The Road Biker vs. Hydration Pack

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Flatlander, Jul 11, 2003.

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  1. Flatlander

    Flatlander Guest

    After taking up mt. biking several ago, one of things I still look back on as on of the most major
    boosts to my riding was switching from water bottles to a Camelbak. It was a water epiphany you
    might say. Not being a road biker I am perplexed by why virtually no road riders seem to use
    hydration packs. In fact I can't say that I've ever seen a rider with a Camelbak on that didn't have
    knoby tires. Why is this? I guess the only possible arguments against it that I can think of might
    be that is is less aerodynamic. But, I would have to think that with some of the slim packs they
    have out, three bottles and cages would be far less aerodynamic than the pack. So to all you roadies
    out there... what gives?

    -FlatLander
     
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  2. Ajames54

    Ajames54 Guest

    On 11 Jul 2003 06:30:14 -0700, [email protected] (flatlander) wrote:

    >After taking up mt. biking several ago, one of things I still look back on as on of the most major
    >boosts to my riding was switching from water bottles to a Camelbak. It was a water epiphany you
    >might say. Not being a road biker I am perplexed by why virtually no road riders seem to use
    >hydration packs. In fact I can't say that I've ever seen a rider with a Camelbak on that didn't
    >have knoby tires. Why is this? I guess the only possible arguments against it that I can think of
    >might be that is is less aerodynamic. But, I would have to think that with some of the slim packs
    >they have out, three bottles and cages would be far less aerodynamic than the pack. So to all you
    >roadies out there... what gives?
    >
    >-FlatLander

    Well you got it in one... aerodynamics (perceived or real I don't know). In the last few years I've
    seen more roadies ride with them but it is still rare... I use one but I'm not as concerned with
    speed as I once was.
     
  3. David Storm

    David Storm Guest

    Don't know where you ride, but guess you've never been on a 100 mile ride in mountains on isolated
    U.S. Forest Service roads with no support, water or food for 50-60 miles. A roadie couldn't survive
    without 100oz of water on his/her back. Almost every road biker I know uses hydration packs on long,
    unsupported rides out here in
    CA. Those who don't wish they did later.

    "flatlander" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > After taking up mt. biking several ago, one of things I still look back on as on of the most major
    > boosts to my riding was switching from water bottles to a Camelbak. It was a water epiphany you
    > might say. Not being a road biker I am perplexed by why virtually no road riders seem to use
    > hydration packs. In fact I can't say that I've ever seen a rider with a Camelbak on that didn't
    > have knoby tires. Why is this? I guess the only possible arguments against it that I can think of
    > might be that is is less aerodynamic. But, I would have to think that with some of the slim packs
    > they have out, three bottles and cages would be far less aerodynamic than the pack. So to all you
    > roadies out there... what gives?
    >
    > -FlatLander
     
  4. flatlander <[email protected]> wrote:
    >After taking up mt. biking several ago, one of things I still look back on as on of the most major
    >boosts to my riding was switching from water bottles to a Camelbak. It was a water epiphany you
    >might say. Not being a road biker I am perplexed by why virtually no road riders seem to use
    >hydration packs.

    We abhor "hydration" as a silly word. :)

    > I guess the only possible arguments against it that I can think of might be that is is less
    > aerodynamic. But, I would have to think that with some of the slim packs they have out, three
    > bottles and cages would be far less aerodynamic than the pack.

    Actually some testing suggests there's not much in it; however, aerodynamics are not the issue.

    On a road bicycle the main advantage of a Camelbak - that it doesn't require you to reach down - is
    moot, since there are plenty of long stretches where you can drink from a water bottle without any
    difficulty, especially once you have mastered the art of fetching and replacing the bottle without
    looking. Even in urban riding, where you may not want to mess about, you can easily drink water at
    traffic lights.

    However, they do have disadvantages. We never like to carry weight on our bodies when we can just
    strap it to the bike, and water is heavy stuff. Furthermore, pressure on the wrists is already a
    problem, and weight on the back exacerbates that in conjuction with a less upright riding position.
    Also, when bent forwards a backpack of any kind likes to flop to the left or to the right, unless
    tightly strapped on, which is not pleasant (admittedly the flat design of the Camelbak reduces this
    annoyance). Finally, if you're going to be sweating like a pig it's not a good idea to have a big
    area of your back covered up.
    --
    David Damerell <[email protected]> Kill the tomato!
     
