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BIKE TOURING
TIPS FOR TOURING


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WATER

You can't drink really too much water. A simple test proves your need to drink water. If you can drink between five and six quarts of water during a long day's ride and never need to urinate, you need to drink more water. Water loss can go unnoticed because the air that passes over your body tends to evaporate perspiration. Fifty percent of our body is water and during any type of major exercise the need for lost fluid replacement drastically increases.

On hot and very windy days, you need to drink as much as a gallon or more of fluid over the course of a day's ride. When cycling in higher elevations, you need to drink more fluids than while cycling at lower elevations.

Don't wait until you are really thirsty. If you do this, you may already be in too great of a fluid deficit. Keep your water bottles as full as possible at all times so that you will not completely run out.

Before you start out each day, it would be best for you to drink between one and two cups of cold (not too iced) water at least ten to fifteen minutes before heading out. During the day, you should try and drink between a third and a cup of cool fluid every ten to fifteen minutes. After stopping for the day, you should try to drink at least a cup of fluid to help with the fluid replacement.

Cool water empties from the stomach more quickly that warmer fluids. For exercise that lasts up to three hours, water is the best replacement. With exercise lasting over three hours, diluted sports drinks can provide the energy for working muscles. Be wary of concentrated drinks that have over ten percent sugar content. The body takes longer to absorb them and they could cause stomach cramps.

Sport drinks are usually a mixture of electrolytes and carbohydrates. The carbohydrates are there for energy and the electrolytes (usually potassium and sodium) are for maintaining a good fluid balance. A drink that is too high in either carbohydrates or electrolytes will cause hindrance in the fluid absorption. Sport drinks are usually more diluted than juices or soda. In choosing which sport drink that you drink, check out the amount of sodium and B vitamins provided. B vitamins such as B6, B12, Niacin, Panotothetic Acid, and Thiamine help with circulation and energy metabolism. According to some medical studies, cyclist who drink sports drinks can ride nearly thirteen percent farther than just drinking plain water.



CARRY PLASTIC BAGS

Panniers are really not fully waterproof. Carry enough so that you can protect all of your perishable things like first aid materials and food. Pack your clean clothes in them also. What I like to do is to line the inside of my panniers with heavy-duty garbage bags. The best small plastic bags are Zip-Locs.



REST

If you are riding long distances, you need to take regular rest breaks. The best rule of thumb is maybe ten minutes every hour or twenty minutes out of every ninety minutes. Don't skip your rest breaks because you feel that you are fine or are worried about getting someplace. Don't take too long of a break because lactic acid could build up in your legs and give you cramps. If you are wearing down at the end of the day, do not rest as frequently because there will be a chance that you might loose your pace or rhythm.



DIPS AND SURGES

Energy does not run on at a steady pace. Don't fight the shifts of energy. Go with them. Gear up on the surges and down on the depths. Take it all in stride but do not overextend yourself during the surges.




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