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Old 07-07-15, 12:15 AM   #1
kba
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Help on balance & technique - riding while drinking from a water bottle

Hi

I am fairly new to road biking. A skill that would be helpful for me to have is being able to keep pedaling, grab my water bottle, drink water, and put it back. I know this is a VERY basic skill, and I see those who ride with me do it very easily.

I was able to grab the water bottle but too scared to put it back while in motion. I tried to practice getting confident in pedaling with only having one arm on the handlebar. I did not last too long or started wobbling side to side.

Any tips on gaining this skill? I am hoping I don't need to get a hydration backpack for a long road ride I want to do, and I also know its better to keep going and not stopping every time you need a sip of water (the weather will be hot July 19th in Iowa, so I know I will need to take sips frequently)

Thanks
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Old 07-07-15, 12:36 AM   #2
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Practice.

Perhaps try using the water bottles on a deserted country road, or a quiet section of a shopping center parking lot. Stop lights, of course, are handy for a quick nip too.

I find that I don't do too many things at a time. Drink during low risk situations. Put the bottle away when taking off, cornering, maneuvering around traffic, etc.

I have found that a camelback can be handy for longer rides. I have a camelback/small pack combo which has some of my additionaql important items for the trip (pump, lights, wallet, phone, etc).
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Old 07-07-15, 01:12 AM   #3
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just keep doing it, it will come.
you want to be a good biker, get a fixed gear bike
takes about 3 months to get comfortable on it
but it will improve everything about your riding
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Old 07-07-15, 01:59 AM   #4
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Move your left hand closer to the middle of the handlebars. Not right in the middle, but on the top of the bar, close-ish to the middle.

Coast with your right leg straight.

Reach down with your right hand and remove your bottle from the holder.

Resume pedalling and drink.

Coast with your right leg straight.

Reach down with your right hand and replace your bottle.

Move your hands back onto the hoods.



And yes, try this on a very quiet flat road.

Last edited by Machka; 07-07-15 at 02:07 AM.
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Old 07-07-15, 03:45 AM   #5
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If you need to work on bike handling, do some low-speed practice drills, such as slalom and picking up cans from the road. Don't do this in clipless pedals. Ride as slowly as you can and you will improve your balance.
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Old 07-07-15, 08:32 AM   #6
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Take it one thing at a time.

Don't worry about the bottle until you can ride indefinitely (or nearly so) with one hand. You want to be able to handle rough roads and unexpected bumps with one hand in riding position, then you can work on drinking while pedaling.
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Old 07-07-15, 09:32 AM   #7
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I caught your reference to July 19th in Iowa - RAGBRI. You are right it will be hot and the first day is quite hilly. Possibly the technique Machka suggested while coasting down the hills. I rode part of the first day route and was free wheeling down some of the hills between 25 and 30 mph, balance will be important and appreciated when riding in that large of a crowd.
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Old 07-07-15, 09:55 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Move your left hand closer to the middle of the handlebars. Not right in the middle, but on the top of the bar, close-ish to the middle.

Coast with your right leg straight.

Reach down with your right hand and remove your bottle from the holder.

Resume pedalling and drink.

Coast with your right leg straight.

Reach down with your right hand and replace your bottle.

Move your hands back onto the hoods.



And yes, try this on a very quiet flat road.
This is exactly what I do unless I am on my fixed gear bike but that is a whole other story. Also, when drinking, don't lean your head back to drink. Tilt your head to the side and squirt the bottle in your mouth. This is how the pros do it.

This video shows exactly how you would do that. Watch what he does. It keeps your eyes on the road and you will be prepared for almost anything. You will learn this by feel and won't even have to look down much.

https://youtu.be/9HNevJY-5n8?t=1m15s
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Old 07-07-15, 10:37 AM   #9
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I'm Fine with Stopping and then having a drink from My water-bottle. I'm Not in Any Race..

I have one on my Nightstand by the Bed Too..
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Old 07-07-15, 10:50 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kba View Post
Hi

I am fairly new to road biking. A skill that would be helpful for me to have is being able to keep pedaling, grab my water bottle, drink water, and put it back. I know this is a VERY basic skill, and I see those who ride with me do it very easily.

I was able to grab the water bottle but too scared to put it back while in motion. I tried to practice getting confident in pedaling with only having one arm on the handlebar. I did not last too long or started wobbling side to side.

Any tips on gaining this skill? I am hoping I don't need to get a hydration backpack for a long road ride I want to do, and I also know its better to keep going and not stopping every time you need a sip of water (the weather will be hot July 19th in Iowa, so I know I will need to take sips frequently)

Thanks
The same way you get to Carnegie Hall.

