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View Full Version : Winter riding tips thread? My subtopic: cold weather hydration



Greenbelt
01-03-2015, 11:42 AM
So we've had lots of great threads over the years on riding in cold weather, but I figured maybe it's time to start one in the Freezing Saddles topic area?
Please feel free to add in or re-link to previous threads.

Here's my two cents, and it's something a lot of us don't think about as much in winter: getting enough water on cold winter rides.

Humans (especially stocky ones like me) aren't particularly well adapted for cold weather exertion. We still sweat even when our bodies really don't need to be further cooled off. Thus, it's crazy easy to get chilled, especially when you stop, have a flat tire, post ride etc. when your riding clothes are still damp.

Furthermore, we don't think about drinking when it's cold. It's also harder to get out the water bottle when you're already chilled and wearing heavy gloves. Plus, water bottles freeze up into a kind of slurpy slush that is particularly annoying when you're already out in cold.

Nevertheless, I think I need nearly as much water in the winter as in all but the hottest days of summer. I still seem to need two water bottles per commute, although sometimes I get them immediately after the ride or toward the end when I'm waiting at stoplights. If I forget to drink, I get dehydrated pretty quick and feel like carp at work until I wise up and get more water. Or if it's at night, I can't sleep as well dehydrated -- I get hot flashes/manopause events when I'm too dry.

In winter, the air is very dry and I think we lose a lot of moisture just breathing. A gator or buff that can be pulled up over your mouth and (sometimes) nose can really help you retain moisture I think. Plus it's also a good reminded to brush your teeth before rides.

I'm a huge fan of insulated water bottles. We keep filtered water in the fridge, so like to fill them at night so the water warms up to room temp before my morning ride. When it's really cold, I'll make tea in the morning, and then mix 50-50 hot tea and plain water in my bottles. I don't like to pour hot tea directly in the plastic bottles, since who knows what chemicals leach out of plastic especially when it's heated, but cooling the tea back toward room temp before filling works OK, and you don't want a super hot tea squirt out on the road anyway.

-Jeff

PS. Here's a bonus video on cold weather layer that Laurie made a while back -- it just might be necessary when it gets well below freezing next week:
https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10202049182527336&set=vb.307014479365276&type=2&theater

NicDiesel
01-03-2015, 12:35 PM
Since you don't deal with super cold temps there this might be overkill, but I use an Outdoor Research water bottle parka that keeps my water from freezing solid since I've actually had that happen on a -10 degree ride before. You can get these on Amazon for like $20 but if you don't have a "anything" mount it's tough to fit it on the bike and will have to go in a bag.

7316

If you're a fan of Skratch Labs the Apples and Cinnamon mix is really good hot but also decent cool. I've also had success using the Pineapple and Lemon-Lime in warm water without it gumming up, by your mileage may vary. I try to drink at least 1L of water for every half hour I ride but in the winter time here the water fountains are turned off so you have to be judicious with your water intake if you're not on the Greenway.

Have you considered using a Camelbak under your jersey?

glennpstevens
01-03-2015, 09:03 PM
Furthermore, we don't think about drinking when it's cold.


I've setup a time based alert on my Garmin that goes off every 15 minutes to remind me to drink. That, and using insulated bottles like you suggest, has worked out pretty well for me.

sethpo
01-04-2015, 08:34 AM
Nevertheless, I think I need nearly as much water in the winter as in all but the hottest days of summer.

I am the complete opposite. I'll drink at least 1 1/2 bottles on my 75-90 min commute in the summer and in the winter one bottle might last a week. I've also become very minimal in my winter layering so a low 30's or high 20's day is only a standard jersey, arm warmers, and light jacket (with bar mitts and winter boots for the fingers and toes). I find this way I don't sweat very much at all but still don't fill chilled while riding. I pack an extra layer in my bag in case of breakdown.

I do drink plenty of water at work and in the evening though so I'm probably doing it wrong and should be more diligent about drinking water on the road...

Amalitza
01-04-2015, 08:55 AM
When temps get to low 30s and below, I use hot water and insulated water bottles. Even w/ insulated bottles and starting off w/ hot water, it's cooled off enough to drink in under 10 minutes. By an hour in, I have lukewarm-to-cool water, not icy water.

jwetzel
01-04-2015, 09:13 AM
I keep coffee in my rack year round.

Greenbelt
01-05-2015, 08:17 PM
OK, here's a different thing for tomorrow morning's ride:

Try to remember where the puddles are on your commute route. Tomorrow morning they will be ice, covered with a thin layer of snow, and therefore hard to see. I have discovered this situation with my hip a couple times...

Terpfan
01-06-2015, 07:59 AM
I did a quick sleeze ride this morning for pts and forgot to record because I was freezing. Just did straight line down my flat road and back. But did not commute. It's the snow or even ice that bothers me, but rather trying to go down Beacon Hill/Westgrove/Rt 1 hills with slush and bike shoes. I think I may get my hybrid back in shape for days like today as the thicker tires and option of wearing boots makes it possible to walk down the hills. 0 chance I would ride down the hills with 7+% gradients, especially not with traffic lights or sharp turns at the bottom as they all have.

