A Refreshing Idea… The Story of Relaj
The wheels of Relaj began turning in 2007. Its principal owners, Bruce and Becky Bernstein, had a 14 year old son, Alex, who’d been peddling the steamy Tampa streets on an old, tattered, beach cruiser. He’d sometimes ride 50 miles at a time on this rusty, old machine. At Christmas, his life changed dramatically when he was given a brand new road bike. His riding distances increased, as did his passion for the sport. So, a coach was hired to make sure he knew the rules of the road and was riding safely.
The coach soon found that Alex had some talent as a cyclist, as well as an interest in racing, so they began more intense training. One of the coach’s first areas of focus was proper hydration, especially while riding long distances in the scorching Florida sun. It took a while, but Alex finally took heed of this important message. Then, one July afternoon while watching a racer struggle to get water from his bottle during the 2008 Tour de France, he turned to his parents and matter-of-factly asked, “Why doesn’t someone invent a bottle that I can actually drink from?”
When asked to explain, he replied, “Well, I can’t get water out of the bottle without tipping my head back, and then I can’t see the road.”
The safety implications of his response were clear and further research uncovered a myriad of other performance-related problems with water bottles used by cyclists. However, as Alex had suggested, one glaring flaw was especially apparent in people new to the sport – to drink all the water from the bottle, they would squeeze intensely and, toward the end, would tip the head back causing the rider to abandon optimum riding position and, more importantly, impeded their vision of the road ahead.
Convinced these issues could be fixed, serious discussions began about a startup enterprise. A new family business was incorporated in August of 2008 and, shortly thereafter, a design firm was hired. The collaboration resulted in a top-to-bottom overhaul of this highly visible, yet often overlooked product category. The Relaj Water Bottle’s patented design revolutionizes water bottle shape, style, and functionality. Other patents are pending.