How to: Stay hydrated in the heat

By Jeffrey Stern

Everyone knows once you’re thirsty, it’s too late – dehydration is difficult, if not nearly an impossible of a hole to dig yourself out of if you prepare properly. We’ve got some easy steps to ensure you’re hydrated and ready for a long, summer adventures during the hotter months ahead.

Make it part of your daily routine

Beginning each morning with a glass of water ensures your day starts off on the right foot. Water not only gets your metabolism going, but it also helps your body flush out unwanted toxins, provides brain fuel and decreases the urge to overeat in the morning. Sixteen ounces directly out of bed will also serve as a reminder to keep drinking throughout the day. Once this becomes part of your routine, a morning wakeup without water will feel odd. If you place a water bottle or glass next to your bed before going to sleep, it will be easy to reach for once you’re up. You might even be surprised how refreshed and alert you are with just one simple glass of water.

Plan ahead

It’s time to start focusing on hydration at least 48 hours before a big day of riding. You want to head into that long adventure feeling like your energy and hydration stores are maxed out. That being said, you don’t want to be drinking so much liquid that you have to use the bathroom every 15 minutes because then you’re actually doing more harm than good. It’s key to find the balance and that will take some practice as every individual is different. A handy trick is to carry a water bottle around with you throughout your day, taking little sips every 15-20 minutes. Again, after doing this for a while, it will become second nature and coming hydrated into your ride will be a breeze.

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Electrolytes are vital

Whether it’s hot out or not, you will be sweating while riding your bike. It’s important to find an electrolyte mix that you like the taste of and doesn’t upset your stomach. The only way to do this is to experiment with different brands until you land on one that’s satisfactory. Many companies these days are moving towards the all-natural drink mixes with no artificial ingredients, flavored with real fruit and sugars. These are often lighter than some calorie heavy drinks that aim to hydrate and fuel, but that can be difficult to digest causing gastrointestinal problems. Sticking with a mix you know your body can handle with be a great benefit towards getting through a long day in the saddle.

Drink early and often

Don’t wait until you are thirsty to start hydrating. At that point, it’s too late in the game and you’re already dehydrated. Just like a normal day, take small sips every 15-20 minutes, even if you’re not thirsty. This will insure a constant flow of electrolytes into your system. You may even be surprised that by taking small, regular sips of your bottles you go through them slower than by waiting and taking huge gulps when you’re really thirsty.

Hydration doesn’t stop when the ride does 

You made it through your ride with no cramping, stomach issues or dehydration, great! But don’t stop there. If you’re touring or planning a big ride the next day, keep drinking once off the bike. Stopping at the local brewery for a celebration beer? Take your bottle with you or grab a glass of water from the bartender. It’s important to keep the hydration train rolling so you can ride day after day this summer.

Salt wings. Photo by David Silverander.

Salt wings. Photo by David Silverander.

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