How to tell if you are getting dehydrated on your summer rides

Drinking enough fluids is so important for your performance on the bike and your health

July 28th, 2019 by | Posted in Health+Nutrition | Tags:

In the height of the Canadian summer, temperatures can regularly skyrocket to upwards of 40 C with the humidex. This heat can cause some serious dehydration, especially for cyclists. The risks of dehydration are elevated in the heat but staying hydrated on the bike throughout the summer is important for your health.

Photo: John Gibson

It’s important to recognize the signs of dehydration. After a ride you might have a headache, you could feel tired and you feel weak. To access exactly how dehydrated you’ve become post-ride, there’s a quick test you can do to find out.

It’s a simple test and all you need is a digital scale. You want to weigh yourself with minimal clothing on before you head out the door. Try to use the washroom before weighing yourself. Take note of that number and how much you drink during your ride. Once you come home, do the same test again with minimal clothing on following a trip to the bathroom and see how much weight you’ve lost.

A 150 lb person, losing three pounds or under is a safe zone, but more than that and you need to address how you’re hydrating on the go. That’ll have to involve drinking more bottles on the bike and introducing more electrolytes to your hydration strategy.

scale weight

When planning your rides, consider how many bottles you’ll go through and make sure there are spots on the route to fill up your bottles at a cafe or gas station. Being hydrated can be the difference between a strong end of your ride versus a slow, defeated one. And when it’s really hot and humid, you may also consider trying to avoid the hottest part of the day to ride or adjusting your intensity not to overdo it.

This summer when you are riding, be mindful of your hydration to stay healthy and feel better on the ride, and for the rest of the day after.