DIY bite valve hydration system for cyclists

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008
By Yokota Fritz


Bay Area cyclist Alison Chaiken doesn't like backpack hydration systems. The plastic bladder is easy to puncture, difficult to clean and expensive to replace. The backpack is annoying to cyclists. Alison came up with this homebrew bite valve hydration system that uses PET soda bottles and other readily available parts.


Gents, Alison is single. She's a physicist who likes working with large powered tools and she reads Cyclelicious. My heart swoons.

For more DIY bike stuff, see Bike Hacks.

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*How* easy to puncture? Not much easier than the bottle, and even I don't stick sharp things down my camelbak... and who needs to clean it if you a: just use water (which comes wtih chlorine) and b: ride enough to fill it daily? Annoying, aschmoying ;) That sideways bottle... I know I'd find a way to get the top on wrong and be dribbling a trail behind me...
 
(but she's got great taste in blogs!)
 
i find that putting water in a bottle that i put in a water bottle cage works pretty well too. i love it when people create problems to solve. does look like fun though.
 
neat idea, but seems like too much effort -- you could simply stick a sports bottle like this in a handlebar bottle cage. done!
 
...plastic bottles are so 2007...i'm going w/ sigg aluminum which is coated inside for no leaching...can't squeeze 'em but w/ the right top, hey, water tastes like water...how unique...
 
Some of us are challenged by reaching while riding, even after just a few miles under our butts. I really like my camelbak. Besides, it has these white outlines of sweat that water bottles don't get and it holds more. Oh, and my biking buddies can walk into convenience stores and announce "I need to fill my bladder!"
 
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She has an interesting web page, of course I can't understand half of it...
 
Actually I typically use my bite-valve system with two 24-ounce water bottles that I put into regular frame-mounted bottle cages. I just haven't quite gotten around to photographing that setup yet. Too busy riding!

I agree that if you only use water in your hydration system that cleanliness is less of an issue. However if you put sports drinks in your bottles, being able to simply recycle dirty bottles is convenient.

I like Jim G's idea of using a sports bottle. You could attach a bite valve and tygon hose to the tube with a hose clamp and end up with a similar interface to the one I have. The advantage of my setup is two-fold: a) my bottle doesn't leak, even when inverted, which is key for transporting containers of sports drink in the car to ride meetups; b) the anti-siphon valve I use means that the rider only has to fill the tygon hose once for each bottle, which is a big advantage when you're out of breath!

I'll have a display at Maker Faire in San Mateo, so if you're around, come by and say hi. O'Reilly promises that all of us bicycle hackers will be together.
 
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