Hydration and Nutrition Tips for Cycling

Hydration and Nutrition Tips for Cycling

Leading a healthy lifestyle is a major goal for many cyclists across the globe. The physical exercise and mental stimulation from riding a bike can do wonders for the human body, but that is only half of the equation. Good nutrition is a vital part improving physical fitness and mental health. A rider's diet will directly impact their weight, risk of illness, and promote an overall healthy daily function. When we push our bodies and minds further, chasing new routes and KOM's, we need to ensure we're fueling our bodies accordingly in order to sustain growth and continue to improve as a cyclist.

How Not to Bonk

A cyclists worst fear, the bonk. Bonking is a term used to describe the feeling when you lose your drive while riding, normally due to a lack of nutrition and over exertion. Experiment to find the best food and what to drink while cycling that works best with your body. Take a look at the common symptoms of bonking, as you may very well have been a victim of this worldwide epidemic.

Symptoms of bonking: 

  • Feeling sick, weak or out of energy
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Tunnel vision and disorientation
  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • Irritability, anger or hostility
  • Feeling sad or depressed

Stop bonking before it starts by sticking to a solid pre, during, and post workout regiment when it comes to hydration and nutrition. By giving your body the fuel it needs before, during, and after your ride you can ensure you perform your best and have every chance to succeed! Let's look at how much water and food we should consider consuming for a bike ride.

Eating while bike riding

The Best Tips for Hydration


Pre-hydration before the ride begins is crucial to setting the body up for success and avoiding any symptoms of bonking. Begin pre-hydration for your next bike ride approximately two hours prior to the beginning of the ride. During the pre-hydration period intake approximately 17-20 ounces spread over the 2 hour period to prepare the bodily systems for vigorous exercise.

During the Ride

During activity the ideal intake regiment is taking 5-10 ounce sips every 20 minutes of riding. This can be altered to suit a riders specific needs, as some individuals prefer to take smaller sips more frequently for example. During this stage one should highly consider electrolyte powder, tabs, and drinks to maximize the effectiveness of their water intake and replenish the electrolytes lost during activity.


Post ride water intake is just as important as pre-ride and during, you cannot forget to replenish the water and electrolytes lost during the ride despite the hard part being over. It's very important to take the time to post-hydrate after a ride. The recommended intake level is 16-24 ounces of water for every pound of body weight lost during the activity. Many endurance athletes weigh themselves before and after a workout to more accurately gauge how much post-hydration they should intake.

QBP Brand QBP Purist 22 Ounce Bike Water Bottle                      CamelBak MULE 100 Ounce Hydration Pack

Shop Water Bottles       Shop Hydration Packs



Tips for bike nutrition and hydration

The Best Tips for Nutrition


Pre-ride nutrition starts with the dinner the night before your ride. Focusing on a high nutrition value, heavy carb meal will help fuel the body for the activities the next day. Begin breakfast the day of the ride with a high carb meal as well, ensuring your body has a full tank for the epic day ahead.

During the Ride

During the ride the body is craving small easily digestible sugars, also knows as fast sugars. Many riders go to synthetic nutrition options for this such as gels, chews, and other fast access products. Real food options are a great alternative to the industry synthetics such as pretzels, a clementine orange, and good old fashioned gummy bears. Either route works, and test out different options to see what sits best with your stomach and what flavors you find most appealing. For longer rides the focus on nutrition should shift from fast sugars more towards easy proteins such as nut butter, trail mix, and energy bars. The general recommended calorie intake for endurance activity is 200-300 calories per hour.


After the ride your muscles need rebuilding and your body is craving protein. Lean meats are the best option to replenish the torn muscles and common choices include chicken, fish, eggs, and rice & beans (vegetarian). This point is also a great opportunity to replenish the electrolytes lost during the ride. A electrolyte power mixed with water is a great way to cap off the routine and set yourself up for success.

From snacks for long bike rides to the best foods to eat while endurance cycling we've got you covered at Bicycle Warehouse!

Jelly Belly Sport Beans: Box of 24   Honey Stinger Organic Waffles


Shop Endurance Nutrition

 Hydration Quiz

 How much water should you drink? How much water do you need to perform your best while riding? This quiz from Camelbak helps you determine your ideal level of hydration. That will help you know how many water bottles or what size hydration pack is best for you!

(link will open in a new window)


Thanks for reading our BLOG article on nutrition and hydration tips to keep you riding at your best. Check out our BLOG articles for great information and inside tips!

Back to blog

Got questions? We'd love to chat!

Reach us Monday-Saturday 9-6 PST

Bicycle Warehouse, it's your world, ride it!

Store Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 11:00 am - 6:00 pm
Find a Bicycle Warehouse Store Near You!

1 of 4