VIP Pro Tips: What's the right amount of hydration for cyclists?

Debi Grupe

VIP Pro Tips by Reid Beloni

This is the first iteration of VIP Pro Tips, I’m your host, Reid Beloni! I’ve seen a lot of people asking good questions, and so I am offering my time in collaboration with I Love Road Cycling, to offer advice on various topics. Take it however you want, comment, discuss, offer your opinions or experiences, tell me I’m crazy. Though I’ve been racing for 12 years, have two degrees in Exercise Science and am a professional coach, so I’m probably not crazy!

Hydration is big this time of year. How much do I drink? The general guideline is to drink at least one bottle per hour. That might go higher to two bottles for some people. 21 oz or 24 oz, it doesn’t really matter. Shoot for at least 1 because it’s easy to keep track of. If you are finishing your rides and notice a big weight drop from pre-ride, then you might want to bump up those recommendations. If you’re going for a 2+ hour ride, plan your route so that you can refill your bottle or plan on carrying extra. Especially in summer, don’t try to squeak by on less. Getting dehydrated, even only a little, will rob you of power and increase your core temperature, you’ll slow down, and it will slow your recovery.

What do you drink? Water is a great place to start, it’s what your body needs. But there is a lot of evidence that water with a low concentration of carbohydrate and electrolytes is actually absorbed faster than water alone. So if you are trying to get the water into your body (and you are, that’s the point of drinking water), then it’s a good idea to have some drink mix. There are lots of commercially available products out there, and they are based on good science to provide more than what you get in homemade concoctions like O.J. and table salt. From a lot of athlete experience, I would recommend starting with the mixes that are low (around 4% carbohydrate solution) and contain electrolytes. These include Skratch, Bonk Breaker Real Hydration, and Clif Hydration to name a few. There are mixes that contain many more calories and electrolytes. These are designed to replace more or most of the calories you are using and the salt that you are sweating out. These might work better for some people, but for others the higher concentrations can slow absorption.

Start with the basics: 1 bottle per hour, more if you sweat a lot or finish you rides weighing a few pounds less then you started at. Use some mix, it will help absorption and provide some of the calories and electrolytes you need.

Reid Beloni is an Expert Coach for Carmichael Training Systems and an elite bike racer in various disciplines for Organic Valley / Hiball Energy Cycling Team, benefiting globalbike. Reid has been active in many aspects of the sport for the past 12 years; racing domestically and internationally, managing a bike shop, receiving a Bachelors and Masters degrees in Exercise Science, and working as a professional coach. Reid is a longstanding member and contributor to the I Love Road Cycling VIP Facebook group (Join). He can be contacted professionally via his email

Testimonials (More reviews are available on each product page)

(INFINITY BIKE SEAT) Bill W.  Truly an amazingly comfortable seat. So much so, that I was unaware of any discomfort whatsoever.

(INFINITY BIKE SADDLE) Mark T.  I absolutely love the seat I recommend it as much as I can to whomever will listen!

I have Infinity saddles on both my bikes ! Again great saddle I went through quite a few before this one!!

(BIBS) Julie Fisher These are actually tied for favorite bibs I have along with my Rapha. The VIP cost is 40% of Rapha before this Black Friday sale!

(USA JERSEY) David.  Previously I had only invested in jerseys when there was a sale or through organized rides. This is my first time purchasing one thru the group and I AM THRILLED with the jersey!

(BIBS) Parker King‬ I need to brag on the quality of these bibs. I purchased the first offering of the VIP kit and the chamois they use is a better/more comfortable that what I already own, the VIP kit is now my favorite! 

‪(BIBS) James Breda‬ I have to agree as well. I have the original shorts and I love them too. They fit great and the chamois is wonderful. I got the race fit jersey and it fits just the way you want it to. All sizes are exactly spot on. Wonderful kit. I'm going to order other designs from Zavvy. 

(JERSEY) Jerry Brick I love my VIP Jersey, it's my favorite.

(JERSEY) Mark Rosenbaum Got my VIP Jersey and bibs a few weeks back and did a century ride this past weekend and they are as advertised. I love my Castelli sets and the quality here through 500+ miles is as good and maybe better.

‪(JERSEY) Lauren Cohen-Tepper‬ I love my jersey!!!!

Get Connected

  • american express
  • apple pay
  • diners club
  • discover
  • google pay
  • jcb
  • klarna
  • master
  • shopify pay
  • visa