  5. David Storm <[email protected]> wrote:
    >Don't know where you ride, but guess you've never been on a 100 mile ride in mountains on isolated
    >U.S. Forest Service roads with no support, water or food for 50-60 miles. A roadie couldn't survive
    >without 100oz of water

    3 litres! It's not the 19th century anymore - and fluid ounces are particularly awful in that they
    aren't even the same from country to country.

    >on his/her back.

    Is there something special about water stored on your back? I find it tastes much the same wherever
    it comes from.

    If I needed to carry more than 1.5 litres of water, I'd fill a plastic milk carton and slap it in
    my panniers.
    --
    David Damerell <[email protected]> Kill the tomato!
     
  6. Campyo

    Campyo Guest

    I use a basic 50oz Camelbak for most of my road rides, along with a single bottle used for an
    energy drink. I'm sure that weight and aerodynamics will be mentioned as reasons that a hydration
    pack isn't used by roadies. Very few of us, however, are really going to be seriously affected by
    either (despite daydreams of Merckx and/or Armstrong when we're riding). To be honest, I think
    "road snobbery" (of which I'm also guilty on more than one occasion) prevents more road riders from
    using them. On short rides when I don't need that much water, I'll use bottles, but have found that
    I don't drink as much as I should. It's just more convenient to drink from a Camelbak than it is
    from a bottle.

    Flatlander asked:
    >Not being a road biker I am perplexed by why virtually no road riders seem to use hydration packs.
    >In fact I can't say that I've ever seen a rider with a Camelbak on that didn't have knoby tires.
    >Why is this? I guess the only possible arguments against it that I can think of might be that is is
    >less aerodynamic. But, I would have to think that with some of the slim packs they have out, three
    >bottles and cages would be far less aerodynamic than the pack. So to all you roadies out there...
    >what gives?
     
  7. Mark Hickey

    Mark Hickey Guest

    [email protected] (flatlander) wrote:

    >After taking up mt. biking several ago, one of things I still look back on as on of the most major
    >boosts to my riding was switching from water bottles to a Camelbak. It was a water epiphany you
    >might say. Not being a road biker I am perplexed by why virtually no road riders seem to use
    >hydration packs. In fact I can't say that I've ever seen a rider with a Camelbak on that didn't
    >have knoby tires. Why is this? I guess the only possible arguments against it that I can think of
    >might be that is is less aerodynamic. But, I would have to think that with some of the slim packs
    >they have out, three bottles and cages would be far less aerodynamic than the pack. So to all you
    >roadies out there... what gives?

    Come to Arizona - you'll see LOTS of riders with 'baks. I do almost all my road riding with a 100oz
    (3+ liter) pack. I can put ice in it, which helps keep my back and the water cool.

    But if I wanna go fast, I leave it at home.

    Mark Hickey Habanero Cycles http://www.habcycles.com Home of the $695 ti frame
     
  8. Mark

    Mark Guest

    "flatlander" t> wrote
    > After taking up mt. biking several ago, one of things I still look back on as on of the most major
    > boosts to my riding was switching from water bottles to a Camelbak. It was a water epiphany you
    > might say. Not being a road biker I am perplexed by why virtually no road riders seem to use
    > hydration packs. In fact I can't say that I've ever seen a rider with a Camelbak on that didn't
    > have knoby tires. Why is this? I guess the only possible arguments against it that I can think of
    > might be that is is less aerodynamic. But, I would have to think that with some of the slim packs
    > they have out, three bottles and cages would be far less aerodynamic than the pack. So to all you
    > roadies out there... what gives?
    >
    > -FlatLander
    >
    Lots of road cyclists here in Colorado use Camelbaks, usually with some carrying capacity for
    food/clothing. Reaching for a water bottle is not real easy when you're straining on a long hard
    climb, and my part of Colorado doesn't have too many of those long flat stretches that Mr Damerell
    seems so fond of.

    I still prefer to put clothing and food in a seat bag, and water in bottles, but I'm thinking more
    and more about going back to a Camelbak for long road rides.
    --
    mark
     
  9. Peter Cole

    Peter Cole Guest

    "flatlander" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > After taking up mt. biking several ago, one of things I still look back on as on of the most major
    > boosts to my riding was switching from water bottles to a Camelbak. It was a water epiphany you
    > might say. Not being a road biker I am perplexed by why virtually no road riders seem to use
    > hydration packs. .. what gives?

    I used to use a Camelbak for road riding. For a long time I just used it as a backpack with an empty
    bladder since it was easier to keep tools & other stuff in one bag when switching bikes.

