How much water should you drink while cycling?

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When asked the amount of water they gobble down, cyclists have varied answers. Some believe in consuming it often, some reach for the bottle more sparingly. Again some believe in following a pattern of water drinking with equal and calculated intervals. There are also some people who like to have a good amount of cold water after cycling and believe it be very helpful. They believe that after a long and tough ride, cold water shall ward off all the dehydration. However, when it comes the amount of water one should intake it depends on your personal choice. Where on one hand scientific researchers offer some opinions with regards to this query, on the other your preference of water regime is also of utmost importance. 

What the Researchers Found

Whilst studying the water habits of cyclists, researchers discovered some very essential information. The findings are twofold. For a short and quick ride, it is advised to stay off of any consumption of water. It was observed that riders who had water during small distances are prone to complications such as stomach ache and bloating that result from accumulation of fluids besides the water in the stomach. Therefore, it is recommended to avoid having water during fast and short rides. The second fold to this study involves long rides, although the trend is quite different with this aspect. Well, you might think water consumption should be frequent in a long and leisurely ride. But in this situation it is advised to follow the thirst route, wherein you drink when you feel the need to drink water. It is seen that cyclists have a better performance rate when they consume water as and when their body demands as against those who do not drink water at all.

Factors Influencing Water Intake During Cycling

Having said that, there are a lot of factors that work together to determine how much to drink during lengthy rides. 

So, there exists two main strategies that cyclists go for, namely, thirst oriented and the other one involves having a well-planned schedule. You intake when you feel the need to hydrate yourself or you intake water at intervals wherein choice is immaterial. Both are preferred by all kinds of cyclists but factors such as environment, duration, opportunities to drink and the cyclist’s preference make all the difference. 

Be it cyclists or even runners, it is a common misnomer that more water is equal to better performance. Water is not the energy booster but merely keeps you hydrated and quenches your thirst. Therefore, grabbing the bottle 2-3 times during a long, tedious ride is not bad for your health. At the same time, you must know how to increase it during humid and hot days. There are situations such as winters, when your body is less prone to develop thirst, wherein a planned drinking strategy is quintessential. But in the end, the ‘bottle is in your court’ and you must go for it when needed at your own convenience without harming your body.  

Which way is the right way?

The bottom line here is that the amount of water you take in has a direct and substantial effect on your performance and your body. Having too little or too much water, both have proven to have hurtful results. It is better to avoid empting your bottle during short and intensive rides, even during harm days. The reason behind this is that you might develop a stomach pain, so unbearable that it will mess up your whole system. It your thirst guide you on long rides lasting more than an hour as planned drinking often turns into a burden. The ride becomes more about water than about cycling. 

It is your choice and your body must be in consonance with it. It is always better to enjoy the perks of water at your own pace. Like they say not only the thirsty seeks water, the water also seeks the thirsty.  Cycling is an energizing activity and it is essential to take care of one’s health while working on it. 

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