Showers Pass, an Oregon company that specializes in keeping riders on the road in inclement weather, offers the VelEau 42 hydration system—an engineering nerd’s dream come true. The VelEau 42 locates your hydration under the bike’s saddle, and a hose running the length of the top tube snakes up the bar/stem. It may work great (they have many satisfied riders), but it is not an accessory we could run without becoming the brunt of the Saturday-morning-ride jokes. One component of the VelEau 42 is a cool little mag- netic reel that keeps the hose in place. Showers Pass offers a slightly modified version called the LapelEau that works with any hydration pack. It sells for $12.
The made-in-the- USA LapelEau fits on any hydration backpack and uses patent-pending, magnetic, retractable reel technology. Ring magnets on the tube clip provide the cord’s retention force to keep the tube in place.
Field test results:
The LapelEau uses a hook-and-loop strap to attach to your hydration pack’s shoulder strap, then you push your hydration pack’s hose into the LapelEau’s clip. It takes about three seconds and you are ready to go.
Unlike with your hydration pack’s hose clip, you don’t need to continually snap the hose in and out. With the LapelEau, you just grab the valve, pull it to your lips and let go. The fishing-line- thin cord zips back into its holder, and the magnets make a little snap, holding your hose right where you want it.
While we never had issues, the company does warn you to keep the mag- nets away from cell phones, credit cards and electronics. That’s a potential problem if you carry those items in a shoulder-strap pouch.
We’ve ridden for years without the LapelEau, so we can’t call it a must-have accessory, but it does keep a loose hose from dangling or hitting your leg, and it is a lot easier than constantly clipping and unclipping your hose.