The Slow Spoke is a place where I put my thoughts to words and hopefully some will read them. Since I'm a major bike geek most entries will be bike related but, not always. I'm also guilty of thinking far too much so you never know what the topic will be. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Monday, 2 January 2012

The Cracker.

Today’s entry all started on Christmas Eve while having dinner with my family. We all sat around talking, joking and pigging out to no end as most of us do during the holidays. Somewhere during that time, we started popping Christmas crackers.

Ohhhhhhh...............the Christmas cracker.

The Christmas crackers were nothing really and I’d lost pretty well all of them in competition (to my daughter) except for one on this night. It was what popped out of that one cracker that had me thinking this time, and, my prize? A hippopotamus bottle opener.

Again you’re probably thinking “Now what the hell does a hippopotamus bottle opener have to do with cycling??”. Well, absolutely nothing but the thoughts it stirred up after the fact have plenty.

Here’s what it started. About a week earlier I purchased a new Thule hitch mounted bike rack to transport my Pugsley around as it didn’t fit in my trays up on the roof. I don’t want it up there anyway. Also, I’d wanted a hitch mount for some time and this was a perfect excuse to go out and get one. Anyway, I brought the rig home and began the assembly using the tool provided in the box. Typically, I don’t do this as tools provided by the manufacturer are usually junk. They’re flimsy, don’t fit right and end up stripping everything all to hell: think, IKEA. Despite this, I decided to use it regardless: of course, this was mostly due to laziness on my part. I didn’t want to go all the way to my basement to get my own tools.

When I was done with the 10 minute rack assembly, I paused a moment and looked at the tool I’d been using. It actually wasn’t bad! I was pretty impressed. It fit very well and was robust enough that it didn’t flex or get all out of shape. I thought to myself that it would be very handy to keep in the back of the truck for whenever it was needed for the rack. As a bonus, I noted that the engineers at Thule took the time to add a bottle opener to the tool as well! Why not? There’s room there! Good job!

See how I’m starting to tie this together now?

Hell, Thule aren’t even the only rack manufacturers thinking beer either. Here’s Yakima’s idea.

Once I remembered that, the flood gates opened.

The Tuggnut on my Pugs.....................................bottle opener

Pretty much every multi tool...................................openers.

Like the Park MTB-3

or the Mako by PocketToolX

Some bikes come standard with openers too.

For example:

The Santa Cruz Heckler’s rear drops.

Ibis makes an opener dropout for some of their bikes as well.

If not, no problem; we improvise and use what we can. Like a pedal for example, it's perfect.

Or how about this?

And if all of this fails, we're still doing alright. We add stuff to make it happen.

How about the Road Popper option? Now that’s handy!

A stem cap perhaps?

No? How about a spacer? The Wise Cracker.....

A quick release might be good. Here's one by Sunlight.

Even bike tool specific companies like Park and Pedros get in on the act and provide openers. Hell, if you don’t want to give them any more cash than you already have given them, how about this? This is probably one of the coolest openers I’ve ever seen.

See? There is a use for all that spare shit in your basement.

I’m not saying anything is wrong with all this, not at all! I just thought it was funny how obsessed we are about getting into that bottle. A real love affair.

For recovery? Suuuure. OK.

I’m thinking it’s more for the good times and, for some, the real connoisseurs, it for the pure enjoyment. To savor that post ride beer, reflect and unwind.

I'm not saying you need booze to have fun but, hell, it often makes a good time even better doesn’t it? Nothing ruins a good time more than a forgotten bottle opener but for us, as cyclists, we’ve got plenty around. Just have a look.

Of course this is all for nothing if you bring cans, have twist tops or, like me, drink mostly whiskey if you're going to drink anything :-)

but for that, everyone knows.............

Thanks for reading.


  1. Hi Steve, Lesley got me onto your blog. There's also this option, perfect for touring wine regions by bike (and is there any other way to tour wine regions?).

    1. Excellent! I like that! Thanks for the response, Nicola. I will keep that in the back of my mind.

      I know that link will come in handy at some point.


  2. Hi Steve, Lesley got me onto your blog. There's also this option, perfect for touring wine regions by bike (and is there any other way to tour wine regions?).

  3. I love this post. Found your blog from MTBR. Gotta make one of those crank arm openers soon.