Tips for Hydration when Riding in Hot Weather

Bike Riding in the Heat

Hydration tips when riding in the heat

Image by © Tim Tadder/Corbis

Consuming the right amount of water and electrolytes is one of the keys to healthy comfortable riding during hot weather.

How much water should I drink when riding my bike? Follow these tips to stay hydrated:

Drink fluids before, during and after your rides. Before, so you start properly hydrated. During, so you replace some of the water you lose through sweat. Afterwards, so that you get your hydration level back up to normal which will help you body recover.

  • Before: Drink 8 to 16 ounces before you ride one to two hours before you ride. This will give your body time to process the water, taking what it needs and eliminating the rest.
     
  • During: A good rule of thumb is to drink one standard water bottle (20 ounces) per hour. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. You can lose up to 1.5 quarts (50 ounces) of body fluid before you feel thirsty. Once you get dehydrated it is very difficult for the body to catch up even if you begin to drink. Instead, take sips every 15 minutes.

In hot humid weather like we have in Florida you may need more than 1 bottle per hour of exercise. Everyone’s sweat rate is different. Cycling Safely in the Heat tells you how to calculate how much fluid you need based on the amount you sweat.

If you cycle for more than 1 hour, add electrolytes to your drink or use a sports drink that contains electrolytes.

Keep it cool. On a hot day it doesn’t take long for water to heat up. Drinking warm water on a hot day? Yuck! It’s easier to drink cool water. Insulated water bottles made by Camelbak will keep your water cooler for longer.

Another trick is to prepare them the night before and stick them in the freezer. Leave about a third empty and top them up with water in the morning before you ride.

  • Afterward: Drink enough water to return your pre-ride body weight. Don’t worry this will not interfere with you weight loss goals as the weight you lose while on the bike is almost all water weight. Most body fat loss occurs during the 24 hours after you get off of the bike as your body recovers from the exercise.

Hydrate properly and enjoy your bike this summer and fall!

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