When I ride my bicycle I often drink a lot of water because I get thirsty and like to keep hydrated, my bicycle can only fit a single bottle holder because the front derailleur is mounted in such a way to prohibit a second bottle cage from being mounted, so therefore I can only take a single bottle with me.

My friend has enough space for two bottles, but I feel extremely rude if I ask him if I'm allowed some of his second water because he has done the hard work of carrying it all the way and I am just going to drink it without repaying him in any way.

How can I ask my friend if I'm allowed some of his water without getting into an argument or offending him, should I offer to carry some of his stuff in my jersey pocket so he has less weight on him on the way back?

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    Four comments have already been deleted for being answers. If you want to answer the question, do so in the answer section below.
    – Catija
    Oct 6, 2017 at 15:42
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    Is the primary concern that you're drinking water that your friend would later drink himself, or that he has to carry the extra weight? If it's the latter, a water bottle won't weigh much more than a pound, making it perhaps 1% of the total weight, so it shouldn't make much of a difference physically. Oct 6, 2017 at 17:10
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    Do you bring a backpack during the rides? Oct 8, 2017 at 0:57
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    We're currently discussing this question on meta. I'm voting to close this as off-topic because as the accepted answer shows, the question isn't so much an Interpersonal Issue as a question as to how you might be able to carry enough water (and you've decided that letting your friend carry it and ask him was the solution, while there are plenty of others).
    – Tinkeringbell
    Oct 9, 2017 at 16:10

9 Answers 9


Speaking as a former competitive cyclist and triathlete-

Just ask. Once or twice is not going to be a big deal, and unless your friend is sick or has some kind of germ fears, he is probably just going to say "sure, no problem." As far as the work to carry it, the weight is negligible in the overall scheme of bike+rider.

If it keeps happening over and over, then it is likely to become annoying for the both of you. Eventually you'll you need to find a longer term solution to be able to carry more fluid. You mentioned you can only fit a single bottle in your holder, but there are many alternative hydration solutions and packing that you can explore:

  • Stuff an extra water bottle in your jersey. (If you're going to be cycling for long on a hot day, freeze one and put it in your jersey: it'll keep you cool while it melts.)
  • Use a seat carrier for your bottles, which can carry two bottles at once. Personally I prefer the ones that angle to point the water bottles out backwards a bit so they don't rub, but a basic one may look like this:

  • My next favorite, especially for mountain biking, would be the Camelbak. It has an added advantage in that it can be used anywhere and has added pockets.

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    There are also bottle cages which can be mounted with straps almost anywhere on the bike. Others can be mounted on the handlebar. While traveling by bicycle I’ve also used 1.5ℓ PET bottles in my bottle cages (probably requires special oversized bottle cages) to maximize the amount of water I could carry.
    – Michael
    Oct 6, 2017 at 16:44
  • This answer is being discussed in meta
    – Ael
    Jan 2, 2019 at 15:25

I don't see how this is something one can be offended about. As such I think you are seriously overthinking this.

Just ask him, "Hey, can I have some of your water", or "Hey, I only have room for one bottle on my bike, would you mind putting one on yours?"

If you are friends, you are in this together, so working together and helping eachother shouldn´t be an offensive thing to suggest.

However, since you are asking a favour, you have to be able to accept no for an answer.

Additionally, it is relevant when you ask this. If you know before you leave that the one bottle you have is insufficient for your needs and that it is hard to refill it on the road, you should communicate before leaving whether it is ok, instead of while you are on the road.

Because that is the moment that you are able to deal with getting a 'no' appropriately. That is, getting alternative ways of carrying an additional bottle yourself, offering to rearranging the load, etc.

  • Thanks for your answer - I just feel like unless I carry some of his things for him it's like I'm being lazy to not carry the water. Do you have any tips on how I should react if he says no?
    – teslajin
    Oct 6, 2017 at 11:29
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    @teslajin You could offer to take something of theirs that you can mount on your bike as compensation. Alternatively you could look into getting a small backpack you can use to put additional bottles in.
    – JAD
    Oct 6, 2017 at 11:33
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    I think reasons for them to say no would be mostly related to them needing the water themselves, rather than any misgivings about you not carrying it. If you are riding in an area where it is hard to quickly refill your water, then this really is an issue of preparation. If you know before you leave that the one bottle you have is insufficient for your needs and that it is hard to refill it on the road, you should communicate before leaving whether it is ok, instead of while you are on the road.
    – JAD
    Oct 6, 2017 at 11:36
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    " I just feel like unless I carry some of his things for him it's like I'm being lazy to not carry the water. Do you have any tips on how I should react if he says no?" - 1. Do it one time - ok. Do it every time - he's going to be annoyed, probably. If he says no - accept it and move on.
    – Fildor
    Oct 6, 2017 at 11:50
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    Jarko, do you ride bicycles, have you ever been carrying water and had someone ask you for some?
    – Carl
    Oct 7, 2017 at 12:49

How do I ask my friend for some of his water ?

Just ask, nicely, he's your friend :)

Why would he say no?! Ask him before you leave, and offer to carry some of his stuff in return.

You can also just buy a jacket. Many triathlon/cycling jackets offer some back-pockets, for up to 2 bottles. Google is your best friend.