And once you've mastered that, start working on riding no handed, taking food from your jersey pockets, eating, putting on/taking off clothing.

Last edited by caloso; 07-07-15 at 01:36 PM.
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Old 07-07-15, 01:35 PM   #11
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In the short term you can get a handle-bar mounted water bottle cage, or one that mounts to the top bar, or get a camel back or similar hydration system.
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Old 07-07-15, 02:39 PM   #12
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Worry about learning to control the bike and forget about having to sip water so often. I seems that we as a nation have become obsessed with staying hydrated. Drink before you start riding and then when you stop for a rest. You are not going to suffer heat exhaustion

I live in the Mojave Desert and ride 15 to 25 miles on most mornings. This includes riding the hilly routes on alternate days. I carry a 20 oz water bottle but rarely take a drink from it, instead use the drinking fountains found at local parks. Most of these are around 5 miles apart so that means I am going 5 or more miles without stopping for a drink. This time of year the temperature is 90 degrees around the time I start out. I never had a problem staying hydrated using this regime.
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Old 07-07-15, 07:46 PM   #13
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I started using water bottles held in downtube cages so long ago that I can't remember whether or not there was a learning curve.
I do remember that 8 years ago when I started using the bottle cages on each side of the back of the seat on my first recumbent bike - you have to reach around to behind your mid back - that it took a number of miles/weeks/rides to feel comfortable getting a drink while moving along. No longer an issue.
With practice and patience, you'll be fine drinking as you ride. In the meantime, take it easy, slow down to drink if need be, stop if you gotta.
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Old 07-07-15, 07:50 PM   #14
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One tip that will help is to not pedal while you are drinking. I take drinks when I am able to coast down gentle downs grades. Or if I'm in a group when I'm toward the back and can coast off the draft.
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Old 07-08-15, 05:24 AM   #15
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Another vote for coasting while removing/replacing bottle. Bottles with a defined indented area or waist are easier to handle.
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Old 07-08-15, 05:35 AM   #16
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kba,
Well, there were three or four really helpful responses (thanks, Machka), and you'd do well to heed those. Coasting briefly, support hand to center, reaching with the same hand as leg down, etc. That's good.

Also, I taught my college-aged daughter to simply reach down and touch the bottle while riding. Not to remove it and drink, just to know by feel where it was located. I also worked with her to keep her eyes on the road - to not look down while using the bottle. There's nothing to really see down there. It's always in the exact same location with regard to your shoulders and torso, so practice is key to developing muscle memory.

Practice removing and replacing the bottle frequently while in low stress situations.

Things to NOT do:
- wait to drink at stops or simply before/after
- wear a hydration pack
- switch to a fixed gear now

Things to do:
- practice touching and handling the bottle
- keep your eyes up
- work on hand position and balance
- engage your core muscles when you ride

You'll get it.
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Old 07-08-15, 05:49 AM   #17
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Practice the motions of taking the bottle out & replacing it.
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Old 07-09-15, 11:53 PM   #18
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kba,
Well, there were three or four really helpful responses (thanks, Machka), and you'd do well to heed those. Coasting briefly, support hand to center, reaching with the same hand as leg down, etc. That's good.

Also, I taught my college-aged daughter to simply reach down and touch the bottle while riding. Not to remove it and drink, just to know by feel where it was located. I also worked with her to keep her eyes on the road - to not look down while using the bottle. There's nothing to really see down there. It's always in the exact same location with regard to your shoulders and torso, so practice is key to developing muscle memory.

Practice removing and replacing the bottle frequently while in low stress situations.

Things to NOT do:
- wait to drink at stops or simply before/after
- wear a hydration pack
- switch to a fixed gear now

Things to do:
- practice touching and handling the bottle
- keep your eyes up
- work on hand position and balance
- engage your core muscles when you ride

You'll get it.
To all, thanks so much for the responses! I Actually typed a post, but it never got saved.

I started and will continue practicing getting confidence in pedaling with one hand, near the center of the handlebar, as Machka suggested, and coasting with the leg straight but making to keep looking straight and center, touching the water bottle for muscle memory.

It gets pretty humid in Georgia, and ragbrai will be hot, so I assume I will need to be taking short sips of water, and not just at the stops. Plus I also perspire quite a bit.

