Minnie Phinney takes a swig. Photo: Pedale.Forchetta

Look Pro: Drink Properly

Look Pro: Drink Properly

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Riding a bicycle involves much more than just pushing the pedals around in a perfect sweep of muscular elegance while Looking Fantastic at all times. There are all sorts of soft skills involved like learning to shift properly, learning to corner properly, learning to crash properly, learning to criticize a fellow rider’s puncture-repair technique, learning to chide a struggling rider in a language you don’t speak, and learning to drink from your bidon1 while in full flight.

One of the cornerstones of being Casually Deliberate is the art of gracefully sipping from your bidon while riding butt-to-check-to-shoulder-to-elbow in the bunch at 50 kmph or while suffering on the wheels in the gutter. Ain’t no one gonna wait for your sissy ass while you ask everyone to slow down because you’re a bit parched. Whats worse is having to look down and take your eyes off the road and the rider in front of you as your hand flails about in search of the bidon.

To drink from a bidon is to sip from it in a graceful and fluid manner while maintaining direction and speed without making an embarrassing faux pas such as looking down at your hand as you reach for it, not holding your line, slowing down, allowing a bit of precious fluid to escape somewhere other than into your mouth, or – Merckx forbid – dropping it. Just like the art of sensing what gear you’re in or being aware that your tires are about to slip while cornering or climbing, we must learn to retrieve our bidon from its cage, take a drink, and return it without your eyes ever leaving the road or rider in front of you or swerving.

On the rivet, one must also learn to drink in a manner that allows for breathing while avoiding the aspiration of fluid, resulting in what Science calls “choking”. There is no set technique for this; for me I usually drink in frequent small sips, but I will also chug in massive bursts of bidon-crushing squeezes when the occasion calls for it.

As for whether one is to grab the bidon upside down or rightside up, I grab mine rightside up but the population appears to divided along what I call the “Hamburger Divide”. This divide is defined by the inexplicable tendency for people to flip their hamburgers over and lay them upside down on their plate, twisting their hands around, and flipping the burger over during its journey to the mouth where it is (hopefully) eaten. This technique seems woefully rife with superfluous movements. Nevertheless, preliminary survey data suggests that those individuals who eat their burgers this way also grab their bidon upside down. Admittedly, Jan Ullrich made drinking from a bidon in this fashion look hella tough, so I’m not about to impose a new Rule insisting on its abolishment. I’m also betting he made eating a hamburger look pretty awesome, mostly because everything he did was art.

1Pronounce it correctly: bee’ don

// Look Pro

  1. @Gianni

    I remember watching Laurent Fignon (in his Chateau d’Ax-Gatorade kit) soloing away in a Tour stage, in the mountains. Everytime he went for the bidon he held it the same way; hand underneath, palm up, pinky finger closest to face. It looked so pro I assumed that was how it should be done and how I’ve always done it since. And even though it drives Frank nuts, if I have one bottle on my bike, I have in the seat-post cage.

    This.  Always.  I’ve also heard that keeping the hand underneath keeps your elbow in, reducing frontal area (and hence drag), as well as making it less likely someone or something will catch your arm flapping around like a bird and cause a crash.

    And Fignon was a monster.

  2. @The Grande Fondue

    Was looking for a pic of Cancellara throwing his bidon away to match the Boonen one.

    Instead I found this:

    Unrelated, but Frank Schleck. Maybe reaching for a new bidon?

    I have trouble imagining Hinault doing that.

    Actually that’s also Faboo, but on the final stage of the 2008 Tour.  (The only time CSC has the chance to ride with yellow bar wrap.)

  3. @Owen

    @Mikael Liddy That baby’s tan lines are not Rule #7 compliant. One demerit.

    Yes, that Pedalwan has much to learn yet, but at least s/he has started down the path.

  4. @Frank-

    But this one take the crown for most Casually Deliberate drinking technique.

    Love it!

  5. Speaking of correct pronunciation, I’ve been digging this: http://www.speedmetalcycling.com/name-that-cyclist/

    I hope they expand it to more cycling terms – and I note that they’re looking for native speakers to help – they definitely need an Aussie to correct the Heinrich Haussler entry – I’m pretty sure it’s pronounced “Hen-ry House-la-mayt”.

  6. @sthilzy

    To finish drinking properly looking pro, don’t forget to jettison the bidon properly;

    one must also learn to drink in a manner that allows for breathing while avoiding the aspiration of fluid

    This is one thing yet to master.

