Question: I love to ride in the winter but sure wish I could have something hot to drink about an hour out. My bottles freeze even if I start with them filled with hot tea. What are my options? — Jane A.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: The best option is to plan your ride to include a convenience store or coffee shop at the halfway point. Buy a steaming latte or hot tea and sip it in the warmth of the store. Mid-ride tea breaks are an English club ride tradition.
If your route doesn’t have such civilized pleasures, you’ll have to tote your own hot drink. An insulated bottle (Camelbak and Polar both make them) works fine in summer to keep cold drinks cold, but it won’t keep hot drinks sufficiently hot very long in temperatures below about 35 degrees.
Another possibility is a back-mounted hydration pack worn under your jacket so body heat will keep it from freezing. But again, liquid can turn to ice in the nozzle or hose. You may need to slip on a section of pipe insulation.
Another option is a Thermos bottle. These work better, but when they’re nestled in your bottle cage catching cold wind, they still won’t keep your drink hot for long. You may have better luck carrying it in an insulated rack trunk if you don’t mind stopping for a moment when you want to drink.
Some riders wear a jersey under their winter jacket and carry the bottle in the middle rear pocket. It’s out of the wind, gets insulation from the clothing and your body heat helps, too.