As things currently stand, cyclists have two options for carrying drinking water on rides: bottles in frame-mounted cages, and hydration backpacks with sipping tubes. Bottles aren't always that readily-accessible, however – not a big deal if you stop to drink, but more bothersome if you're trying to drink on the fly, as happens in a race. Hydration backpacks, while much handier, can be uncomfortable. Showers Pass' VelEau 42 is claimed to address both of these problems, by mounting a backpack-style hydration system on the bike instead of the rider.
The 42-ounce (1.24-liter) food-grade plastic reservoir for the VelEau is housed in a nylon pack, that attaches to the bike's seatpost and saddle rails like a regular saddle pack. A polyurethane tube runs out the bottom of the reservoir, and is guided up to the base of the handlebar stem. There, it ends in a bite valve, that is attached to the bike by a retractable nylon parachute cord – riders just pull the valve up to their mouth to take a drink, then the cord's take-up reel pulls it back into place.
While Showers Pass states that its product frees riders up from wearing hydration backpacks, it should be noted that many riders like wearing such packs, as they offer a convenient way of carrying items like tools, jackets and extra inner tubes. The VelEau's seat pack does offer some storage space, but not as much as would be found in a higher-end CamelBak, for instance.
The company also admits that the bag-o-water attached to the seat will change the bicycle's handling somewhat, and that mountain bikers may find that the pack gets in the way when they try to scoot off the back of the saddle when making steep descents.
The VelEau 42 goes on sale as of July, for a suggested retail price of US$79.99. A list of dealers is available on the Showers Pass website.
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