    Beat me to it…. I had that photo locked and loaded ready to post.    Nothing says ” get the fuck outa my way ” quite like that photo !

  7. @Mikael Liddy Cayute! Must be coming up 1yr soon? Velomigrommie 2 is walking and climbing on everything and from memory is close in age to yours.

    I’m with @ChrisO on the bidon transfer system. No one way to skin the ‘nana though.

    My mechanic is on the smoothly pull form cage, flick up and over in the air, catch and underhand sip, then smoothly transfer back to the cage method. It looks fooking boss, but he is a pain engine on the bike, so you’d expect it from him…

  8. @Barracuda

    @sthilzy

    To finish drinking properly looking pro, don’t forget to jettison the bidon properly;

    one must also learn to drink in a manner that allows for breathing while avoiding the aspiration of fluid

    This is one thing yet to master.

    Beat me to it…. I had that photo locked and loaded ready to post. Nothing says ” get the fuck outa my way ” quite like that photo !

    It seems full still…Maybe he hasn’t mastered replacing the bidon in its proper place and is throwing it in frustration at his inability…or maybe he just doesn’t care that it’s nearly full because he has 8 riders, at least one team car, and legions of gsns eager to replace that bottle.  Must be nice to be Boonen.

  9. @Beers today in fact, this puppy is locked & loaded in the present queue: http://www.earlyrider.net.au/shop/products/juno-red

  10. @Mikael Liddy

    @Beers today in fact, this puppy is locked & loaded in the present queue: http://www.earlyrider.net.au/shop/products/juno-red

    Ahhh, the good ol’  Spherovelo.   Looks aero, ITT’s round the lounge room ?

  11. @frank

    @piwakawaka

    @Teocalli.

    On rides long enough to justify two bidons pure water on the down tube and energy drink on the seat tube. For some reason I flip it by chucking in the air (only a little way) and catching it again – always done it that way and never dropped one yet – that’s put the mockers on that!

    I drink right handed from the down tube and store on the seat tube, I grab the top of the bidon and also throw it up, just enough to catch it around the waist and drink into the side of my mouth.

    I almost never drink whilst on the rivet, probably not on it for long enough… There will always be a moment of peace, quick, drink.

    This throwing the bidon in the air bizniz has my mind blown. I’m going to need a video in order to comprehend and then pass judgement.

    Checked my form today, would be hard to film, it’s all done in the same movement, and I definitely don’t flip it, as you pull the bidon up you just let it go momentum moves it up and I just grab it again further down allowing you to squeeze around the waist, no suck required. It’s probably in the air for .25 of a second, so would need Go-Pro on Slow-Mo to show you, unless you can get a book release tour down under past the accountants!

  12. What is the punishment for drinking from a Camelback whilst riding?  Does it hurt?  A lot?

  13. @jyl

    What is the punishment for drinking from a Camelback whilst riding? Does it hurt? A lot?

    They say the drinking tube only stings for a little bit, thankfully, you being on this site, means hopefully you wont have to find out, hold the line and all will be fine !

  14. @therealpeel

    @Barracuda

    @sthilzy

    To finish drinking properly looking pro, don’t forget to jettison the bidon properly;

    one must also learn to drink in a manner that allows for breathing while avoiding the aspiration of fluid

    This is one thing yet to master.

    Beat me to it…. I had that photo locked and loaded ready to post. Nothing says ” get the fuck outa my way ” quite like that photo !

    It seems full still…Maybe he hasn’t mastered replacing the bidon in its proper place and is throwing it in frustration at his inability…or maybe he just doesn’t care that it’s nearly full because he has 8 riders, at least one team car, and legions of gsns eager to replace that bottle. Must be nice to be Boonen.

    Considering the context of that pic (it was taken when Boonen soloed off the front of the peloton on the way to winning his 4th Paris-Roubaix) I think it’s more “Drinking done. Now I ride“.

  15. @The Grande Fondue

    @therealpeel

    @Barracuda

    @sthilzy

    To finish drinking properly looking pro, don’t forget to jettison the bidon properly;

    one must also learn to drink in a manner that allows for breathing while avoiding the aspiration of fluid

    This is one thing yet to master.

    Beat me to it…. I had that photo locked and loaded ready to post. Nothing says ” get the fuck outa my way ” quite like that photo !

    It seems full still…Maybe he hasn’t mastered replacing the bidon in its proper place and is throwing it in frustration at his inability…or maybe he just doesn’t care that it’s nearly full because he has 8 riders, at least one team car, and legions of gsns eager to replace that bottle. Must be nice to be Boonen.

