Bladder control

Posted: September 26, 2011 in 2011, General

In the past, water used to be carried in bottles. They got a bit grubby in the winter but the rest of the time the system worked really well. Then came the camelbak, that ubiquitous piece of kit that marks us out from roadies and other two wheeled travellers. You can spot a mountain biker a mile off, whether he be on a road bike or his more normal mode of transport – yes, it is the hump, nestling on his back, full to the brim with stuff. Well, this summer, having been shown the light by MM, I have started riding without one again, and what a joy it has been.

First of all, if you are going for epic rides necessitating the carrying of spare this, that and the other, additional food and clothing against foul weather, then they are a boon, a positive leap forward in the realms of personal load bearing and hydration technology. If however, you are going nowhere more hazardous than Thetford Forest, a road/bridleway blast for a couple of hours or simply hooning about at the local jump spot, you have to ask yourself why. Why do you expend extra energy humping a few cwt of kit and water round? I dug around in my camelbak recently and found all sorts of stuff from first aid, tubes for a 29er, a 26er and a CX bike, valve extenders I no longer use, a million old wrappers, duplicated tools, about 6 or 7 tyre levers, a ‘phone I had lost, headphones for an MP3 player I never took out with me and a fistful of zip ties. The bladder is pretty big too, and is usually full to bursting. Lifting it up I realised just how heavy the damn thing was, no wonder I was getting sweaty with this thing clamped to my back.

Cutting out the crap, and thinning the contents down to cover just what I needed took all of three or four minutes and, with the exception of the first aid kit (still working on that one) I sallied forth with my new lightweight load out. Water in two .75l bottles, food, tube, levers, trail tool a ‘phone. Since then, I have not returned to the way of the camelbak but no doubt, when the mud and crud returns to the trail I will have to revise my plans or make do with gritty drinks 😦 In the meantime, the sense of freedom is palpable. Try it, exercise some bladder control i.e. leave the rotten thing at home, it is quite liberating.

  1. ady says:

    Intresting reading as have been using a camel back for years ,but only carry the things i need ,i had a quick ride the other week and in my haste to get out forgot camel back and have to agree it felt good .
    The only down side with bottles is the mud and i allways used to lose the one in my back pocket as can not fit 2 off bottle cages on my bike

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