The water bottle is the Altoids tin of bicycling hacks

      Filed under: Articles   

Several months ago, I wrote about the iHome iH85b (aka the “cycler”, the “Bike to Beach Bicycle Speaker for iPod”, or the “iHome2go”.) I continue to use this speaker during my commutes, and still highly recommend it. But that’s besides the point.

There are only three spots (that I can think of) to reliably mount a peripheral onto a bicycle: on the handlebar, on the rear rack, or in a water bottle cage. The front bar is a good spot for smaller trinkets that require attention, such as lights, bells, and electronics. The rear rack is a good spot for mounting assorted cargo, either in a milk crate, kitty litter buckets, or in plain old panniers. The water bottle cage, with one exception, is really only good for carrying one thing: a water bottle. The exception? When you bike sports a second cage.

A second water bottle cage opens up a slew of new possibilities. The iPod speaker is but only one option. There are all sorts of other creative uses for this space, ranging from home-brew lighting upgrades to a repair kit to the “Gadget Bottle” to other fully patented inventions. Know of others? Leave a comment.

What I like about these various designs is the creative use of the fixed space. iHome cheated a bit by shipping a larger-sized cage with their speaker, but in general, the size is a hard constraint. This reminds me of the large number of creative uses of Altoids tins in electronics projects, ranging from the MintyBoost to hundreds of Altoids tin projects posted on Instructables.

So what’s the right bottle to house your next DIY bike project? After some quick browsing on Amazon, my best find is this one from 3dRose LLC.

Related Post: My review of the iHome iH85b iPod Speaker.



familyonbikes wrote on May 8, 2008
We took an extended family bike tour in 2006-07 and had our (then) 8-year-old twin boys on the back of a triple bike. One of the items mounted on the bike that ended up being the most useful was our cut-off water bottles in cages mounted on the handlebars. Each boy had one, and they used them for all sorts of odds and ends. We had originally put them there for snacks so they could eat while on the road, but they quickly discovered the water-bottle-cup was the best place for storing all the little odds and ends they found whereever! We're still not sure what we're going to do for that one on our upcoming journey from Alaska to Argentina. Our boys are now ten, and we think we'll just give them each a handlebar bag for their treasures - but I'm still considering the cut-off water bottle! You can read of our journey at

Freddy wrote on May 19, 2008
With the lid off of my bottle, A can of bearspray fits snug inside..... very handy here in the Canadian rockies!

Hamid wrote on January 18, 2010
That blue park tool looking bottle/tool kit is pretty retarded if you ask me. the amount of volume being wasted by holding space is insane. I cut down, joined and sealed a larger bontrager bottle which i use for: 1. inner tube 2. patch kit 3. co2 adapter + 2 cartridges 4. rubber bands 5. 12in1 multitool 6. shraeder/presta adapter 7. 2 tire levers this setup is great for rides under 50 miles. for longer rides, i'll use a seatbag and or just stuff the shit in my pockets. both water bottles are absolutely vital and a third wouldn't hurt for those 75+ mi rides.