There are many things we can overlook regarding our equipment and bikes. It seems like a constant merry-go-round of cycling, drinking, eating, recovering etc. We all tend to switch off after our bike ride and many things can get overlooked. After your spin all you want to do is relax. We will clean ourselves, our bike, our clothing, but the one item that often gets overlooked is our cycling bottles. This can be very dangerous. You are trying your best to keep fit and healthy, so don’t let a simple thing like this bring you down.
Now sometimes we all forget about it and its stays there, sitting in the bottle cage, ready for another day. But this can be a health hazard waiting to happen. Even if you haven’t used all the fluids do not leave your bottle on the bike and just top it up the next time you decide to ride. The best advice is to throw out the contents of your bottle, and wash it thoroughly. This might seem like a waste if you have gone out and bought an energy drink but what is worse………spending another 1/2 euros, or drinking something that could make you very sick?
When we cycle we are constantly coming into contact with germs and bacteria. The dirt and dust from the road is being kicked-up and will no doubt land on tips of your bottles. Our hands and mouths are transferring bacteria around for fun, and we don’t even realize it. This is unavoidable while we are out on the bike ride, but we can do something about it after we finish. Also if you do leave the bottle on the bike it could 1-2 days before you ride it again, so while you’re thinking about the next spin, the germs are multiplying and making a home inside your bottle.
Washing you bottle doesn’t mean just emptying out the contents, rinsing it with water and then leaving it to dry. To safely remove any bacteria…….and believe me there will be plenty, use washing-up liquid/ steriliser/ similar products, and soak the bottle for a while (please be very careful what you use, and always check the products label first). Clean both the bottle top and the main bottle itself, and use a scrub or brush for those hard to reach areas. Rinse it out thoroughly also because all these cleaning products can leave a nasty after taste. Hot water is best, but beware of using boiled water on plastic bottles, it can distort the shape if left in too long.
Note: I write this story after an unwelcome personal experience of drinking from a ‘dirty’ bottle. It was during the early days of my cycling career, but it was a lesson I only needed to learn once.