Fluids for Cyclists

It is important to hydrate your muscle cells and to keep them topped up during training and longer races, drink often. Thirst is suppressed during exercise. Though trained cyclists are generally able to judge how much to drink taking in consideration of distance humidity, airflow, fitness etc. dehydration can feel deceptive because it feels exactly like the Bonk. That is why it would be an advantage to have on board the carb replacement drink because it is serving 2 purposes, blood sugar and hydration.

A fluid loss as little as 2% of total body weight can severely affect your performance. Weigh yourself before and after a long ride. If you come back less than one kilo lighter you’ve done well. Anything over a kilo and you’ll need to rethink your hydration strategy. Weigh yourself again next morning and if you are still underweight then I guess you are (a) not re hydrated fully and (b) not fully replenished your muscle energy stores). Watch out for other posts on what to take in “after a ride”


When you raise your body temperature you sweat. During the sweating process you will sweat out fluids, salts, minerals and electrolytes etc. These need to be replaced at the end of your ride during the winter months, and during a ride in the summer.

Electrolytes pull fluids out of the blood stream and deposit them into cells where they are far less effective in compensating for fluid losses through sweating.

If you have ever suffered diarrhoea, the recovery leaves you fatigued and this is due to the loss of fluids, salts minerals electrolytes etc and can be replaced by taking a mineral replacement like Dioralite, which is a cheaper and just as effective drink form as an expensive “Electrolyte” brand name like, “Hydrosource” You can buy Dioralite in any chemist or supermarket. You can also make up a very effective electrolyte replacement drink yourself by diluting 100ml of fresh fruit juice with 400ml of water plus a small pinch of salt (preferably the LoSalt variety which is high in potassium). This is ideal as a drink for short rides or as a drink after riding when you know your fluid and electrolytes are down.

Written by Padraig Marrey

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