Friday, July 10, 2009

Water bottles

So, what's the deal with water bottles?

Do they multiply, like rabbits? Why are there always so many? Which ones get used?

I was cleaning the laundry sink and noticed a bottle that I don't remember anyone using recently and that got me wondering, why do we have so many but use so few? I even sold some unused bottles at our garage sale this spring. And then there was that whole pile of them that the kids got from giveaways and contests that I put in the garage last fall hoping they would use them as water squirters in the yard. So I took pictures of all of our bottles currently inside the house, so I could try to make sense of it all.

Here are the bottles that Chad and I use each time we go out riding. Chad uses the clear bottles from Atkins Bicycle Shoppe, and I use the blue bottles from the Urban Assault Race in 2007 in Madison.(Have we ever mentioned that Chad and I were first place Coed Team in last year's race in Madison) Zack lays claim to one of the Atkins bottles when he comes with us, and since the distances we go are shorter with the kids, I can usually get Kevin to use one of the blue ones. So these four are the bottles that are actually used. This category would be called, The Old Standbys.

The other side of the sink is a hard sided bottle from REI. I don't remember when we got it, who it "belongs" to, or who uses it. For that matter I don't know why it is out by the sink and not stashed away in a cabinet like the other unused bottles. It is next to a small thermos that Chad does not use anymore, so maybe this is the I Used To Use It Pile Of Stuff. Maybe it is the small bottle for Kevin's old bike which had a size restricted area with a side load cage. So maybe it is left out from last year. This might speak to poor cleanliness, but as I mentioned above, I was cleaning when I thought about this whole bottle thing, so that must not be it. Let's call this category, The Unknown??? All I know is it is probably the ugliest bottle we have, quite plain, and the material is such that under heavy use it will get all scratched up. But yet, I picked up the bottle and cleaned under it, then put it right back down. Can't get rid of it, it may be important, for something...

Next is the cabinet in the laundry room. This is where the "extra bottles" are supposed to be stored. They are packed on the side because the shelves are not tall enough for them to be upright. Some of these are Used To Be Used bottles, ones that are old favorites but not worn out so we can't get rid of them. Also in this category are bottles that the kids used that are smaller in size but now they feel the need to use a grown-up size bottle. I catch a glimpse of my neon yellow Giro bottle from the early 90s. This would bring up the discussion of how do you choose a bottle; for function, or for looks. This yellow bottle was purchased because it matched a Girven flex-stem on my Cannondale mountain bike and I needed a bottle to match so the stem didn't stand out. There are other bottles in the cabinet that have never been used but were must haves, mostly for looks. Let's call this category The Designer Series. In my mind they will still be used, but after the current bottles are worn out. Come to think of it, I have never worn out a bottle so I don't know what the lifespan is. Maybe we have enough bottles for 50 years. This cabinet did lose some bottles to the garage sale this year because there was no more room and bottles fell out when the doors were opened.

Looking further there were more bottles in the kitchen in the corner cabinet because the shelves are tall enough for bottles. These bottles are mostly in the category of Bottle That Came With a Bike, and were popular for several weeks after having the new bike before reverting to the The Old Standbys. Most of these bottles are Kevin's bottles and are good bottles, so no reason to throw them out. This cabinet lost many bottles last fall to a crate in the garage because we ran out of room for other sport bottles like our large bottles we take water in while kayaking.

Does every biking family have the same issues with bottles? We can't be alone. You walk into a bike store and see the wonderful wall full of colorful bottles, you need to have one. Sign up for an event and bound to get a bottle or two in the swag bag. How long does a bottle last? When do you throw a bottle out? If it's just too old? If it leaks? Will it ever end?