February 26, 2016
Winter is on the way out, but I have one last piece of cold weather riding gear to check out before it’s officially gone, the Bar Mitts Winter Bot.
Bar Mitts, the company, has built up a good reputation for manufacturing pogies for a variety of bikes. What are pogies? They’re handlebar mittens for your handlebars ... hence the name Bar Mitts.
Anyway, their newest product is not aimed at keeping your hands warm, it’s intended to keep your water bottles bundled up because it’s really annoying when you’re riding in the dead of winter and your water freezes. Usually I address this issue by shoving my bottles in my back jersey pocket, and while that method works fine, it does take up a fair amount of pocket real estate that I would prefer to use for snacks, some tools, etc.
Enter the Winter Bot: a 5.5mm thick neoprene pouch that encases a bottle cage and water bottle. The Winter Bot includes a bottle cage, mounting bolts, allen wrench, and directions. The directions are actually somewhat useful since without them, it would be hard to notice the tiny hole you need to stick the allen wrench through to secure the water bottle mounting bolts. Once you locate that, this installs within minutes, and as for volume, you can get up to a 20oz water bottle in there.
Grabbing your bottle out of the neoprene case on the fly is pretty easy. The zipper has a large tab, so even with bulky gloves, it’s easy to unzip. Zipping it back up, however, is a little trickier and I’d suggest doing this at a stop.
While the main purpose of the Winter Bot is to keep your water from freezing up, it also keeps your bottle clean during sloppy conditions. If you’re hitting wet or muddy roads, this is a great way to keep the mouth of the bottle clean and free of grit. And at $30, it’s not a bad addition to your bike, if you enjoy winter rides.
Last photo courtesy of Bar Mitts.
TOURING GEAR & TIPS is written by Joshua Tack of Adventure Cycling’s member services department. It appears every other week, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead. Look for Josh’s “Fine Tuned” column in Adventure Cyclist magazine as well.