Monday, November 18, 2013

Bicycle commuter mug - Roast House delivers JoeMo

The setup

Last May, I petitioned the Online Council of Supreme Bike Nerds for a commuter mug recommendation. This was my request:
I’m looking for the perfect commuter mug. Here’s the scenario:

  • I ride (coast) to a bus stop about 3 miles away every morning.
  • I usually put my bike in a box, but  sometimes, I put it on the bus for the evening commute. That’s kind of immaterial though.
  • Ideally, I’d spend my 25 minute bus ride drinking a hot coffee. 

I want an ideal mug.

Must haves:
1.       No plastic touching the hot coffee (stainless inside is a requirement)
2.       Good insulation – my coast is often into freezing winds. If coffee isn’t screaming hot and black, I don’t want it.
3.       I can drink from it without disassembling stuff (i.e., I don’t want to unscrew lids) – think one-handed operation
4.       It must not drip/splatter/leak while in commute mode

Nice to have:
Fits in a water bottle cage

I’m finding Requirements #3 and #4 make for tough bedfellows.

Much discussion and sharing ensued, as it often does when one asks for recommendations from bike nerds online. Existing resources were shared. One of the most Supreme of Nerds had even written a small dissertation of his own on this subject.

Other excellent solutions were offered : thermos, another thermos, Sweda, and an Oxo.

But the one that I set my sights on was this one, from a Nerd known as "Lee:"

Hey John, I use the JOEmo, which I found at my local hardware store:
I've had it for several years now which I guess is a good recommendation as it means I haven't unconsciously lost it yet. I can say that it does keep the coffee hot for at least the length of my 1hr+ multimodal commute and it's been leak-proof over all of that time. I wrapped a band or two of cloth handlebar tape around it so it fits snuggly into my cheap ass PlanetBike bottle cage. The tape is now grimy and gross, but the coffee still tastes good and hot.

It turns out you can have no screw-on lid, or you can have no drip, but not both. I know folks will say they have a cup they've used for years that beats this system. OK.

The deal

I'm in with the folks at Roast House. Mainly, I know Bill (pictures here) as a main, go-to cycling -- and now running -- partner. Somehow I met Debbie at some bike-related thing and we became easy chums. Just about everyone at Roast House is a daily bike commuter, ironically, except for Bill, who has to deliver coffee all over town.

So when the Nerds gave me the recommendation, I gave that to Debbie, who went and found it and got it badged with her logo. Now she's selling them for $20.

I bought one.

After a couple weeks: I'm sold. Thanks "Lee."

If you get one, the first thing you must do is soak the drinky-spout thing in super hot water for a 1/2 hour or so. Then do that again. That process blows out the faint plastic funk flavor. Deb recommended that -- it's a good recommendation.

You push that button on the drinky-spouty thing and coffee can pour out. It's a standard coffee mug design. And when closed, it holds the coffee in there. I wouldn't go tossing it in my bag, but if I were a drinking (coffee) -and-riding type, it would work great. Maybe I'll become a drinker-and-rider-of-coffee.

The second thing to do -- assuming you want to put this in a bottle cage, is to wrap it with bar tape and/or rim tape at the cage contact points. You could probably also find a good plastic cage that would hold it well, but the tape solution works for nearly all normal cages AND it makes it yours!

The money piece. It makes the solution a two-handed thing, but it's worth it.

Because I trust it will never spill and I want to maintain as much coffee heat as I can, I've been throwing it in my bag (willy-nilly) with my laptop, papers, clothing, etc.

If you bike and you coffee and you commute on bike with coffee, this is a good thing.


amidnightrider said...

This makes me want to go back to work just so I can bike commute. Not the mug, the whole story. Except for the work part I may have given it more consideration before I dropped it. But the mug looks to be the cat's meow.

alex wetmore said...

How easy is it to clean out the internals of the lid? I hate how many of these designs just breed gunk up in there.

John Speare said...

Midnight: work is over-rated.

Alex: what do mean by "clean?"

It's your typical spring-loaded plasticy weird pour spouty thing. I flush it with boiling water every day. I'm gonna call that clean.

But you're a tea drinker right? That shit really goes wild. I'm black coffee guy, which probably breeds some good stuff too, but I'm hoping the daily flush keeps the bugs out.

alex wetmore said...

On my Thermos you turn a little plastic bit 90 degrees and the 4 components of the sealed top come apart and you can really clean them. I can say from experience with that device that running boiling water through doesn't do the trick.

Coffee (with cream) and tea are my hot beverages of choice.

Lee said...

Glad it's working out for you, John. If it ends up leaking in your bag one day, I will comp you a fresh ream of printer paper and a used t-shirt ;)

Also, you can clean the internals though I've never tried:

One last tip: When I get home from work, I fill it with beer, and then walk to the market to shop for fixings for dinner.