    Considering the context of that pic (it was taken when Boonen soloed off the front of the peloton on the way to winning his 4th Paris-Roubaix) I think it’s more “Drinking done. Now I ride“.

    Hence my comment above,    and   ” This drinking business is too time consuming, its wasting my time ! “

  16. Either Tyler’s black tie dress is too short and too colorful or he brought the wrong socks.

  17. @Barracuda Yeah, my comment was in reply to “maybe he just doesn’t care that it’s nearly full because he has 8 riders, at least one team car, and legions of gsns eager to replace that bottle. Must be nice to be Boonen.”

  18. I find it hard to believe lengthy conversations about (amongst other things) how to drink from a bottle (sorry, bidon). Only advantage is while you are talking about such things I’ll go try to put some k’s on my flabby legs.

  19. @piwakawaka

    @frank

    @piwakawaka

    @Teocalli.

    On rides long enough to justify two bidons pure water on the down tube and energy drink on the seat tube. For some reason I flip it by chucking in the air (only a little way) and catching it again – always done it that way and never dropped one yet – that’s put the mockers on that!

    I drink right handed from the down tube and store on the seat tube, I grab the top of the bidon and also throw it up, just enough to catch it around the waist and drink into the side of my mouth.

    I almost never drink whilst on the rivet, probably not on it for long enough… There will always be a moment of peace, quick, drink.

    This throwing the bidon in the air bizniz has my mind blown. I’m going to need a video in order to comprehend and then pass judgement.

    Checked my form today, would be hard to film, it’s all done in the same movement, and I definitely don’t flip it, as you pull the bidon up you just let it go momentum moves it up and I just grab it again further down allowing you to squeeze around the waist, no suck required. It’s probably in the air for .25 of a second, so would need Go-Pro on Slow-Mo to show you, unless you can get a book release tour down under past the accountants!

    Yeah, thinking about it that’s pretty much what I do.

  20. @Brianold55 Perhaps if you spent enough time on a bike not to have flabby  legs (urgh), you’d also spend enough time on a bike to consider the minutiae of ensuring perfect form and efficiency at all times.  As well as to Lighten The Fuck Up.

    Just a thought.

  21. FWIW, right hand, thumb forward pointing down, fingers in line with direction of travel, pointing down.

    Grasp bidon, bend elbow to bring bidon to mouth;

    Drink.

    Repeat in reverse.

    Minimal movement. No bidon movement or re-grasping. No chance of dropping.

  22. @Barracuda touch big just now but there were definite signs of the stoke on his face getting pushed around on it tonight. Won’t be long.

  23. @frank

    But nothing wrong with this one, either:

    Flip forward 80 years from when this shot was taken and it could be you and Gianni sat outside the Rapha Club.

  24. @andrew Hi mate. Nothing wrong with thinking. Relatively flabby because its almost winter here my friend. I think Lightening the Fuck Up was what I was advocating.

    Love the old pic above

  25. @Mike_P

    @frank

    But nothing wrong with this one, either:

    Flip forward 80 years from when this shot was taken and it could be you and Gianni sat outside the Rapha Club.

    Shit, is that an old photo?  I thought it was Frank and Gianni on the original Keepers’ Tour.

  26. @Teocalli I think you and I may be at risk of a mini-pump beating!

  27. @jyl

    What is the punishment for drinking from a Camelback whilst riding? Does it hurt? A lot?

    If you’re on a road bike, the punishment is endless piss taking and stripping of at least two levels of Velominatus status.

  28. @Mike_P

    @frank

    But nothing wrong with this one, either:

    Flip forward 80 years from when this shot was taken and it could be you and Gianni sat outside the Rapha Club.

    This is gonna rule. Can’t wait to see my boy Gianni. And @spankles. And my nephew who I have seen in ages who will be making the trip up to NYC from DC.

  29. @Brianold55

    @andrew Hi mate. Nothing wrong with thinking. Relatively flabby because its almost winter here my friend. I think Lightening the Fuck Up was what I was advocating.

    Love the old pic above

    Surely if its almost winter, shouldn’t your guns be magnificent, honed and tan from a summer of crushing fools? And if you’re coming out the other end of winter, wouldn’t your guns would still be honed because you’d be out killing it in Rule #9 conditions or slaving away on the turbo?

    Sorry, can’t understand why guns should ever be flabby. But to your point, no need to read the hundred or so posts about drinking from a bidon. In fact, no need to even read the article. Especially if this shit doesn’t appeal to you.

