Hydration During Cycling



Jsbe222

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Jun 13, 2015
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I have noticed that during road rides I drink A LOT of water compared to the other people I ride with. For example I recently did a 50 mile group ride in around 80 degree weather and during the ride I drank 100+ ounces of water while the other riders managed with around 50 ounces. I am probably considered to be a bigger rider than most (5'10" 170lbs) so I was wondering if that might be playing a role in the amount of water I drink during rides? Is it normal for someone to need to drink that much water during a ride of that distance?
 
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maydog

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Feb 5, 2010
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Common suggestions are about 1 bottle of water an hour for hydration, but there is going to be a lot of personal variation about the norm.

Larger size folks have to work harder to keep pace and have a harder time loosing heat to the enviroment, so it seems natural that a bigger rider will sweat more and require more rehydration.
 

metalmancpa

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Jun 11, 2015
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I am horrible at hydration. The 30-mile ride I recently did, I had one water bottle with me and I barely went through 1/2. I know that's wrong - I just need to hydrate better,m as I know it will help my performance on longer rides.
 

mpre53

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Feb 20, 2013
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metalmancpa said:
I am horrible at hydration. The 30-mile ride I recently did, I had one water bottle with me and I barely went through 1/2. I know that's wrong - I just need to hydrate better,m as I know it will help my performance on longer rides.
I don't drink much more than that on a 30 mile ride. 30 miles isn't really all that far.
 

ABNPFDR

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Sep 24, 2014
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I was always taught that you hydrate the night before, not the morning of or during. 80 degree ride, 50 miles. I'll go through a full bottle. On our normal 35 mile group ride, I'll go through 4 ounces. I usually only bring a half bottle.

But practices and what you're acclimated to can be a significant factor. If it works for you, and you are not cramping or your performance is not hampered then keep on doing it.
 

Jojo83

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Feb 22, 2015
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We are about the same size... 5'9, 160 lbs. Like you, I used to drink a lot when riding. And because of that, I have to stop and take a **** a lot of times during the ride. Which is very irritating. But, I learned something after experiencing riding those 350 miles, really long distances... You just sip a mouthful every once in a while from your water bottle, just enough to moisten your throat and get a little drink. It saves on water especially on those really long rides, and keeps you hydrated just enough so that your body get used to riding long distances without needing a lot of water.
 

ZXD22

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Mar 21, 2015
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Hydration depends on many situations, the major ones being how humid/warm it is outside and how much you are perspiring. If it is very humid, 2+ bottles an hour would suffice. I tend to over drink a little bit which doesn't affect my biking much. Its better to be safe than sorry!
 

NicCris

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Jun 25, 2015
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I think a basic guideline is to drink about 20 ounces of water for every hour that you ride. Depending on your personal physiology or warm temperatures, you may need to drink more than this. If you hydrate properly on a regular basis, you won't need to worry as much about getting dehydrated during a typical moderate ride.
 

bsthebenster

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May 28, 2015
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The reason you might drink more water than other people could be because people just suck at hydration. I'd say no more than 20% of people actually drink as much water as they need. If you feel you need some, then go for it.
 

Froze

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Jul 13, 2004
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The average is one bottle per hour, but that means average rider, average weather, average terrain, etc. When I use to live in the Mojave Desert area of California in the summer I consumed 1 24 ounce bottle per 30 minutes, but now that I live in NE Indiana on a cool day I may consume 1 24 ounce bottle in 1 1/2 hours. On the average you take 2 gulps every 15 minutes.

Weighing yourself before and after a ride is one way to tell if you got enough water, if you weigh less afterwards you didn't drink enough. Another way is the color of your urine, note I said color not taste, anywho, if the urine is yellow to dark yellow you didn't drink enough, it should be a pale yellow. And yet another test is to pinch some skin at the wrist about 1/4th of an inch and let go it should go back to it's original position in less than 2 to 3 seconds, a slow rebound means not enough liquid in your system.

You don't want to drink too much either or else you could suffer from hyponatremia which can kill you.

