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Old 09-11-2012, 03:20 PM   #1
samueleuk OP
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What to drink during an adventure bike trip

In previous posts on my blog, I discussed the importance of being well hydrated to prevent mental fatigue, and how to assess hydration level. The next question is what to drink during an adventure bike trip. Is plain water enough? Or should we add some electrolytes?

To answer this question, I have got in touch with Dr Ricardo Costa, an expert in sport nutrition at Coventry University. Furthermore, Ricardo has competed in the grueling Marathon des Sables. In this multi-stage ultra-marathon, athletes run 251 km (156 mi) at very high temperatures for six days. So I am sure Ricardo knows well the science of what to drink when sweating profusely for several days in a row.

This situation is similar to riding a motorbike for several days in hot weather. Although physical exertion is much less compared to a marathon, wearing an helmet and full riding gear greatly impairs sweat evaporation and its cooling effect. As a result, even more sweat is produced. So loss of body water through sweating is likely to be very significant during an adventure bike trip in hot weather.

Fortunately, with the exception of sodium, the concentration of electrolytes (e.g., potassium and magnesium) in our sweat is extremely low. This means that even during a multi-stage ultra-marathon in the heat (40C) serum electrolyte concentrations is maintained within normal range (Costa R, personal communication).

Based on this and other research, Ricardo's practical recommendation is simply to add a pinch of salt for every 500ml of water when we ride in hot weather and, consequently, drink a lot to ensure a good hydration level. The extra salt does not have to be added to drinks. It can be added to food as well. This simple sodium supplementation will greatly reduce the risk of hyponatremia (meaning "low sodium"), a very rare but potentially fatal electrolyte deficiency that can occur when people people sweat a lot and drink an excessive amount of water.

The above recommendation is valid for adventure bike riders consuming an adequate diet. However, data about weight loss suggest that many riders significantly reduce their food intake during an adventure bike trip. In these conditions, taking a daily multi-vitamin/mineral supplement that meets 100% RNI (e.g., Centrum or similar products) will act as a safe guard against other potential electrolyte deficiencies.

In future posts on my blog, I will discuss whether it is a good idea to add glucose or other soluble carbs to our drinks. In the meantime, please let me know about your experience with sport drinks if you have used them during an adventure bike trip.

Cheers

Sam
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Old 09-11-2012, 04:37 PM   #2
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I am a mountain biker and long distance bicycle rider, I always used sport drink on my bicycle rides (powder Gatorade, Cytomax,..mixed with water) when I start to ride my motorcycle long distance, I realized that sports drink works as well..

The only thing I don't I like about motorcycling is the physical inactivity (could be unhealthy??) ...But since I ride my bicycles often so that's ok. On long adv trip, I think it's best if I can do some hiking or jogging beside spent too much time on the saddle.
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Old 09-11-2012, 04:38 PM   #3
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Rum with lime juice over ice is always nice.

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Old 09-11-2012, 05:37 PM   #4
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I drink mostly water and if I'm falling asleep I stop for a Mountain Dew Code Red. A Diet Coke in the afternoon always tastes good too! I prefer Bud Lite in the evenings although I don't drink beer at home. Just on bike trips!
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Old 09-11-2012, 05:42 PM   #5
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I drink water or if feeling a bit low on sugar coke or orange juice. Not to forget 5 hour power drinks Whatever it takes to stay awake to keep going....but mostly water.
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Old 09-11-2012, 06:35 PM   #6
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I eat salted peanuts along with drinking water. Trail mix is good too as long as it has salt added.
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Old 09-11-2012, 07:44 PM   #7
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i buy a Gatorade, and drink part of it, then fill the bottle back to the top with water. The 50-50 blend pours down great without the "tad too sweet taste" . Probably a better hydrator as well, more water less "pop".

