Look Pro: Drink Properly

Minnie Phinney takes a swig. Photo: Pedale.Forchetta
Minnie Phinney takes a swig. Photo: Pedale.Forchetta

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

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119 Replies to “Look Pro: Drink Properly”

  1. The upturned bottle allows you to get a greater angle on the bottle with less movement, more aero.

  2. @DerHoggz

    The upturned bottle allows you to get a greater angle on the bottle with less movement, more aero.

    The question is how you grab it. Everyone drinks from it upside down, genius. Unless you just suck so much the water just flows uphill. And by “suck” I mean both being really crappy and creating an vacuum.

  3. 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.

  4. Grab it from the top, flip it, drink it from the side of mouth.  I’ve always done this, and have been poked fun at for it since I can remember.  Now I know it was just to allow me to keep my eyes  in front, and continue to dish the V (safely).

    The guy below is the best picture I could find depicting my style.

  5. @Ron

    Can “soft skills” cancel out HardMan status?

    Or, if executed properly, do they act to enhance each other?

    Given the grace with which many of the Hardmen glide across the Pave, one could say the Hardmen have the softest skills…

  6. @ryecycle

    Grab it from the top, flip it, drink it from the side of mouth. I’ve always done this, and have been poked fun at for it since I can remember. Now I know it was just to allow me to keep my eyes in front, and continue to dish The V (safely).

    The guy below is the best picture I could find depicting my style.

    Wait…doesn’t the Rule #37 violation here cancel out any possible advice being given? ;-)

  7. @sthilzy

    That is a fucking amazing picture

    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.

  8. Down tube bottle grab: thumb up. Seat tube bottle grab: thumb down. Drink accordingly.

  9. For clarity’s sake, a right hander’s thumb continues to point left in both instances. He typed, semi-drunkenly, whilst cursing the fucking Kings and shit headed NHL officiating.

  10. I will typically empty the down tube bidon first, then do a swap where I hold the empty one in my teeth and swap the full one into the down tube then place empty one in seat tube.  I have no reasoning or justification for this and since I am not riding with you lot, nobody has ever called me on this.  Until I read this article I never even thought about it.

    @starclimber

    Down tube bottle grab: thumb up. Seat tube bottle grab: thumb down. Drink accordingly.

  11. @GogglesPizano

    I will typically empty the down tube bidon first, then do a swap where I hold the empty one in my teeth and swap the full one into the down tube then place empty one in seat tube. I have no reasoning or justification for this and since I am not riding with you lot, nobody has ever called me on this. Until I read this article I never even thought about it.

    I do exactly the same.

    I almost never drink from the seat tube bidon, unless for that one sip I want what is in the seat tube (e.g. if it has water and my ongoing down-tube bidon has energy drink, and I’m trying to wash down a gel with the plain water).

    Then swap them over.

    I think it is because I find the down tube bidon much more easily. I know exactly where it is without having to look or feel around. Seat tube just seems a little trickier.

  12. @ChrisO

    I do the same thing as you and @GogglesPizano.  It’s most likely because it’s the Right Way to do it.  As I’ve told my VMH on more than one occasion, it’s not just My Way, it’s the Right Way.

    My Velominipper insists that she take her bidon with her to swim lessons because in her words “it looks professional” when she sets it at the edge of the pool.  It’s never to early to Look Pro, even off the bike.

  13. I can’t wait for Mini Phinney to start winning something other than fashion-mag-esque posing contests for the cameras, cos when the other foot falls and he learns how to win, it’s gonna be on.

    (Deluding myself this much is quite unprecedented)

  14. @minion

    I can’t wait for Mini Phinney to start winning something other than fashion-mag-esque posing contests for the cameras, cos when the other foot falls and he learns how to win, it’s gonna be on.

    (Deluding myself this much is quite unprecedented)

    Bingo.

  15. but what about his knee-length socks – in black! – and the open zip of his skin suite? Is this according to the rules?

  16. @Greg

    @Haldy Must be a foo-foo drink in that bottle since the pinky is extended.

    It must be cold Tea drunk correctly with little pinky extended.

    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!

  17. @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.

