decide between the purist and camelbak bidon for about three years in terms of which we choose to make the vidon. I’m stumped. They are both amazing.

  47. Bidon straws and bidon jackets…..

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