Many years ago, I knew an avid motorcyclist in London, Ontario who crafted his own travel mug carrying device and fused it onto his motorcycle. I often think of that device when I’m contemplating carrying a coffee while holding onto my handlebars with one hand to cycle a couple blocks to my house from a nearby café. Generally, I prefer biking to coffee, consuming said wonderment with reckless abandon in a soothing, folk and jazz-infused establishment with rickety chairs and crap-tastic paintings for sale on the walls. But, sometimes, it would be nice to have such a device to take a second cup back home or to work.
Takeaway cups with flimsy plastic lids is just asking for trouble. Image a crotchload of freshly perked java first thing in the morning. Not cool. Ahem.
To that end, I’ve done a bit of research into this and come up with five options for those just Jonesing for some caffeine while riding.
1. If your only desire is to transport said coffee to a destination for consumption, the safest way is to put it in a stainless steel thermos and seal it up tight. Put the thermos in your messenger bag and away you go. There are also devices to mount a thermos onto your bike’s seat tube if a messenger bag is too cumbersome.
2. Handlebar holder. The basic coffee cup holder consists of some form of metal or plastic ring to drop in standard coffee cups and travel mugs without handles, such as this 49N model from Urbanecyclist.com. This is all well-and-good for a cruiser, riding at a leisurely pace over familiar, flat stretches of asphalt. But, this is not the holder of choice should any unforeseen obstacles, bumps, pot holes or really anything out of the ordinary get in the way. One badda boom and there will be 12 ounces of hot and bothered all over your pants, which at minimum will be really upsetting.
3. Firm but fair. A step up from the danger loop involves some sort of pressuring systems. The ideal holder is one with pressure tab inside the container that will push against the cup to hold it in place. Combine this style holder with a good travel mug that boasts an excellent, secure lid that allows one to cover up the drinking hole is best to prevent accidents from happening even if it takes a little more effort to actually take a sip.
One of these beauties can be purchased from, for example, Mountain Equipment Coop for about 20 bucks.
4. Go foam. Another way to add pressure to hold a cup in place is through the use of foam. For instance, the Kroozie stainless steel cup holder. Although it looks like it is designed for cold beverages, the foam design would also adequately hold a coffee cup, without handle, in place, as long as a secure lid with sliding lid closure is used.
5. DIY. This really wouldn’t be a very good list if it didn’t contain at least one option for the do-it-yourself enthusiast. Herewith, a plan to construct a drink holder that also features a foam inlay that, if thick enough, can provide enough pressure to hold a coffee securely.
6. The dreamboat. Designed in Sweden by Aleksandar Andreevski, the Bring cup appears to be a concept for what could be the finest coffee cup holder a bicycle has ever seen. The Bring Bicycle Cup Holder appears to have the one missing ingredient, a spring-loaded protection plug and top arm that stops a coffee from getting vertical after a bump. This design makes all the other handlebar clamps look like mere doohickies doodled by a child. So simple, yet so groundbreaking. Someone needs to get this to market, and fast.