  30. @frank

    @Brianold55

    @andrew Hi mate. Nothing wrong with thinking. Relatively flabby because its almost winter here my friend. I think Lightening the Fuck Up was what I was advocating.

    Love the old pic above

    Surely if its almost winter, shouldn’t your guns be magnificent, honed and tan from a summer of crushing fools? And if you’re coming out the other end of winter, wouldn’t your guns would still be honed because you’d be out killing it in Rule #9 conditions or slaving away on the turbo?

    Sorry, can’t understand why guns should ever be flabby. But to your point, no need to read the hundred or so posts about drinking from a bidon. In fact, no need to even read the article. Especially if this shit doesn’t appeal to you.

    Hell, we all know that we are only here for the photos.  It’s like BigRingRiding around here with a bunch if usless text thrown in between the pics!

  31. @frank see email I sent to you and Gianni pending on your reply as to whether you would be interested…..

  32. Excuse me, but just what the fuck is all this Bidon pop swankery without mention of the fact that this gentleman is wearing Beats by Dr Dre. It has not gone unnoticed that they are becoming a common sight in situations such as this. I do believe that there is even colour matching going on.

    Now if that isn’t over matching then there is fuck else that is.

    However that is not the worst of it. Just what exactly has a Hip-Producer cashing in on his somewhat dubious past a part Gangster come Blunt Smoking Home Boy associated with Niggers With Attitude got to do with the beautiful history of the sport of cycling?

    It has nothing to do with sound quality, any audiophile will tell you that those cans cost a lot of money and sound like you are listening to your tunes through a deep layer of mud.

    This must have been brought to your attention before, yet I see no mention of it. Sometimes it takes fresh eyes. So you are welcome. However please refrain from causing me further distress by posting pictures of cyclists come “Homeslices” no matter the point that you are trying to illustrate. Thank You.

  33. @Haldy

    @frank

    @Haldy

    @wiscot

    @Haldy

    @frank

    @Ccos

    Le Professor was the man. Fantastic photo.

    Yes, he was. As @Gianni says, if Figgles did it, then it was mucho Pro.

    Love this shot too, although I can’t understand why he’d be on Canti’s on a mountain stage.

     

     

    Ran out of spare bikes, and broke out a training bike? There is no race number on the bike he’s riding….

    Because they were lighter and better than the Campagnolo Deltas the other riders are using?

    In which case he still could be using the standard calipers, since they still made them? I still think it is some sort of back up bike since it doesn’t have a race number on it and he had some sort of mechanical prior to this point of the race.

    If it was weight, they’d have ridden Chorus Monoplanars like PDM did – and his training bikes would all have been road bikes; the CX rig would have different geometry, most notably the higher BB. Not to mention that the canti braking power would have been much, much, much reduced over calipers, another thing you’d not want during a mountain descent.

    Reduced braking power….isn’t that what you want on a descent? After all brakes only slow you down. I seem to remember Fignon having lost it on a descent in the ’87 tour and I am pretty sure he had calipers on that day. :-)

    All kidding aside, that set up is probably more powerful than standard calipers. Having worked on more than a few set-ups like that myself over the years. If set up correctly (and I am assuming the team mechanic knew what he was doing..) those levers have a greater mechanical advantage than the mountain bike levers those cantis would have been normally paired with.

    I love those old school Coke bidons! In fact, I bought this one: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007HZYB1K/ref=oh_details_o04_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 on Amazon. I know it’s not exactly like the one The Prof is sporting, but…And yes, I took off the top clear plastic thing.

  34. @unversio

    @frank

    This is my approach…

    Fab Sinatra wearing helmet askew again.

    His helmet is not “askew.” Fabs is wearing it at a rakish angle.

  35. @vespertine

    Excuse me, but just what the fuck is all this Bidon pop swankery without mention of the fact that this gentleman is wearing Beats by Dr Dre. It has not gone unnoticed that they are becoming a common sight in situations such as this. I do believe that there is even colour matching going on.

    Now if that isn’t over matching then there is fuck else that is.

    However that is not the worst of it. Just what exactly has a Hip-Producer cashing in on his somewhat dubious past a part Gangster come Blunt Smoking Home Boy associated with Niggers With Attitude got to do with the beautiful history of the sport of cycling?

    It has nothing to do with sound quality, any audiophile will tell you that those cans cost a lot of money and sound like you are listening to your tunes through a deep layer of mud.

    This must have been brought to your attention before, yet I see no mention of it. Sometimes it takes fresh eyes. So you are welcome. However please refrain from causing me further distress by posting pictures of cyclists come “Homeslices” no matter the point that you are trying to illustrate. Thank You.

