Watch any of the Grand Tours like the Tour de France or the Giro d’Italia and you’ll see how serious they are about keeping up their fluid intake. We don’t expect you to reach the cycling heights those riders do but everyone, no matter how serious, needs to stay hydrated to get the most out of their ride. It might be cross country cycling or a long ride on a city bike trail; whatever you’re doing, better hydration means a better ride.
It’s important to remember that you shouldn’t wait until you’re thirsty to have a drink. It’s best to drink little and often from the start of your ride and our hydration systems make it easy to do that. Aim to take 2-3 good sized gulps every 10-15 minutes if you’re riding hard in a race or training session. Obviously, if your ride isn’t as serious or as competitive, you won’t need to be as attentive to your hydration requirements but it will still be beneficial if you keep up your fluid intake. Here’s why.
Studies reveal that even low fluid losses can adversely affect your ability to ride. Just a 2% drop in body weight due to sweating (1.6 kg for an 80 kg rider) will impair your performance quite noticeably. Meanwhile, 4% decreases your capacity for muscular work and at 5%, heat exhaustion can become an issue, while your capacity for work will drop by up to 30%. When you get to 7%, you may experience hallucinations and a 10% drop in body weight means circulatory collapse, heat stroke and even death are possible. This is why those elite riders are so careful about how much fluid they take in - it could well be a matter of life and death.
For rides of under 60 minutes, plain water is just fine. For longer and more strenuous rides, or in hot conditions, it’s smart to add electrolytes. Plain water may cause you to get that awful bloated feeling, and this will likely reduce your wish to drink before fluid losses have been replaced.
We strongly advise you to get as much expert advice as you can about hydration while riding, as well as some form of calorie intake for long races or training rides. Getting it right really will help you get the most out of your ride, and keep you in the best possible shape, both during and after. When it comes to the nutrition your body requires, check out our range and contact us if you need to find out more.