What is it?
Refill was launched by Bristol-based environmental initiative City to Sea in September 2015, with the aim of making it easier for people to refill water bottles when they're out and about by showing users designated refill points in their area - which has obvious benefits to cyclists who may have fell short on their hydration needs out on a long ride. The refill points can be anywhere from shops, bars, restaurants and fountains, with over 200 stations now across Bristol’s city centre and thousands of others across the south west of England all the way down to Cornwall. Refill received funding from Geovation to help scale up and develop their free app - they now have their own branded bottle (that you can buy or claim as a reward by building up points via the app) and even a game coming soon.
When you open the app it automatically shows you the nearest refill station, and to register points you just tap on the one you're going to, and then tap the Refill droplet to register that you've refilled. When you've built up 1000 points you can claim a free stainless steel bottle, and Refill say they will offer a choice of rewards in the future.
What makes it unique?
There are other apps in existence that show users where they can access free water, but Refill's quick and easy access to water from shops, restaurants and fountains, plus their incentive scheme is quite different to anything else out there. It's also very easy to add a new refill location yourself - you just tap and hold on the map point and enter the details of your refill station, which takes seconds.
How can it help me?
If you're out on a ride and have run out of water, it could certainly help you! By not having to stop at a shop and buy yourself another bottle you're helping the environment too, and vice versa it could also be a useful covert way for business owners to promote themselves - so it's a winner all-round!
Where can I get it?
You can get Refill on both Android and Apple's App Store. Their handy and informative website also gives plenty of information on the wider movement to reduce plastic bottle use and pollution. It's worth bearing in mind that the Refill scheme is currently operational in Bristol, Bath, Cornwall, Dorset, Devon, and Bradford-on-Avon; with Brighton, Norwich and Hunstanton launching soon.
After cobbling together a few hundred quid during his student days off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story), Jack bought his first road bike at the age of 20 and has been hooked ever since. He joined road.cc in 2017, having previously worked for 220 Triathlon magazine. Jack's preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking (the latter being another long story), and on Sunday afternoons he can often be found on an M5 service station indulging in his favourite post-race meal of 20 chicken nuggets, a sausage roll, caramel shortbread and a large strawberry milkshake.