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Old 09-12-2012, 05:36 PM   #8
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Smart Water tastes great and has electrolytes in it. Works well without all the high fructose corn syrup in Gator-Aid.
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Old 09-13-2012, 02:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mustardfj40 View Post
I am a mountain biker and long distance bicycle rider, I always used sport drink on my bicycle rides (powder Gatorade, Cytomax,..mixed with water) when I start to ride my motorcycle long distance, I realized that sports drink works as well..

The only thing I don't I like about motorcycling is the physical inactivity (could be unhealthy??) ...But since I ride my bicycles often so that's ok. On long adv trip, I think it's best if I can do some hiking or jogging beside spent too much time on the saddle.
I carry powdered drink mixes with me, they are lightweight and can be added to a bottle of water to help balance everything out. As for "inactivity" when I do any kind of riding besides slabbing or commuting to work I'd say I'm very active. I ride hard on pavement and harder on dirt. Manhandling a 300+ lb bike through steep rockgardens and sand is definitely intense physical work. I don't know if other people are the same, but between using my legs to keep the rear end upright and my arms to force the bike over in nasty terrain I get a hell of a workout.
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Old 09-13-2012, 03:52 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Lone Rider View Post
Rum with lime juice over ice is always nice.
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Old 09-14-2012, 03:13 PM   #11
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Some will laugh

But seriously, chocolate milk. It's like a snack and beverage all in one. I have heard it's supposed to be great for you after a workout, but I drink it because I'm addicted to it. It is also available at almost every gas station.
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Old 09-14-2012, 05:00 PM   #12
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I am not laughing. I drink the stuff every morning instead of coffee.
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Old 09-14-2012, 05:32 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lone Rider View Post
Rum with lime juice over ice is always nice.

I got in touch with myself.
Very little research was done.
When I'm riding I drink water from a camelbak. In the summer riding between El Paso and Houston I'll go through 3.7L or so. I eat Slim Jims and peanuts for electrolytes.

Afterwards I drink a few good beers or top shelf margaritas, the best way to rehydrate.
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Old 09-14-2012, 08:50 PM   #14
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I am not laughing. I drink the stuff every morning instead of coffee.
Glad that's not just me. I haven't drank coffee or soda for about a dozen years, so a large glass of chocolate milk in the morning is also my way to get myself going on a trip or at home. My coworkers can hardly believe I can be upright in the morning without caffeine, but I sleep so much better now than I used to back when I drank soda or coffee.
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Old 09-16-2012, 08:19 AM   #15
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Glad that's not just me. I haven't drank coffee or soda for about a dozen years, so a large glass of chocolate milk in the morning is also my way to get myself going on a trip or at home. My coworkers can hardly believe I can be upright in the morning without caffeine, but I sleep so much better now than I used to back when I drank soda or coffee.
It's a bit funny but I'm still pretty young and have a heck of a metabolism. A large chunk of my daily calories comes from soda. I quit drinking coke a while back and I lost 7 pounds. Anyone else would be like "yeah! I lost weight!". Me? I was a bit worried. I went from the mid 130s to the 120s. I'm 6'1'' so thats a bit crazy. Especially considering I generally do eat 3 meals a day.

Chocolate milk is calorific. If you found whole chocolate milk (rare) or made it, it probably has almost twice the calories of coke. The more common low fat premixed stuff is probably what and what. A good replacement for soda, especially since CM has antioxidants from the chocolate, calcium from the milk, is laced with vitamin d so you can absorb the calcium, then has iron and protein. What does coke have? Mmm phosphoric acid! Wholesome.

I may try to switch from coke to CM. But.... Chocolate milk probably still has natural caffeine, but its a small amount. It also used to be laced with HFCS just like coke, at least in the US. Though from research it seems like a lot of companies are switching back to sugar, because schools are trying to eliminate corn syrup from lunches.

None of that actually concerns me it's mostly the thought of milk before or after a hot day of riding. Might get milk barf in the helmet. Haha, ill try it out.
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