Why You Should Stay Hydrated
Regardless of the season, staying hydrated is critical not just to maintain strong athletic performance but to ensure overall wellness. Especially during the summer months, dehydration can occur quickly under any circumstances, which means that it can happen even more quickly while bicycling, leaving you feeling dizzy and sluggish from even a mild case of dehydration.
Staying well-hydrated while biking is critical because your body uses moisture via sweat to keep you cool. The more you sweat, the more water and electrolytes your body is losing, and the more you’ll need to replace.
How to Hydrate
It seems like it should be simple to stay hydrated, but there’s a lot more to it than just drinking water every time you feel a little thirsty. When you’re approaching a workout or a ride, it’s important to think about hydration before, during, and after the actual exercise.
Before You Ride
Staying hydrated throughout the day is critical, so keep a bottle of water handy and sip regularly. When you know you’re going to ride, plan ahead by drinking 12-16 ounces of water or a sports drink about four hours before you start riding and then another 12 ounces about two hours before riding. This will give your body time to absorb the liquid without making you feel uncomfortable while you ride.
During Your Ride
You can’t comfortably drink enough water during a ride to replace 100% of your lost fluids, so try to replace about 75% based on your weight. You can estimate how much you’ll need by weighing yourself before and after a one-hour ride; this will give you your sweat rate. By knowing your sweat rate, you can tell about how much water you should be sipping while you ride. If you don’t have the option to pre-measure your sweat rate, estimate a 16-ounce bottle of water per hour in cool weather and 3-4 bottles per hour during hot weather.
Remember, once you feel thirsty, you’re already operating in a hydration deficit, so it’s best to take several large swallows every 10-15 minutes rather than waiting until you feel the urge to drink.
When you finish biking, your goal is to replace the remaining lost fluid and electrolytes. Weigh yourself again and drink approximately 20 ounces of water for every lost pound. You should also plan to drink a sports drink to replace sodium lost from sweat and have a light meal within an hour of finishing your ride.
Biking & Hydration
Making sure you have ready, convenient access to your water while you ride is critical. If you can’t reach your water, you’re not going to drink it. Try out different methods for hydrating while you ride to find one that’s comfortable and convenient for you. Hydration bladders like CamelBak enable you to have easy access to your water and to carry larger quantities. We carry a variety of CamelBaks in the store so stop by and we’ll be happy to help you find the perfect one.
If you don’t like having to wear a backpack while riding you’ll need to have a bottle cage installed on your bike to hold bottles of water. Not only do we carry a large selection of bottle cages and bottles, but our service department is more than happy to install one on your bike for you.