Drinking enough water is essential if you want your muscles and, importantly, your brain to perform at their best when you’re on the bike, and you’ll recover better, too. Follow these tips from mountain bike coach Chris Kilmurray to stay hydrated while riding.
1. Lifestyle extension
Staying hydrated on the bike should be an extension of staying hydrated in your daily life. Never start a ride dehydrated. Begin each day with a 500ml glass of water. Tea and coffee count as extras too. Aim to drink another 500ml half an hour before you start riding.
2. Know your kit
Whether you ride with a backpack and hydration bladder or drink bottle and cage, aim to have a minimum of 750ml with you — that’s enough for one hour to 90 minutes of moderate riding. Any longer and you’ll need to carry more fluid or know a place to refill.
3. Little and often
Sipping on fluid after the first half hour of riding plus always drinking three gulps with any food consumed is a great way to stay on top of your hydration. If you’ve not drunk at least 500ml in 90 minutes you’re not drinking enough. Drink more than that in 30 minutes or less and you’re overdoing it.
4. Electrolyte tablets
While not essential, a quality electrolyte tablet that contains potassium, sodium, calcium and magnesium will help you retain the fluids you’re drinking, and they often add a great taste to plain water for those who like something different. It’s usually one tab per 500ml of water.