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Minnie Phinney takes a swig. Photo: pedale.forchetta

Look Pro: Drink Properly

by frank / Apr 30 2014 / 119 posts

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

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