To prepare yourself for a ride you should drink about 16 to 34 ounces of water over a period of about an hour about 4 hours before the ride, then about 2 hours before the ride you drink another 12 ounces taking about an hour to drink it. When you return drink another 24 ounces over a period of an hour, that drink should be a electrolyte replacement drink.
 

niightwind

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Jun 28, 2015
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I definitely drink a lot of water as well. In an average hour-long ride I can go through at least a bottle of water, but usually a lot more than that. While drinking a lot of water can be an issue sometimes, that problem is most often caused by people that drink excessive amounts to keep themselves feeling full without needing food; a friend of mine got sick that way. For most people, though, the problem is that they are not drinking enough. Compared to most people I know I drink a significantly larger amount, but I actually drink the recommended amount for an adult to drink within a day. Could be that, like bsthebenster said, your buddies just suck at getting in the right amount. :p

I don't think it is something you likely have to worry about though. When you feel thirsty, don't feel hesitant to take a drink. :)
 

Mengtian

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Jun 3, 2015
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I need to drink more myself. I seldom touch a bottle the first hour. I just did 40 miles (2 hours) 85 deg and went through one water bottle. Sometimes I get caught up in how good my avg speed is a don't want to slow down to get a drink.
 

Froze

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Jul 13, 2004
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Mengtian said:
I need to drink more myself. I seldom touch a bottle the first hour. I just did 40 miles (2 hours) 85 deg and went through one water bottle. Sometimes I get caught up in how good my avg speed is a don't want to slow down to get a drink.

Depending on the heat of course but if it's hot I'll start drinking about 30 to 45 minutes into the ride and then try to time it so my last drink is about 30 minutes before I reach home. On cooler days I take a 2 hour ride and may not hit the bottle till at least an hour has gone by. I went on a cloudy cool day last week and did 50 miles in 2 1/2 hours and didn't even finish the bottle! So it just depends on weather and the person. The guidelines I gave earlier are just that, guidelines, not some set in stone fact, but a lot of riders, if not most, don't drink enough, you do have to know how your body reacts..
 

Keyan

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Jul 7, 2015
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I drink few hours before the event and I take a bottle to moisten my lips and throat. Do you guys drink just water or do you prefer to take with you something that is intended to fight dehydration? There are some drinks out there that will give you the electrolytes you lost when your perspired. Do you consider that or a plain good old bottle of water is enough?
 

Froze

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Jul 13, 2004
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I usually carry one bottle of 50 to 66% diluted Gatorade and one of plain water, on long trips I'll take an extra bottle of Gatorade. When you sweat you lose electrolytes this is a proven fact that has been known for a very long time, and the more you sweat, like with constant physical exertion, the more you need electrolytes. But you don't need anything expensive to replace those electrolytes as the LBS's will try to push, simple and cheap (about 10 cents a bottle) powdered Gatorade will do the trick very well and has the same basic ingredients as the johnny come lately **** that as gone rampant in the athletic world, or you can make your own if you don't want to buy some commercial product with questionable ingredients, personally I just use Gatorade because it works and I don't have to take time to make something. Just don't drink Gatorade like soda when not doing anything because like soda it will add weight eventually.

Also weird stuff that a lot of people never consider is that chocolate milk is a great recovery drink, far cheaper than recovery drinks sold in LBS's and more natural. Coconut water works too but that is expensive and just a fad.

Here's a simple kind of goofy but accurate way of what to drink and when to drink it: http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2009/02/03/what-the-eff-is-an-electrolyte-is-gatorade-the-real-deal/
 

freddyonabike

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Jul 14, 2015
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I usually carry (2) 40 ounce containers of water when I go bike riding for about 3 hours. Seems like I always get more thirsty when I ride bikes than when I run or hike. I definitely do sweat more. I'm wondering if there is a threshold for how much water is TOO much water? Sometimes I drink a lot of water and feel sick while bike riding.

I like to stay away from Gatorade or other sports drinks because I cycle for weight loss and fitness and drinking sugar and sodium seems counterproductive for my end goal, but to each his own. Water does the trick for me. The only problem I have is keeping it cold.
 

JSWin

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Jul 13, 2015
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Well yeah it is great to drink a ton of water. A gallon and a half a day does wonders. Generally speaking though it is about 1/2 your body weight in ounces. If it is hot you of course get more thirsty. You need it. Rule of thumb is if your mouth is parched the rest of your body is dehydrated. Biking or any form of exercise it is really good to hydrate before. Getting in as much as possible is something that will help you sustain. Keeping it handy is always best during. Exercise makes it easier I think to actually want to drink the proper amount.