  18. A cycling buddy always calls to me when he is on my wheel “I’m just taking a drink” or “I’m just eating”.  I always think “so?”……

  19. It is very important not to aspirate any water. Something I learnt as an actor is to always breathe in before taking a drink on stage. Its really bad to choke on water when you have a line to deliver especially if you want to stay in character. Anyway, it works on the bike as well. Breathe in as you grab the bottle, then drink.

  20. Frank, fantastic photo! Where do you find them?  But casually deliberate it ain’t unless you mean in the same manner that Borat goes wandering the beach in his mankini.  Actually are you sure that’s not Borat and he’s making a new movie about being a professional cyclist?  Every time I look at that picture, and strangely it makes me want to look again and again, I’m chocking back to urge to let out an uuurgh… accompanied by a shiver.

  21. This may be the worst cycling photo ever. It also brings to mind a quote from Bull Durham. ” If you win 20 in the show, you can let the fungus grow back and the press’ll think you’re colorful. Until you win 20 in the show, however, it means you are a slob.” Now I’m not saying Taylor is a slob or has no style or is a crappy cyclist, cause he’s not,  but as Minion stated “I can’t wait for Mini Phinney to start winning something other than fashion-mag-esque posing contests for the cameras, cos when the other foot falls and he learns how to win, it’s gonna be on.”

    Ride Like DAD!!!

  22. @ryecycle

    Grab it from the top, flip it, drink it from the side of mouth. I’ve always done this, and have been poked fun at for it since I can remember. Now I know it was just to allow me to keep my eyes in front, and continue to dish The V (safely).

    The guy below is the best picture I could find depicting my style.

    That pic looks like a baby goat that’s being bottle fed.

  23. @bici

    but what about his knee-length socks – in black! – and the open zip of his skin suite? Is this according to the rules?

    Great point!  Jeeeezhus, look at those (compression???) socks.  Man, I cannot get behind Mini-Phinney.  I just cannot stand the guy.  Not even sure why?  Must be all the “fashion” photos of him that come out where he looks like a Justin Bieber wannabe.

  24. 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.

  25. Wow, I’m really not feeling the silver & green Empires & black stockings, especially not with BMC team kit. I originally thought there was a typo in the caption, but on second thoughts it may have been judicious:

  26. @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.

     

    WHAT A PHOTO!!!  Fuckin perfect!  Man, I will always be reliving the glory days of my junior high/high school years of racing in the late ’80’s to early ’90’s.  I have not seen this photo before.  Beautiful.  Man, I still respect the hell out of Le Professeur.  Pure class, all the time.

  27. @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.

    The aero guys say it’s better in the seat post cage, in opposition to the style guys. Some would argue then, it depends upon who you’re with (who’s gonna do the yelling).  For the single cage set up, I opt for style. For the double, I drink as you describe. Can’t usually be troubled to switch them out and being able to drink from either one hones your soft skills.

    Le Professor was the man. Fantastic photo.

  28. Yeah, if both bottles contain the same beverage, I swap’em using the teeth on nipple method. Kudos on that Fignon shot, loved that guy.

  29. @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.

    I’m not sure if anyone is in front of him in this picture, but if there is, the look on his face tells me he is going to chase them down, rip their legs off, and eat them while descending…

    Unlike the photo of Phinney, there are too many things wrong….  moon walkers, the clashing of different decades while wearing knee highs….  blah,

  30. @Haldy, @KW –

    I had concerns about the picture overall, but then I realized they would spark conversation.Agreed on the Rule #37 violation, but had to be done to show side-mouth drink.

    And I just spent at least 5 minutes looking at baby goat images.  Poor form: not a side-mouth drinker among them, all straight on.

  31. Racing Masters sometimes you get newb’s in the bunch (when races are not split according to Cat, just age) that can’t seem to manage pulling out a bidon, taking a swig, and putting it back without looking down. Gets all squirrely. Proper removal and return of the bidon should be practiced over n over till it’s just second nature. It looks Pro, and it keeps everyone around you safe.

    That, or you get your buddies to stand at points along the route and just throw it at your face.

  32. @ryecycle

    @Haldy, @KW –

    I had concerns about the picture overall, but then I realized they would spark conversation.Agreed on the Rule #37 violation, but had to be done to show side-mouth drink.

