Nagging calf cramps...need some advice


Jun 25, 2012
First a short history. I've been out of cycling for about 15 years and just started again on June 23rd. I purchased a new bike and was fitted properly by the local bike shop. Surprisingly I was able to do 22 miles my 1st time back on the bike (flat terrain) steady pace. There's a park that's 3.15 miles around, so I did 6 laps and a little city riding. I took a break after the 1st 6 miles, but was ok after that - still working on getting back my bike legs. Then on the 24th, I did a 26 mile ride. However, the last couple of rides and on yesterdays ride, I've been getting cramps in my calf muscles after about 10 miles. I plan to do a group ride (charity) this weekend which is 16 miles and I don't want to get these nagging cramps. I have 2x water cages; 1 with water, the other powerade or equivalent. Is this a good strategy or should I carry only powerade, it's equivalent and no water?

Oh, I should mention that I am diabetic, too.

What could be causing these cramps?

What can I do to prevent them? Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks Al


Well-Known Member
Apr 12, 2011
I got back into serious riding a few years ago after a long layoff like yourself. Calf cramping was an issue, especially cause I liked to push it even wasn't really in shape (the kind of shape anyway that comes from 4 or 5 times a week of riding for a few months). When I switched out one bottle of pure water for one with a nuun tablet the issue was mitigated quite a bit. Nowadays, I never leave home without one, either already diluted in a bottle, or in my kit.

I think it was partially being out of shape and partially being a bit dehydrated. The sodium in the nuun tablet helped two fold. I stopped getting serious cramps, and I stopped needing to urinate as much on longer rides as I was retaining more fluid (one problem partially being a result of the other). Not so good for wedding photos, but great on a longer ride. Drinking only regular H2O to hydrate and keep cool, especially on longer hot rides, actually flushes important salts and electrolytes out with the increase in urination. The extreme scenario is water toxicity. It turns out too much of anything can be a bad thing.

Nuun is just one product, there are quite a few others.

This was my experience. Other issues may be a factor in your case.

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