I broke down and ordered a hydration pack (a small 2 L one - I was told if its ice cold, it will feel good on my back). I am getting it as a backup in case I don't get the practice I need to master this skill by next week (which is when I leave for ragbrai).
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Old 07-10-15, 09:45 AM   #19
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Worry about learning to control the bike and forget about having to sip water so often. I seems that we as a nation have become obsessed with staying hydrated. Drink before you start riding and then when you stop for a rest. You are not going to suffer heat exhaustion

I live in the Mojave Desert and ride 15 to 25 miles on most mornings. This includes riding the hilly routes on alternate days. I carry a 20 oz water bottle but rarely take a drink from it, instead use the drinking fountains found at local parks. Most of these are around 5 miles apart so that means I am going 5 or more miles without stopping for a drink. This time of year the temperature is 90 degrees around the time I start out. I never had a problem staying hydrated using this regime.
Do not listen to this advice.

You may need water before 5 miles, and most group rides/charity rides/tours/races do NOT stop every 5 miles. Many many rides are more than 15-25 miles and need regular, early, and frequent drinking. Your personal water requirements may be more or less than the poster's as well.

You can dehydrate. It sucks if it happens.

Its all in bike handling practice. In group rides, its even trickier, you gotta pick your spots, IE, don't do it when you are pulling unless costing to a stop light or turn or something, don't do it just before or after a sprint or turn, DO do it during a steady, straight piece of road when you are somewhere off the front of the pace. If you see someone in front of you drinking, give them a little extra space and be alert for quick movements/acceleration/deceleration and loose bottles.
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Old 07-10-15, 05:52 PM   #20
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KAB and RAGBRAI

KBA:

Darn, no one mentioned a helmet that holds two beer cans, which is more in the RAGBRAI tradition! Everything will work out fine, just take your time and don't get in a hurry.

Have fun and enjoy your first RAGBRAI and maybe I'll see you someplace after Sioux City.
Tom
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Old 07-11-15, 06:44 AM   #21
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I don't remember this being so hard to learn, but then I started cycling in the era of downtube shifters, so dropping a hand to a bottle cage wasn't much different. Practice makes perfect... The advice to move your other hand closer to the center of the bar is good—makes the reach to the bottle not so awkward. And only on flats at first, hills (up or down) would only make something a bit disconcerting into something terrifying
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Old 08-11-15, 06:13 PM   #22
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Hi all,
I wanted to update everyone. I rode 2 days of RAGBRAI, about 140 miles total. During my practice before and during ragbrai, I practiced riding with one hand on the handle bar. When I felt OK with that, I then tried putting my hand where the water bottle was and back. Next, actually grabbing the bottle, drinking (tilted such that I was still looking straight ahead), and putting it back while all still looking straight ahead.

I had a basic pop top water bottle but am thinking to get the camel bak (or something similar) so that I don't have to open and close the water bottle with my teeth.
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Old 08-11-15, 07:32 PM   #23
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Just leave to water bottle pop-top open after the first drink or 2
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Old 08-11-15, 07:44 PM   #24
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Hi all,
I wanted to update everyone. I rode 2 days of RAGBRAI, about 140 miles total. During my practice before and during ragbrai, I practiced riding with one hand on the handle bar. When I felt OK with that, I then tried putting my hand where the water bottle was and back. Next, actually grabbing the bottle, drinking (tilted such that I was still looking straight ahead), and putting it back while all still looking straight ahead.

I had a basic pop top water bottle but am thinking to get the camel bak (or something similar) so that I don't have to open and close the water bottle with my teeth.
Good, learning to replace a bottle in the cage without looking is a pro skill. I can do it easily after quite a lot of practicing over the years, but I'm still not too good at pulling and replacing the bottle while pedaling without coasting.

I only use Camelbak bottles now. Their silicone valve works great, you just squeeze the bottle and the water flows. No plug to pull up. And there's a separate locking ring to keep the water from flowing at all. I also use them to with a short, hard shake to make a splash of water onto my arms or legs on hot days.

It's good for squirting at chasing dogs, I can aim and then squeeze. The bottles are expensive, but worth it.

The plain ones are 24 oz, most of the insulated ones are 21 oz.

Last edited by rm -rf; 08-11-15 at 07:51 PM.
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Old 08-11-15, 08:05 PM   #25
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Pulling, drinking, and replacing while pedaling is not that hard; as someone noted, the cage is in the same place all the time.

the main thing is believing and trusting you can do it. You can. Just do it.

beyond that, choose your time to drink wisely. If you're bombing downhill and will need to brake, maybe wait; at the very least, don't use the hand which covers the rear brake to grab the bottle.

lastly, practice it. Comfort will come from that. I mean, damn, if kids can pull a no-hand backflip 360, you can grab a sip of water while noodling across town, c'mon now...
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