Staying well hydrated on a bike ride is essential to your enjoyment and performance as you cycle.
Did you know that an average rider can sweat around 1.0-1.5L per hour on a ride? The tricky thing with hydration for cycling is that you don’t typically notice you’re sweating much, as the moisture evaporates straight off your skin due to the air movement. If you don’t replace that fluid as you ride, you compromise a lot of the body’s key functions.
Did you know that water does all of these things…. And more?
Just 2% loss in body mass from dehydration is going to impact your performance significantly, and hamper your enjoyment of the ride. So don’t waste those precious hours of pedalling by not drinking up!
Follow our guide to hydration for cycling to hydrate like a pro!
As a general guide, you need around 600ml (21oz) fluid per hour on a ride. Of course, that could increase if you’re riding somewhere hot, or if you’re working hard trying to take some Strava segments!
However, just because it’s cold it doesn’t mean you should drink less – you may not feel so inclined to drink, but you’re still sweating and you’ll be losing body moisture as your breath evaporates.
Fortunately for you, our water bottles hold 680ml (24oz), so if you plan to drink one of these per hour, then you’ve got an easy way of keeping track.
It’s definitely a case of ‘little and often’ with hydration for cycling. This is far more effective than downing a whole bottle in one go and then not drinking again for an hour. This is because as soon as you become dehydrated, it’s very difficult to reverse the situation quickly, and you’ll be unlikely to do it within the space of the ride.
Here at PRO BIKE TOOL HQ, we find the most effective way to keep hydrated is to start sipping on your bottle immediately and then aiming to keep drinking every 15 minutes or so. It’s easy to forget, until you get into the habit. A great way to ensure you’re drinking frequently enough is to set an alarm on any bike computer or sports watch you may be using.
What to drink?
Plain water is fine for keeping you hydrated on shorter easier rides – or you could consider adding fruit juice or cordial to add flavour, which will give you more incentive to drink.
But when you start riding in hotter environments, or riding particularly hard or for a long time, you may want to consider adding electrolytes and / or carbohydrate.
These make a great addition to your drink when it’s particularly hot.
Electrolytes are the minerals such as potassium, sodium, and magnesium, and these are the key things controlling our bodily functions. They conduct electrical impulses from our brain, through the blood, to the relevant parts of our body such as the muscles.
Electrolytes can easily be added to your drink with the use of special tablets or powders sold by sports companies. They’re dead cheap and can make a big difference to how you feel as you pedal!
For longer rides, adding carbohydrates to your drink is essential to keeping your energy topped up! Carbohydrate is our muscles’ key fuel source, so to keep fast and have fun, they’re vital.
There’s only so much carbohydrate that your body can store at any one time (around 2,000Kcal) and this is depleted faster than you think. If you’re riding super hard, you could burn all that energy in two hours. If you’re going to ride it’s definitely worth adding a carbohydrate powder to your drink and starting to drink it straight away, so that your tank of fuel is always full.
You want to aim to take in around 40g-60g carbohydrate per hour when you ride, and most servings of a sports energy drink deliver around 40g. So, if you have one of these and a sugary snack per hour you’ll be in flying form!
Our water bottle cages and water bottles – the perfect hydration solution!
To really nail your hydration for cycling, you need the tools to do it! Most bike frames will have pre-drilled holes for two water bottle holders, so simply get yourself a couple of our water bottle cages, and two of our insulated bottles, and you’re on a roll!
Here’s why you need to nail your hydration the PRO BIKE TOOL way: