Friday Group Ride #69

Off-label-use in the pharmaceutical world refers to the practice of prescribing any drug for a purpose or to a patient other than for whom it was approved. The FDA can get a little hincky about this, but it goes on all the time. One of the best allergy drugs I ever took was an asthma medication.

My recent trip to Italy reminded me of one of the great divides between American and European culture, as evidenced by the presence of a bidet in my bathroom. On paper, the bidet makes great sense. In practice, I have no idea whatsoever about how to use one … properly. I’d love to learn, but I don’t anticipate getting a personal tutorial on the devices and the nuances of practiced use (I guess I’m supposed to squat?) aren’t likely to be gleaned from an owner’s manual.

So it is that when I travel in Europe, there’s always this extra porcelain device sitting there. I like to maximize my room use, so whenever possible, I press them into service.

My favorite off-label use of bidets is to drain excess water from cycling clothing I’ve just washed in the sink. Sometimes I use them to do the laundry. They have also been repositories for wet clothes when I’ve entered a hotel following a wet ride, and I’ve washed out water bottles in them when the sink is too tiny.

Then there was the time I ate my way into a case of food poisoning so severe that I was humbled to my knees. The bidet seemed an entirely more convenient place to put my face, especially as the sink was six stories above what I could reach.

My sister tells me a bidet is a perfect place to dump a bucket of ice and immerse a bottle of Rosé. She says chilled Rosé is the only way for a non-cyclist to survive a Provençal summer. She knows a bit more than I do about finding a good time.

So if this little discussion hasn’t sent you scrambling for nausea medication, tell us: What’s your favorite off-label use for the bidet?




  1. Souleur

    souleur just tanked it this week, and am just blown.

    so i am off the back w/this weeks ride


  2. John

    When i lived overseas my dad an i always used them as fancy magazine racks. Those things will hold quite load.

  3. James

    A bidet would make an interesting goldfish bowl. It would give you something to do rather than read magazines. And, when the little bugger kicks the bucket just open the drain! Easy disposal. Some of them make nice fountains too (not in the drinking sense but like in a park).

  4. Peter Lütken

    My in-laws had one of those in their bathroom until a recent remodeling. They might be pretty common elsewere in Europe, but here in Norway they are the bathroom fixture equivalent of NOS Mavic Paris-Roubaix SSC-rims.

    Poor thing was last used as a repository for diapers and spare clothes for our (now three year old) son.

  5. Sjb

    From the source of all knowledge and misunderstanding, Wikipedia:

    It is generally understood that the user should sit on a bidet facing the tap and nozzle for washing the genitalia, and should sit with back to the tap and wall when washing the anus and buttocks. For a thorough cleaning, the user should use a hand to scrub the area with soap after wetting, then rinse. A dedicated towel or wipe is often available for drying.

    Give its intended use, cleaning your lower regions when they reach a state of funkiness, why in the world would you even consider putting food stuffs, wine, beer, or your clothes in a bidet?

    1. Author

      I knew this comment was coming; it was as inevitable as traffic in LA.

      I can’t speak for anyone else’s experience or motivation, but the hotels I’ve stayed in featured bidets as clean as the sinks. Only their relative difference in height made them truly distinguishable from one another.

      This reminds me of the episode of “All in the Family” when something happened to the sink and Archie flat-out refused to drink water that came from the toilet tank.

  6. Francesco

    Hotel bidets work great for cleaning dog poop off your shoe after you step in some in a park in Florence. I can find and step in the only dog poo in a one-acre field. It is my gift. It is my curse.

  7. Touriste-Routier

    I haven’t found an electronic version, but the photo of Coppi using the bidet as a foot bath appears on pages 40 & 41 of “an Intimate Portrait of the Tour de France”.

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