Whether you are exercising during the summer or winter, in the heat or cold, your body needs water to function at its best. Drinking water is about more than just quenching your thirst; it’s about staying healthy and avoiding serious medical conditions. Do we need to drink lots of water even when it’s cold out? the answer is simple: Yes!
Don’t leave it to your thirst to tell you that your body needs water. Even if you are not thirsty when exercising, your body needs water – even when it is 20° F outside!
Is Bicycle Hydration Really That Important?
Water is the most essential ingredient in the human body. It is important for such functions as lubricating joints and tissues, regulating body temperature, and transporting nutrients and cellular waste. As you can see, water is inarguably essential to the general health of your body, and can be a determining factor in whether or not you have a great bicycle ride..
Leaving Yourself High and Dry
But what happens when you don’t drink enough water? During biking exercise, our need for water is accelerated, and thus the onset of symptoms of dehydration can also be accelerated. Symptoms of dehydration include dizziness, cramps and fatigue. However, cyclists can also become subject to more serious medical conditions like heat exhaustion (symptoms include disorientation and nausea) and heat stroke (symptoms include vomiting and seizures).
As you can see, symptoms of dehydration range from merely uncomfortable to possibly fatal. But there is good news! If you drink drink enough fluids, and stay within your limits during sports, you can enjoy the best that physical activity has to offer.
How Much Water is Enough?
You might have heard some people say that it is possible to drink too much water (hyponatremia). In my case, I drink liters of water a day and I have never experienced this condition! Thus, unless you are racing, or a certified nutritionist has told you otherwise, I would highly suggest that you consume liberal amounts of water.
If you are still wondering how much is enough, the best advice I can give you (based on findings from the American Institute of Medicine) is to develop your own personalized program. This includes taking your pre- and post-exercise weight to determine fluid loss.
As a rough guideline, you should attempt to drink about 500 ml for every 0.5 kilogram drop in post-exercise weight. Because individuals have differing requirements according to their bodies, and sweat at different rates, this pre- and post-exercise weight differential is the best way to determine your personal water needs.
Find the Best Bicycle Hydration System for You
Hopefully, I have convinced you by now that water is important. The next question is how to carry the elixir of life with you! Probably the easiest way to do so would be to toss a water bottle in your cycling backpack. However, this would require you to stop your bike every time you wanted to have a drink.
Did you know…?
Did you know that drinking more water helps you lose weight?
Numerous scientific studies have shown that people who drink large amounts of water throughout the day burn more fat than those who drink less. If you’re hoping to shed flab through cycling, drink lots of water. It’ll not only keep you safe and healthy, but also help you shrink down your waistline.
You can read here more about bicycling for weight loss.
A convenient and inexpensive way to carry a bicycle water bottle with you on your rides is to affix an easily installed water bottle cage to your bike frame. While most of these attach to your down tube, companies such as Elite produce cages that affix to your bicycle handlebars or bike saddle. While these cages are made for triathletes, if they’re convenient for you you should use them, too!
Water bottle cages are great for road bikes and other styles of bikes. A liter of water is usually adequate for a bike ride of two hours or less. However, if you are planning on longer bicycling tours, you might want to consider a way of carrying more water with you.
A while ago CamelBak came out with a specially-designed backpack that contains a pocket in which a water bladder could fit. This water is accessed by way of a drinking hose, thus allowing the rider to focus more on riding and less on drinking! Since this innovation, a number of other companies have produced similar styles of bicycle hydration systems. Whichever brand you decide to go with, cycling backpack-style hydration systems are incredibly handy – not only for water, but also for carrying things like fruit, extra cycling clothes, bicycle safety equipment, spare bicycle inner tubes and bicycle repair kits. Bicycle hydration backpacks come in different sizes, from sleek aerodynamic packs to larger packs that allow you to fit everything you need to carry.
Suggested Bicycle Hydration Systems
Here are some suggested options for bringing the good stuff with you on your next ride:
Do I Need More Than Water?
Many would-be Olympians believe that any kind of exercise warrants a need for sports beverages. However, unless you are exercising at an intense level for over 60 minutes, there is no need to consume these beverages. In fact, these extra carbohydrates, if not burned, may instead be converted to stored energy (fat) – which is probably not what you want!
For those planning on taking their bodies to the limit for three to five hours or more (Ironman, ultra-marathon, adventure racing, etc.), you might want to consider a complex sports drink containing not only carbohydrates, but also electrolytes and minerals.
Note: This advice is not meant to replace the advice of a medical professional. For the best advice on sports supplementation, you should consult a trained and certified sports nutritionist.
Where to Buy Sports Drinks?
If you are interested in buying sports drinks you are invited to visit these trusted online stores:
Buying Sports Drinks on eBay
Books About Cycling Hydration
More information about cycling hydration can be found on several informative books. Take a look:
More Cycling Hydration Pictures
Take a look at our typical cycling hydration during our biking in Montenegro:
and dance like no one is watching.”