  • Alternatively, you could put an extra water bottle in a small backpack
    – JAD
    Oct 6, 2017 at 11:41
  • As a practical matter, it would be impossible to drink from most water bottles in the position shown by the model. :p I always wonder why the marketers do things like that.
    – JohnP
    Oct 6, 2017 at 15:48
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    @JohnP : actually, I didn't even think about drinking while cycling. To me, it was only about carrying the extra cans/bottles. I learnt about camelbak (?) when someone mentioned it ;)
    – OldPadawan
    Oct 6, 2017 at 15:55
  • In any position. Most water bottles are gravity fed, especially cycling ones. To drink like that requires a straw of some sort. :)
    – JohnP
    Oct 6, 2017 at 15:56
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    Not everyone has the same definition of "friend" so I think more explanation won't harm. Also, just adding personal experience ("I have friends, they don't mind when I ask them for water") will do here. And, if you see other answers lacking back up, feel free to comment + flag
    – Ael
    Dec 31, 2018 at 21:33

Does he ever drink up both bottles, or does he usually have some to spare? If he drinks both bottles, you should carry your own second bottle somewhere.

If he doesn't drink both bottles, and you know he has water to spare, offer to carry something of roughly equivalent weight at the beginning of the trip so he's not lugging all that water 'for you'.

Hey, Bob, can I have water from your second water bottle if you have some to spare? I'd be happy to carry your (x) on the ride.

If he says, "Yes, of course" to the water and, "No, that's fine" to the offer to carry something else, he's genuinely not bothered by the request and there's no need to feel rude. But if he says, "no, not today, I need it" - ever - it's time to carry your own.


If you genuinely can't carry water and he can, then you simply ask. He won't be offended.

However you genuinely can and should carry your own water. There are many solutions to this problem, where the water bottles can be fitted elsewhere. There are water bottle holders which can be fitted on your saddle, as other people have mentioned, or you could use something like this. Or everyone with even the slightest interest in outdoors exercise has seen a Camelbak.

Given all these options, your friend should be offended that your first reaction is to try to get him to carry your water instead of putting minimal effort into sorting it yourself. As someone who does a lot of hillwalking, I'll usually hand my water bottle around at rest stops, and if someone runs out then I've no problems sharing. But I do absolutely resent anyone who assumes they don't need to carry water because I'll look after them. The interpersonal problem is your assumption, not how to ask for help.


Well, I'd start by just asking, but it seems to me that you're dealing with an anxiety issue I've combated in my life.

I feel very uncomfortable asking anybody for pretty much anything. I've had friends get hilariously exasperated with me because of this- on one memorable occasion I was staying at a hostel while visiting Chicago, and the guys in the group I was spending most of my time with assumed I was staying with an old hockey teammate. When they found out that wasn't the case, two of them made it very clear I was always welcome to stay with them- one even had a spare bedroom.

To combat this, I've started asking myself the following question- Would I consider this an unreasonable request if somebody asked me? If I had a friend visiting, would he be welcome to stay with me? If the answer is yes, it's probably ok to ask the question- regardless of the answer, it isn't going to be taken as rude, or me imposing on them.

So in your case, I'd ask myself, if my friend was thirsty after a hard bike ride, needed water, and I had some, would I share it? Certainly! So be polite, but just ask, and if your friend is somehow mortally offended and this question destroys your relationship, you might have to consider moving on from the relationship, because that would be an exceptionally bizarre reaction to a simple request.

I'd also recommend packing more water if you can, but remind yourself that it is ok to ask for help!


As a fellow rider we've all been there. Bonking on water is bad enough, bonking on food is worse. I've offered/given gels to random people because its the right thing to do.

Try something like

"Hey Fred lets stop at Victoria Park for water."

or if you're racing/competitive

"Last one to the top of Dyers Pass buys the coffees! GO!"

But the real underlying fix is to identify your problem and fix it for the next ride. Imposing on someone else once is okay, but time after time is just rude.

You can use a single larger/taller bottle, or add a second bottle to your pocket (cycling jerseys have three across the lower back and small/medium bottles fit the middle pocket fine. Carry a camelbak or other backpack with more water.

Or simply drain a bottle before you leave for your ride, that's called "pre-hydration" and will tide you over for up to an hour.

  • Figure out where in your area has drinkable (potable) water. In my area there are a couple of farmers that have a tap at their front gate, specifically for riders. Also drinking fountains in parks work well. I also know of a couple of remote tramping huts that have roof-reservoirs, but you'd want to treat them before drinking.
    – user5267
    Oct 7, 2017 at 20:17

I think part of the problem here is really that you're expecting him to help when he's prepared, and you aren't. While there are a few situations where this is fine, relying on someone else because they're more prepared than you are is a terrible way to go about doing things.

I feel extremely rude if I ask him if I'm allowed some of his second water because he has done the hard work of carrying it all the way and I am just going to drink it without repaying him in any way.

This is entirely valid.

I'd suggest that in the rare instances where you need to do this - you treat him. This shows your appreciation for his hard work in carrying the water for you, and its always nice to be appreciated. Also, after a while, it might make more sense to carry more water, but I'm sure that's covered by many of the other answers.


How can I ask my friend if I'm allowed some of his water without getting into an argument or offending him,…

In an impromptu cycling trip, (if such a thing exists) it is not rude to ask a friend to drink or share from their second supply of water. You didn't know that your single bottle would not be enough. I can't imagine a good friend objecting. If he's icky about germs or possible spittle, may I suggest squeezing the bottle and directly squirting (or pouring) its contents in your mouth without the nozzle actually touching your lips.

However, if you know beforehand that you will need a second water bottle…

and it seems you do, then it is very selfish to expect a friend to sacrifice his second bottle for your own needs. You know your friend has a 2nd bottle, why do you think he won't need it? If you know a 2nd water bottle is necessary for you then it is up to you to find a solution.

Many users have submitted answers that provide excellent practical solutions that should resolve this dilemma. I will suggest another because it is a new idea, which hasn't been suggested.

In Italy, there are many public water fountains, they can be found in towns, cities but more importantly in the countryside and in the mountains. There is an APP that helps you find the nearest fountain in Italy. Maybe there is another App for your country or region.

picture of a water fountain

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