    I use Polar insulated bottles, which keep water reasonably cool in the summer and protect (for a
    while) from freezing in the winter. I think they're a big improvement over standard bottles. For
    long distance riding, I have 3 cages on my road bike, so I can carry 3 x 28 oz., which is usually
    enough to comfortably get me through the sometimes 40-50 mi distances between watering spots, for
    longer distances, it's easy enough to bungee another bottle or 2 to the rear rack I usually use for
    those kinds of rides.

    Backpacks, with water, gear, tools, or whatever, are OK for short distances, but are tiring and
    uncomfortable for longer ones, virtually none of the long distance riders I've seen use them. For
    off-road, packs can be handy to carry stuff like food, clothes, & tools, but I've still come to
    prefer putting the weight of water on the bike.
     
  10. [email protected] (CampyO) writes:
    > I use a basic 50oz Camelbak for most of my road rides, along with a single bottle used for an
    > energy drink.

    One of the reasons I have not purchased a Camelbak is because I really don't want a giant hot sweaty
    mess on my back when I ride. How do you avoid this, or is there some reason this is not an issue?

    Chris
    --
    Chris Colohan Email: [email protected] PGP: finger [email protected] Web: www.colohan.com Phone:
    (412)268-4751
     
  11. Mike S.

    Mike S. Guest

    > But if I wanna go fast, I leave it at home.
    >
    > Mark Hickey Habanero Cycles http://www.habcycles.com Home of the $695 ti frame

    That pretty much sums it all up for most roadies (at least the ones I hang out with).

    When mtn riding, I switched to camelbaks when they first came out. They solve the control
    problem: drinking while navigating roots, rocks, and mud. The dirt problem: there's lots of it!
    As well as the carrying enough stuff to fix whatever goes wrong with your bike: tools, patch kit,
    pump, food, etc.

    Road riding doesn't have nearly as much of the technical problems of mtn biking. If there's a
    problem, you can call the significant other/roommate/etc. to come get you. There isn't a problem
    with control: roads are fairly smooth. More often than not there isn't a dirt problem. And usually
    you're riding where there's at least some kind of place to replenish supplies of liquids and food:
    7-11, etc.

    If you're out in outer BFE, that's a different story...

    So, while 'baks may make sense for the longer rides and carrying things, most riding people do is
    short enough that roadies just don't need one. Yes, there's the "snob factor," as well as the habit
    of just not using one.

    YMMV!

    Mike
     
  12. mark <[email protected]> wrote:
    >carrying capacity for food/clothing. Reaching for a water bottle is not real easy when you're
    >straining on a long hard climb, and my part of Colorado doesn't have too many of those long flat
    >stretches that Mr Damerell seems so fond of.

    Didn't say anything about flat. We don't have much flat around here. I can't say as I've found that
    to be a problem uphill.
    --
    David Damerell <[email protected]> Kill the tomato!
     
  13. DiabloScott

    DiabloScott New Member

    Joined:
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    The most compelling reason for me to use a Camelbak on MTB rides is that bottles get splashed with mud and river water, which probably contain at least some of the myriad bacilli on the short list of human pathogens, not to mention the yucky taste.
     
  14. Jon

    Jon Guest

    I'm surprised no one mentioned the ridiculous price. At $100 CDN+ for a Camelbak I'll stick with my
    free waterbottles.

    Jon

    "flatlander" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > After taking up mt. biking several ago, one of things I still look back on as on of the most major
    > boosts to my riding was switching from water bottles to a Camelbak. It was a water epiphany you
    > might say. Not being a road biker I am perplexed by why virtually no road riders seem to use
    > hydration packs. In fact I can't say that I've ever seen a rider with a Camelbak on that didn't
    > have knoby tires. Why is this? I guess the only possible arguments against it that I can think of
    > might be that is is less aerodynamic. But, I would have to think that with some of the slim packs
    > they have out, three bottles and cages would be far less aerodynamic than the pack. So to all you
    > roadies out there... what gives?
    >
    > -FlatLander
     
  15. On Fri, 11 Jul 2003 06:30:14 +0000, flatlander wrote:

    > So to all you roadies out there... what gives?

    There are a number of reasons. 1) we all have water bottles and cages, so why not use them. 2) I
    don't like carrying backpacks in general. 3) Sometimes I like gatorade in one bottle, and a
    camelback would need serious cleaning. 4) That taste of rubber hose. 5) You don't need to carry
    every last ounce of water you need with you from the start. There are places to fill up along the
    road -- not, of course, so likely off-road. 6) The look. 7) The sweat.

