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  1. #1
    Senior Member CanadianBiker32's Avatar
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    Alcohol tips in water bottle

    Ok i do long endurance rides in winter at even temperatures -30C. anyways been using the insulated water bottles with hot liquid, does work, more less liquid freezes takes longer.

    Anyways i read in one post, people use vodka? i dont want to get drunk while on a ride, but is it true alcohol like vodka in water bottle, mixed will prevent a freeze?
    also how should i mix the vodka, as not to inhibit performance on bike or be a drunk, thanks.

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CanadianBiker32 View Post
    but is it true alcohol like vodka in water bottle, mixed will prevent a freeze?
    Yes, it will.

    And people are usually just joking about using vodka.

  3. #3
    Senior Member wolfchild's Avatar
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    I have a tip for you: Alcohol and exercise don't mix very well together.

  4. #4
    Member warrior4130's Avatar
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    I believe it was Bicycling magazine that recently ran a story on this. As I recall, and I could be incorrect, they concluded that the 5 or so degrees that one oz of alcohol lowers the freezing point may not be worth the tradeoff of its effects on the rider. They suggested starting out with warmer liquid (as suggested in this thread already). From my military days, if it were me, and I had a jersey on under my jacket, I would consider keeping one bottle in a rear jersey pocket under the jacket, and swap periodically with the one in the bottle cage.
    Mark Twain put it well .. it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to talk and remove all doubt.

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    Short answer: not really. cyccommute posted a more detailed response here: My Freezing Bottles - Any Tips??

  6. #6
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    Any solute will work. Sugar, salt, alcohol. I'd simply use really watered down gatorade. It won't lower the freezing point that much, but it may give you the extra few degrees you need.

    EDIT: Just to be clear... this won't magically give you another 10 degrees before the solution freezes. Maybe a degree or two. However, colligative properties depends on the number of PARTICLES in solution, so if you REALLY needed to, you could mix sugar and salt and other edible salts to get the greatest effect. This will work to a point, but you just can't expect that much.
    Last edited by corrado33; 01-19-15 at 08:46 AM.

  7. #7
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by corrado33 View Post
    Any solute will work. Sugar, salt, alcohol. I'd simply use really watered down gatorade. It won't lower the freezing point that much, but it may give you the extra few degrees you need.
    No, not any solute would work...at least not in reasonable concentrations. To get a freezing point depression of -30C, you would need a 16 molal solution of ethanol in water. At 46g/mole, that's 740g of ethanol per kilogram of solution or 74% ethanol. Drinking alcohol is typically 35% ethanol so the concentration is double that of straight vodka. 45 ml (3 shots) of a 35% ethanol solution is enough to put a 180 lb (82 kg) man over the legal limit. 15 ml (1 shot) of 74% ethanol should be enough to put the same man near or over the limit. That's not a lot of volume.

    10 shots (150 ml) of 35% would be enough to put the same man into unconsciousness. The same volume of 74% would raise the blood alcohol level to 0.4% to 0.5% which is enough to kill him.

    Sugar is similar to alcohol in its freezing depression and would require 16 moles/kg of solution. It would be like drinking candy.

    For salt, you'd need an 8 molal solution which is 8 moles of sodium chloride/kg of solution for a -30C depression. That's 467g of salt per kg of solution. Sodium chloride is saturated at 350g/L so it's basically impossible to get enough in the water to depress the freezing point enough. There are other salts you could use but I don't many of them would be palatable nor all that safe to drink nor even as soluble as sodium chloride is.

    Edit: You'd still need 16 moles of particles. There isn't a combination of salts, sugars and ethanol that would give you that level of particles and still be drinkable. Insulation is much more effective without making you drunk or sick or both.
    Last edited by cyccommute; 01-19-15 at 12:02 PM.
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  8. #8
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Have a look at a Camelbak designed for skiing. You wear it UNDER your jacket so your body temperature keeps it from freezing. The hose is also insulated but can still freeze up if you don't take a sip ocassionally.
    personally I like hot fresh pressed apple juice.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burton View Post
    Have a look at a Camelbak designed for skiing. You wear it UNDER your jacket so your body temperature keeps it from freezing. The hose is also insulated but can still freeze up if you don't take a sip ocassionally.
    Or blow a bit into the hose after drinking so the hose is empty and won't freeze up.

  10. #10
    ride for a change modernjess's Avatar
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    I would agree with earlier posts that for liquids that actually hydrate you, a Camelbak type deal is probably your only solution. That's what i use in crazy cold.

    As far as non hydrating liquids, I have a flask cage on my fat bike. The liquid in the flask never freezes. That liquid is usually Jameson or Bullit Rye. The fatbike world around here is very social. A little nip halfway through a long ride, sharing the moment with some pals, it's all good. It's more like a custom than it is a hopeless addiction.

    It looks like this.

    7b3bec9636934ee9f6e0582a5d3db856.jpg
    Last edited by modernjess; 01-21-15 at 09:40 AM.

  11. #11
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    you could use a flip top flask that you put in your inside coat pocket. it won,t freeze there.
    Cheers,
    David in Alaska

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