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Quench'd: Why One Skeptic of New Bike Tech Believes in Bivo

Author: Peggy Shinn

I have been around cycling a long time. Not “before-the-wheel-was-invented” long time but long enough to have seen many bike inventions come and go. 

In the “Best of” Column

Over the years, my life on the bike has greatly improved thanks to inventions like integrated shift and brake levers, side-load water bottle cages, pedals with cleat float, full suspension front and rear, and—thank the lord—women’s saddles with cut-outs (something I once tried to do to my leather Selle Italia Turbo road saddle with an X-ACTO knife and a spoon).

Bontrager Bike

My beloved Bontrager, which could be a monument on the Island of Misfit Cycling Toys. It features well-worn GripShift (seen in close-up pic too), 56 cm wide handlebars, well-used handlebar extenders (oh my aching back), V-brakes (the horror!), and a suspension seat post that worked like a pogo stick. And the saddle! Somehow, I won the Leadville 100 on this bike (open class) and did not ruin my ability to bear a child. … I still ride the Bontrager around town but am finding more and more excuses NOT to ride it.

Island of Misfit Cycling Toys

But for every one of these improvements, I could fill the Island of Misfit Cycling Toys with inventions like:

  • GripShift, a throttle-like device that you twisted to shift gears. When my hands became sweaty (always), even with gloves, the shifter was hard to twist. And it was downright dangerous when both shifting and braking were required. We soon referred to it as GripShit.
  • Any number of clipless pedals. One minimalist version basically put the pedal on the bottom of my shoe, making walking fun. The cleat quickly wore out (imperceptibly) and as I pedaled, torqued my knee.
  • A geometric array of handlebar shapes and bar extensions, none of which improved bike handling but probably did contribute to my chronic back problems.
  • And who can forget denim-print Lycra?

    Left: “GripShit” up close. Note the worn out grips, proof of how hard they are to twist.

    Middle: An Avocet torture device, I mean saddle. No cut out and not much pelvic support either.

    Right: Three samples plucked from the Island of Misfit Cycling Toys: Profile handlebars (what’s that about a ruptured disc in my low back?), a CamelBak polypropylene water bottle with mildew growing in the bite valve, and a VistaLite lead-acid battery for night riding, pre-turn-of-the-century (that term makes me sound really old, no?). I should recycle that battery. Or use it for arm curls.


    Needless to say, I have learned to be skeptical of any new creation designed for cycling. 

    Bivo is the Best

    So when my brother-in-law gave me a Bivo bottle, I just nodded and muttered thanks while thinking about the scores of water bottles clogging two entire cabinets in my kitchen (some of which belong on the Misfit Island … or the recycling bin). 

    But on my first ride, I knew that Bivo was a bottle that would change my hydration experience. And hydration—especially for us perpetually dehydrated ancients—is key.

    First, I noted that the water in the Bivo bottle did not taste like plastic. Nor did I worry about endocrine-messing chemicals leaching from it as the day warmed up.

    Then I noticed the flow. It was amazing. Not once did I choke or gasp for air after squeezing too much water into the back of my throat. There’s no sucking or squeezing with Bivo. I just tipped up my Bivo bottle and the perfect amount of water streamed into my mouth. By the end of my first ride, I realized that I had drunk more than I typically had during the Plastic Bottle Era.

    When I got home, I disassembled my Bivo bottle (top, silicone nozzle and air tube) and put everything in the dishwasher. No more standing at the sink after a long ride handwashing the day’s witch’s brew of electrolytes out of my bike bottles (plastic bottles aren’t dishwasher safe;  water and air-dry temps in most dishwashers, even on eco cycle, cause plastics to off-gas chemicals).

    Bivo water bottle lineup
    My current Bivo bottle lineup.

    Now, starting season four, my Bivo bottle is well-loved and still going strong. And I’ve added three more to my collection. Because who can pass up colors like Flamingo? Or Violet? Or a fun cow print etched in Vermont green? The latter is now my “dress” Bivo bottle, the one I take to meetings and social gatherings. No twisting or flipping the cap. I just quietly tip it up and sip. Perpetual hydration.

    Let’s just hope Bivo never comes out with a denim-print bottle. That one might just get voted off the island. 

    Or maybe they will. Googling “denim-print cycling kit,” I found that Nalini is selling those denim-print cycling shorts again—now with the word retro in its name.

    1 Response

    Cindy Fleming

    Cindy Fleming

    March 18, 2024

    As someone who began cycling in the leather chamois era, I must agree. Bivo bottles are the best! What do I do with the bins of defunct plastic bottles?

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