    And I just spent at least 5 minutes looking at baby goat images. Poor form: not a side-mouth drinker among them, all straight on.

    Can’t imagine that searching “Goat sucking nipple” at work yielded any interesting IT violations at all, eh?

  33. @Ron

    Can “soft skills” cancel out HardMan status?

    Or, if executed properly, do they act to enhance each other?

    No, soft skills are acquired through our journey towards becoming hardmen and hardwomen. By the time such status is achieved, the rider in question has immaculately cared-for machines, perfect technique, perfect kit, and executes all of it with an air of being Casually Deliberate.

  34. @ryecycle

    Grab it from the top, flip it, drink it from the side of mouth. I’ve always done this, and have been poked fun at for it since I can remember. Now I know it was just to allow me to keep my eyes in front, and continue to dish The V (safely).

    The guy below is the best picture I could find depicting my style.

    Is that a Sriracha bottle?

    @bici

    but what about his knee-length socks – in black! – and the open zip of his skin suite? Is this according to the rules?

    No, its not, although he’s obviously taking the piss out of himself with everything he’s go going on. Some degree of leeway is also given on account of it being a warmup; once he’s on the road he generally Looks Fantastic as All Times.

  35. @GogglesPizano

    @ChrisO

    @JCM

    @Hammer

    I’m in the bidon swap caste as well.

    @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.

    I wish I had a cleaning crew following me like I do on Haleakala; nothing better than blowing by your DS, VMH, and DS’s VMH cheering at the roadside, chucking the bidon as you crawl by at an imperceptible rate of speed and wait for the car to come back up so you can sticky-bottle the next one onto the rig.

  36. @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.

    @Geraint

    Wow, I’m really not feeling the silver & green Empires & black stockings, especially not with BMC team kit. I originally thought there was a typo in the caption, but on second thoughts it may have been judicious:

    I’ll fix the spelling when he starts winning. Until then, I’ll just be proud that you got the joke.

  37. @frank

    @Ron

    Can “soft skills” cancel out HardMan status?

    Or, if executed properly, do they act to enhance each other?

    No, soft skills are acquired through our journey towards becoming hardmen and hardwomen. By the time such status is achieved, the rider in question has immaculately cared-for machines, perfect technique, perfect kit, and executes all of it with an air of being Casually Deliberate.

    Soft skills can be faked too. How I long for the days of friction shifting, when by the silence of the shift, you could asses the skill of the cyclist.

    Technology can’t help you fake the “float” over pave though. No matter what the big S says.

  38. @minion

    I can’t wait for Mini Phinney to start winning something other than fashion-mag-esque posing contests for the cameras, cos when the other foot falls and he learns how to win, it’s gonna be on.

    (Deluding myself this much is quite unprecedented)

    He’s a ponce for sure, but I love it. His dad did a lot of legg talking, but he certainly also had a flair for style.

    [dmalbum: path=”/velominati.com/wp-content/uploads/readers/frank/2014.05.01.09.59.58/1//”/]

  39. @scaler911

    Racing Masters sometimes you get newb’s in the bunch (when races are not split according to Cat, just age) that can’t seem to manage pulling out a bidon, taking a swig, and putting it back without looking down. Gets all squirrely. Proper removal and return of the bidon should be practiced over n over till it’s just second nature. It looks Pro, and it keeps everyone around you safe.

    That, or you get your buddies to stand at points along the route and just throw it at your face.

     

    yep, thats me, in reality, thankful if I can drink and breath without choking due to the pace

    in the ethereal realm of my mind, I would much rather take the Bidon…top first, sit up from my pull of the entire pack as we are souplesse-lee cruising at 50kph….flip the fucker over in mid air, catch it and take but a sip, and throw it back down again til next need….

    but no, I’m more the sucker off the back, just glad to get a sip and breath….

  40. @frank

    @Ron

    Can “soft skills” cancel out HardMan status?

    Or, if executed properly, do they act to enhance each other?

    No, soft skills are acquired through our journey towards becoming hardmen and hardwomen. By the time such status is achieved, the rider in question has immaculately cared-for machines, perfect technique, perfect kit, and executes all of it with an air of being Casually Deliberate.

    Got it! Thank you.

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