    Nice rant. I particularly liked the “Bidon pop swankery” part–gave me a good chuckle.

  36. @Buck Rogers

    @frank

    @Brianold55

    @andrew Hi mate. Nothing wrong with thinking. Relatively flabby because its almost winter here my friend. I think Lightening the Fuck Up was what I was advocating.

    Love the old pic above

    Surely if its almost winter, shouldn’t your guns be magnificent, honed and tan from a summer of crushing fools? And if you’re coming out the other end of winter, wouldn’t your guns would still be honed because you’d be out killing it in Rule #9 conditions or slaving away on the turbo?

    Sorry, can’t understand why guns should ever be flabby. But to your point, no need to read the hundred or so posts about drinking from a bidon. In fact, no need to even read the article. Especially if this shit doesn’t appeal to you.

    Hell, we all know that we are only here for the photos. It’s like BigRingRiding around here with a bunch if usless text thrown in between the pics!

    So what you’re saying is Velominati is the exact opposite of Playboy?

  37. @frank

    @Mike_P

    @frank

    But nothing wrong with this one, either:

    Flip forward 80 years from when this shot was taken and it could be you and Gianni sat outside the Rapha Club.

    This is gonna rule. Can’t wait to see my boy Gianni. And @spankles. And my nephew who I have seen in ages who will be making the trip up to NYC from DC.

    Hope it goes really well. Have a ball and several beers.

  38. @frank

    @Haldy

    @wiscot

    @Haldy

    @frank

    @Ccos

    Le Professor was the man. Fantastic photo.

    Yes, he was. As @Gianni says, if Figgles did it, then it was mucho Pro.

    Love this shot too, although I can’t understand why he’d be on Canti’s on a mountain stage.

    Ran out of spare bikes, and broke out a training bike? There is no race number on the bike he’s riding….

    Because they were lighter and better than the Campagnolo Deltas the other riders are using?

    In which case he still could be using the standard calipers, since they still made them? I still think it is some sort of back up bike since it doesn’t have a race number on it and he had some sort of mechanical prior to this point of the race.

    If it was weight, they’d have ridden Chorus Monoplanars like PDM did – and his training bikes would all have been road bikes; the CX rig would have different geometry, most notably the higher BB. Not to mention that the canti braking power would have been much, much, much reduced over calipers, another thing you’d not want during a mountain descent.

    Picture has been reviewed elsewhere on the interweb – best I can deduce he thought 1991 era cantis had better stopping power. But then elsewhere on the web it goes on about faked moon landings and black helicopters so I don’t really know.

  39. @frank So you would read Playboy for the articles?  I read this stuff for the great photos and odd incisive comment and inspiring, nay beautiful turn of phrase that illuminates a little more the Path to be followed.   And probably hard on myself but there is always a difference in my mind between the magnificence my guns should aspire to and where I think they actually are.

  40. Fuck. Think I clicked reply instead of quote…

  41. @frank  enjoyed meeting the four of you.  One of the highlights (the highlight?) of a quick NYC trip, especially appreciative since we didn’t think we’d get there in time.  Regards.

  42. Look Pro: Drink Properly with Laurens ten Dam. End of.

  43. @Mikael Liddy

    @Beers today in fact, this puppy is locked & loaded in the present queue: http://www.earlyrider.net.au/shop/products/juno-red

    That’s awesome!

  44. @Chris “glug, glug, glug, chink!”

  45. @Chris where, why & how fucking awesome is that?

  46. @Mikael Liddy I’ve no idea about the where or the how but why the fuck not!

    I’m assuming he’s gone off the back as it would seem a little early to celebrate with 67km to go with a lead of only 7:40.

  47. ultimate bidon if you wanna LOOK Pro!

  48. @WindDrifter

    ultimate bidon if you wanna LOOK Pro!

    Dude, Rule #33 if you wanna LOOK Pro!

    Nice steed from what can see from your pic!

  49. @sthilzy

    What can I say, I’m lazy. I did Rule #33 two months ago, blimey it grows fast! Ask my VMH, she thinks my closest relatives live in the zoo.

    Steed is nice. Still, I’m too fat for climbing.. (don’t really wanna show pics because of the many rule violations, it LOOKs like shit with the frame pump, but I just hate having that think in my jersey, but here you go..)

  50. @Chris Ten Dam is awesome. I now know why he is covered in flandrian gum at the end of each race. Its beer froth. Nice work.

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