The Bento Box is one of those things you wish you would have invented. It’s simple, and it gets a job done that just about every biker needs done–making it easy to carry and access your food on your bike.
It’s nothing more than a lightweight nylon box, with a net on the top that is sewn on one side and velcro on the other so you can open and close it easily. The Bento Box has four velcro straps, two of which go around the stem of your bike, and two of which go around the top tube. Then you put your Gu, Clif bars, Chomps, or whatever you want in there.
I just used it for the first time at the Boise 70.3 (yeah, I know–don’t use new things on race day) and I loved it. I got the small Bento Box and was able to cram three Gus and two packages worth of Gu Chomps in there. I took the Chomps out of the packages and just squeezed them in–I didn’t want to have to deal with opening the packaging during the race. I left the Gu in the packaging for obvious reasons.
My only regret is that I got the small Bento Box. Personally I think it’s a little on the small side, and I can’t see any reason why you wouldn’t want to err on the side of having a Bento Box that is too larger vs. too small, unless the larger one runs into your legs or something. But I don’t think it will.
One concern I had is that the Bento Box definitely affects how freely you can turn your front wheel. I noticed this after I put it on my bike, but while I was riding I didn’t notice anything at all, probably because you have to turn your wheel quite a bit to really feel the resistance, and on a tri-bike if you turn your wheel that far it probably means you’ll soon be flying over the cockpit and have other things to worry about. In that sense maybe the Bento Box is also a safety feature…
Anyway, this is one of those products I would say you’ve got to have if you do longer bike rides. Now that I have it I can’t imagine biking without it.