Saturday, March 3, 2012

Coffee Transport and Containment on a Commuter Bicycle


Bicycle coffee commuting: the beginning of a wonderful friendship

This week, I installed a coffee cup holder which came with an insulated mug, which I bought a long time ago on closeout for $5 or something like that. The holder itself appears surprisingly well-made for something so inexpensive, and I've seen it in multiple different brand incarnations including "Bell". For whatever reason, and you don't usually ever learn the true reason when you purchase closeout products, this one by default is made to fit a really fat bar, bigger than any of my handlebars, so part of the reason I delayed so long to install it is that I do have a deep-seated and I think not totally irrational dislike for shims and anything similar, and conversely, a deep-seated and I think totally sound confidence combined with satisfaction when part A attaches to part B with absolute precision and zero slop. If your job entails sitting in front of a computer engineering clever, safe, and workable designs such that part A fits part B with zero slop, just know that I have an undying admiration bordering on awe for what you do. Hard disk drive hub clamp designers, I love you.

Yes, I still do have some rubber coupler shimming stock leftover, but the cut of my jib is such that forever, as long as I am using this cup holder on my commuter bicycle, I will be yearning for a perfect-fitting (and black) Portland Design Works Bar-Ista paired up with an OXO Good Grips LiquiSeal Travel Mug, both of which by all appearances would deliver up the precision and exactness of fit to satisfy my questing soul. At a higher cost, sure, but we're talking about something I will be staring at every day and seething about just a little. If you integrate the seething function of mechanical slop over the lifetime of the cup holder, I could probably justify the additional cost. Added on to that, the likelihood that the Arizona sun blasting down on rubber shims will no doubt cause them to crumble and fail catastrophically and suddenly, similar to carbon fiber, which in my case would most certainly result in the cup filled with scalding hot coffee somehow tumbling into the front spokes, sending me over the bars while spraying my face and arms with boiling hot liquid. AKA, catastrophic loss of coffee containment. Put it that way, the PDW+OXO combo is sounding more and more affordable. It would certainly be less than the copay at the ER.

Yes, it mounts reflective tape perfectly

I'm certain I would instantly land on the ER list of "interesting" accidents if I showed up and gave that story. After I shimmed and mounted the el-cheapo second degree burn Superman crash coffee cup holder (EC2DBSCCCH), I noticed it occupies a prime spot for reflectivity, while also offering a panoramic field of reflection. BAM! on went the 3M reflective tape, and POW! I now offer additional front-facing retro-reflection to any oncoming lights from a wide variety of angles. And that may be the one redeeming quality of the EC2DBSCCCH: whereas the PDW-OXO combo is both black and visibly branded and would present a dilemma about sticking white tape on (can I get some black 3M reflective tape? checking now) the EC2DBSCCCH wears the white tape proudly.

In looking at the photo, it looks like the cup component of the EC2DBSCCCH could also sport a band of reflective tape. That way, I would potentially have a reflector in my hand to wave at drivers left hooking at me at night. Also, when the EC2DBSCCCH actually does its thing and sends me over the bars while burning me, it would at least offer some retroreflectivity to cars, hey look at that guy laying in front of his bike with the coffee cup next to him, while also giving paramedics something else to home in on with their flashlights.

Go here for more, much more, on Bicycle Coffee Systems.

  

17 comments:

  1. 5.00 for a cup and clamp holder? Wish I'd been in on that deal. Hey, you could hide those shims from even yourself...outta sight, outta mind. What about that bell? Is it a perfect fit? Funny post.

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    1. anniebikes I am the closeout King when it comes to bike stuff. The bell also is not a perfect fit, although it is an older model, and I have noticed through buying them for other family members that the newer models seem to have less slop all around, from the dinger to the the mount. Which is good.

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  2. I have the PDW version, got it for Xmas, and I will attest to the fact that it is a very well engineered piece of hardware. I do not have a perfectly fitting mug, but the one I have is doing well enough for now. The only problem is that dribbles of coffee that remain on top of the lid after a quick pull at a stoplight can become airborne at a bump and end up as spatters on my clothes.

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    1. I noticed something similar with foam and drips on the lid, cycler, of which a bit is visible in photo 2 above. That OXO mug I mentioned is listed on the PDW site as a perfect fit, I probably should have explained in order to show why I mentioned it.

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  3. Have you seen bicyclecoffeesystems.com? I also notice that Origins 8 (the guys that make the rim strips for my cross bike) make a nice looking holder.

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    1. Yep, I mentioned bicyclecoffeesystems, that internet bastion of two wheeled caffeination, at the end of the post.

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  4. I don't drink coffee but I do have black reflective tape on my black helmet.
    It shines white/grey in light.

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  5. Bikes and coffee...two key ingredients for a great day.

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    1. plus books and sunshine, and I am all set.

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  6. Like it. I've gone the whole Klean Kanteen route myself, insulated coffee mug and bottle cage. I just use the normal bottle mounts on my LHT. I figure one could make it work on the bars with the Klean Kanteen holder if you got one of those VO handlebar-cage adapters.

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    1. I like the multi-usage offered by your system. The coffee cup holder up front on a bicycle does send a message that I am interested in seeing any effects of, though: look, I can carry coffee in a convenient and efficient manner.

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    2. Did you see my comic on it here?
      http://urbanadventureleague.blogspot.com/2012/01/carrying-coffee-on-bike-comic.html

      I might use the carrying coffee on the handlebar system if I ever had any "real estate" to spare on my bars. Plus, I don't like "sippy lids" and use a screw-top. While it means I can't drink on the road like one would drink from a water bottle, I find that my coffee stays warm for a long time, even hours later!

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    3. Nice comic! The Raving Bike Fiend has it right!

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  7. Replies
    1. I think I would pack a tank of coffee if I commuted in Duluth, Dan.

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    2. I usually do. I did move back to Cass lake. :)

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