Throughout the duration of a long Tour stage it is important to take on regular quantities of liquid. Exposure to just one of Gary Imlach's ultra-dry asides can reduce body moisture by 15%. Although not on the WADA list of banned substances, tea can improve viewing performance by up to 20% and a steady intake of stimulants can help keep the viewer awake when subjected to the relentless drone of Phil'n'Paul as they read from their battered copy of The Tour de France For Dummies.
Naturally, you will need a receptacle for your tea and the chaps at Look Mum No Hands, an amusingly named boutique in London, have kindly sent us a set of their Tour de France mugs for approval.
It was Team Sky who introduced us to the aggregation of marginal gains. Whether it's shaving Geraint's legs in an aerodynamic airflow patterns modelled on the movement of seasweed in a strong underwater current, chamfering the edge of Boasson Hagen-Daaz's bar tape or fitting Uran's stem cap bolts with tiny aero nose cones, this theory of maximising every tiny detail in order to gain an advantage, however small, also holds true of watching the Tour from the comfort of your sofa. Or Team Sky reclining armchair. I have watched many a Tour with nothing more than a standard tea mug. I have several of those, but none has been optimised for Tour viewing in the way that these have. Start your day by checking the race profile. Sprint stage? Pick the green sprinters mug. Climbing stage? It's spotty mug time. You can either hold back the yellow mug for Paris or fill it with Pernod and salute Thomas Voeckler until he falls off or you slump unconscious. Eddy Merckx's 1969 debut? Drink from all three at once! Just holding the right mug will bring you at least 12% closer to the action.
Someone with extensive tea drinking experience has clearly worked on these mugs. The top lip is pleasingly thin, allowing a significant intake of air and tea with each slurp, essential to extract full flavour from your brew. The handles are a standout feature, tall and shallow they make multi-mugging both easy and a pleasure, reducing knuckle singe by up to 65% compared to standard mugs. Your kitchen domestique should have no trouble bringing at least three in each hand in the style of a Munich beer festival bar maid. If your kitchen domestique is a burly rugby player, make sure he is wearing the appropriate low-cut frilly dress to maximise comedy value by up to 18%.
Sizing is always a potential problem for the advanced tea drinker. Pint mugs allow for a satisfying quantity of tea but go cold before the end. Those skinny china mugs that your mum likes don't hold enough and usually have a nasty screen print of a Persian cat. Our test mugs hold the perfect quantity, just enough for an hours refreshment and not too heavy to strain the skinny wrists of undernourished hipsters.
Lacking biscuits I can't comment on how well they cope with dunking, but the internal diameter of 73mm should accomodate the king of biscuits, the McVities Digestive, quite comfortably.
Enhance your Tour viewing pleasure with these fine beverage containers.
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Make and model: Look Mum No Hands! Tour de France mug set
Size tested: GC, PC, KM
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
LMNH have opted for the less is more approach to marketing blurb, which sells these mugs short in my opinion. They make me feel warm and cossetted, like an embrace from my dear old mum after a long day playing snowballs and paddling in chilly streams.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Despite being very stiff, ceramic is a poor material for frame making. Lateral compliance is almost nil and crash resistance is very poor. This does make it an ideal material for mugs, offering an almost 100% absence of flex, even when full.
If Jean Claude Van Damme was a beverage container he'd be this mug. Drink from a Belgian legend and feel invigorated.
Superb. Add up the aggregated marginal gains and these mugs are at least 187% better than a standard mug.
Should last ages and still be usuable when we finally get a British Tour winner.
At 300g per mug these aren't the lightest you can buy but they offer a better stiffness to weight ratio than other more solid mugs but without compromising strength.
Lovely big handles. Great big handles like the ears on an alert spaniel. Handles for happy hands. Super.
Can you put a price on tea drinking pleasure?
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Magnificent and stylish tea containing.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I felt closer to the race.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It makes all of my other mugs feel inadequate. I shall crush them and make a novelty rockery.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
You'd be a mug to drink tea from anything else.
Age: 42 Height: 5' 8 Weight: er....85kg
I usually ride: Kona Dew Drop, Dawes Century SE My best bike is: Guess SC1 scandium
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, Audax and long distance solo rides