    --

    David L. Johnson

    __o | the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. _`\(,_ | That is easy. All
    you have to do is tell them they are being (_)/ (_) | attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for
    lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any <country. --
    Hermann Goering
     
  16. [email protected] (flatlander) wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > After taking up mt. biking several ago, one of things I still look back on as on of the most major
    > boosts to my riding was switching from water bottles to a Camelbak. It was a water epiphany you
    > might say. Not being a road biker I am perplexed by why virtually no road riders seem to use
    > hydration packs. In fact I can't say that I've ever seen a rider with a Camelbak on that didn't
    > have knoby tires. Why is this? I guess the only possible arguments against it that I can think of
    > might be that is is less aerodynamic. But, I would have to think that with some of the slim packs
    > they have out, three bottles and cages would be far less aerodynamic than the pack. So to all you
    > roadies out there... what gives?
    >
    > -FlatLander

    I have various places on my regular ride routes where I could refill my bottle, if necessary. Parks
    mostly, with fountains. I've already stopped and asked at roadside stands and even some asked people
    on their porch in the little towns I pass through, and no one ever refused to fill my bottle for me
    (one older women insisted on getting ice into the bottle first - even after I said I didn't need it
    - "But it's soo hot out here").

    The best part was to get to know some very nice people... sometimes it's more interesting to "live
    off the land"...

    Nick
     
  17. The only reason I don't use them is because I don't like carrying things on my back. It doesn't let
    the sweat evaporate and my back gets full of zits. I have thought about the fanny pack models for
    MTB'ing though.

    Also, roadies can always stop at any convenience store , or even a friendly house and get a refill.
    the extra capacity and weight of a C'back over bottles could then be a factor too.

    As a tourist, I could care less about aerodynamics!

    May you have the wind at your back. And a really low gear for the hills! Chris

    Chris'Z Corner "The Website for the Common Bicyclist": http://www.geocities.com/czcorner
     
  18. flatlander wrote:
    > I guess the only possible arguments against it that I can think of might be that is is less
    > aerodynamic. But, I would have to think that with some of the slim packs they have out, three
    > bottles and cages would be far less aerodynamic than the pack. So to all you roadies out there...
    > what gives?

    Aerodynamics has nothing to do with it. These packs are fairly thin and they're mostly protected
    from the wind by your head and torso. I'd guess their increase of drag is negligible.

    I hate riding with any backback. I sweat heavily from my back when I ride and that makes backbacks
    very uncomfortable. I don't like extra weight on my body when I ride anyway. It's a comfort issue.

    I would only consider using one of these for a very long ride (greater than 60 miles) where I
    couldn't get water on the way and even then, I'd still have my bottles. When I ride that far around
    here, depending upon my route, I can usually get water on the way (parks and schools and other
    institutions have publicly accessible drinking fountains) so it's not much of a problem.

    --Bill Davidson
     
  19. Rick Onanian

    Rick Onanian Guest

    On 11 Jul 2003 15:09:07 +0100 (BST), David Damerell <[email protected]> wrote:
    > However, they do have disadvantages. We never like to carry weight on our bodies when we can just
    > strap it to the bike, and water is heavy stuff.

    <many good points deleted before and after the quote above>

    However, I would argue this point. There's something to be said for better control of the bike via
    removing weight from the bike (at the expense of hanging it on the rider). This is certainly true in
    mountain biking -- try putting a liter of water and all the tools required 10 miles into the woods
    on the bike and getting over a log or drop-off, then try it without the weight on the bike -- you
    can throw the bike around easier when it's lighter.

    That all said, I have not enough road experience to say that the above issue is more important than
    the other issues mentioned (like covering up your back when you're sweating your balls off). I'd
    have to agree you're better off putting the stuff on the bike if you can. Too bad I've become
    addicted to my backpacks and wouldn't pedal anything without them...

    --
    Rick Onanian
     
  20. Jay Beattie

    Jay Beattie Guest

    "David Storm" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Don't know where you ride, but guess you've never been on a 100 mile ride in mountains on isolated
    > U.S. Forest Service roads with no support, water or food for 50-60 miles. A roadie couldn't
    > survive without 100oz of water on his/her back. Almost every road biker I know uses hydration
    > packs on long, unsupported rides out here in
    > CA. Those who don't wish they did later.

    It's posts like this that make me wonder how I survived for 40 years without anything more than a
    water bottle or two -- even on 100+ mile road rides in, of all places, California. My God, in the
    old days I even ate bananas instead of Cliff Bars or GU and had no sunscreen. The horror! I don't
    ride off road, and that may be a different deal, but on the road, I see no reason to wear a water
    backpack. -- Jay Beattie.
     
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