Quick Review – CamelBak Bottle

It’s about time I start talking about some of the gear and accessories I’ve been buying to accompany my new ride. First up is the CamelBak Podium Big Chill. Since I purchased what is essentially an entry level Cyclocross racing bike, my Focus Mares AX 2 isn’t loaded with with features for touring or commuting. Case in point, my bike has only one bottle cage mount on the frame. It’s easy to find frames with two bottle cage mounts and you can even find some touring frames with mount points for three.

With a single bottle cage, I decided to go with a big water bottle. After searching around a bit, I decided on the 25 oz version of the Podium in the Clear / Carbon Color scheme.

CamelBak Podium Big ChillI’ve used this bottle a few times and so far it seems like a good choice. The Big Chill is an insulated bottle and CamelBak claim it’s double-wall construction will keep your water cool twice as long as a regular bottle. I’ve always started my bottle by filling it with ice cubes and water. The ice has always been melted when I finish my rides but the water does seem to stay cool for at least an hour in temperatures around 80 degrees.

The main reason I selected the CamelBak over a different brand of insulated bottle was because of the unique self-sealing Jet Valve. Rather than having the standard valve you open and close by pulling it with your teeth, the Jet Valve opens on it’s own when you squeeze the bottle. You can lock the valve closed but it’s not required to keep water from leaking, even when you turn the bottle upside-down.

In practice the Jet Valve seems to be working pretty well but I do have one complaint. In order for the Jet Valve to open a bit of pressure in your squeeze is required. Squeezing the bottle causes the valve to open and the water tends to “jet” out of the bottle. You have to think a bit before you squeeze or you’ll end up jetting water directly down your throat. I ended up coughing a few times even though I anticipated the result. After using the bottle a few times, I’ve decided the best way to use the bottle is to place the valve on my lower lip and aim it towards the inside of my cheek. To get a better idea of how the Jet Valve works, check out this video from CamelBak.

Aside from the issue with the valve, I think the bottle is a good choice for a large capacity insulated bottle. Here’s a shot of the bottle on my bike so you can get an idea of the size.

Do you have a water bottle that you like? Share your thoughts by commenting below.

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Dusting off the Cobwebs

It’s been over two weeks since I have posted here. I’m feeling guilty about that. After months of searching I finally got a new bike and since then I’ve been too busy to update my blog. What’s worse, is that I’ve only managed a couple of good rides.

My first good ride was two Sundays ago. I met my longtime friend Chris for a ride along the American River Bike Trail. Chris and I rode just under 15 miles according to Strava and my Cateye bicycle computer.

Strava Map

It was a good first ride and the weather was great. It was great to get out and ride and 15 miles was further than I’ve rode on a bike in probably 20 years.

This past Sunday, Chris and I rode again. We met at the same spot on the American River and this time we rode West instead of East. We rode from out starting point to the zero mile marker on the American River Trail in Discovery Park. From there, we continued on to Old Sacramento were we stopped for a smoothie and a break. This time we rode just under 18 miles. I figured we had to ride a few more miles than the week before. =) Here’s a few photos from Old Sac.

This morning my dear wife and I went for a short ride, her first ride in quite a long time as well. She rode the old Univega mountain bike and I rode the Focus. We’ll have to get her a new or newer bike at some point too but for now, the Univega is working. I’ll have more on that in a future post.