On the water topic, I find I'm not thirsty, but force myself to drink at least a bottle's worth. I noticed it the other day (Friday) after a 40mile ride. I drank only two bottles of water. I had two or maybe three beers later that evening and woke up slightly hungover on Saturday. Moral of the story: drink more water than whatever you think you need.

Amalitza
01-06-2015, 09:08 AM
trying to go down Beacon Hill/Westgrove/Rt 1 hills with slush and bike shoes. I think I may get my hybrid back in shape for days like today as the thicker tires and option of wearing boots makes it possible to walk down the hills. 0 chance I would ride down the hills with 7+% gradients, especially not with traffic lights or sharp turns at the bottom as they all have.


Beacon Hill road not clear this morning, so probably a good call, though I did see one bike commuter riding uphill past my house (not the steep section).

There was a Bud Light truck that almost-but-not-quite made it to the top of the steep section, so he was just sitting there on the hill not going anywhere. Long line of cars stuck behind him winding down the hill, so he couldn't even try to back down the hill, not that I imagine that being much fun in an 18-wheeler.

He is not having a good day I don't think.

Brünø Moore
01-06-2015, 09:37 AM
I've noticed two different responses to the snow on my facebook feed this morning.
Drivers: "Oh £∞€§, it's snowing."
Cyclists: "£∞€§ YEAH, IT'S SNOWING!!!!"

As for winter hydration: I've heard of The Pros™ using diluted hot sweet tea in their bottles; been meaning to try it myself, given my tea habit. If it weren't for the fact that I'm probably not going to be able to make it too far right now on either of my road bikes, I'd bottle the pot of Assam I've got steeping and take a ride For Science. Tomorrow, however, should be clear and colder...

Steve O
01-06-2015, 09:52 AM
did a quick sleeze ride this morning ...

sleeze = sleaze + freeze

Terpfan
01-06-2015, 12:23 PM
sleeze = sleaze + freeze

Don't worry, it was intentional. :).

Terpfan
01-06-2015, 12:24 PM
Beacon Hill road not clear this morning, so probably a good call, though I did see one bike commuter riding uphill past my house (not the steep section).

There was a Bud Light truck that almost-but-not-quite made it to the top of the steep section, so he was just sitting there on the hill not going anywhere. Long line of cars stuck behind him winding down the hill, so he couldn't even try to back down the hill, not that I imagine that being much fun in an 18-wheeler.

He is not having a good day I don't think.

I figured about as much given they didn't even touch Rt 1 by 6:45am and had a few slide off the roads on it.

Flip side, I'm pretty sure if I could have made it down the hill safely that I would have made it to work about 45 minutes faster than driving, even when biking slowly.

BobCochran
01-29-2017, 02:39 PM
So how is everyone doing with their winter hydration? I just went to the soon-to-be-history College Park REI store, because I wanted to replace my Camelbak water reservoir. I don't like carrying water bottles, as silly as it may seem. My always-dicey balance means I could tip over trying to reach down for a bottle. And a difficult lesson I learned one fine hot day coming back from BWI Airport, by bicycle, burned into me the need to always sip some water while riding. So I use hydration packs with sipping tubes. That REI store offers 3 different brands of reservoirs: Camelbak, Osprey, and Platypus. I wonder what the rest of you think of these different brands?

For me -- the Platypus has a very difficult to work bite valve. I've tried two different Platypus reservoirs. They fit okay in my ancient Camelbak backpack, and the sipping tube is long enough for me, but the bite valve is tough to use and I can't get all the water I want in my mouth when I sip.

The Camelbak reservoirs sip okay, but the bite valves will leak water with the slightest pressure on them. More than once I've had water on the floor because I forgot to keep the backpack off that dangling bite valve. (Sorry, Proteus Bicycles! I did clean up the messes I created.)

The Osprey reservoirs I've never tried. I don't like their warnings about magnetic devices printed on the back of the packaging. They scare me a bit. What if they harm my poor iPhone? The other brands have no such warnings about magnetic devices.

So at the store I ended up buying a 100 ounce Camelbak "Crux" reservoir. I bought that because they redesigned the bite valve. It now has an on/off switch. And the plastic material is supposed to be BPA free.

I've had the same Camelbak backpack for about 10 years now -- I wish it had more capacity for other things, but I've adapted to its sad limitations. It has at least another 10 years of service life in it.

I'd be interested in learning how others hydrate in the winter.

Thanks a ton

Bob

anomad
01-29-2017, 04:23 PM
I've had good luck with the camel bak reservoirs and the Platypus ones. I happen to like the Platypus big bite valve or whatever they call it. The plastic does wear over time and will develop a pinhole leak where it creases. The camel bak plastic is more rubbery and holds up good. Its less resistant to harsh treatment. I've punctured a couple performing "professional dismounts" while mountain biking. The camel bak on/off valve is good if I remember to use it. The insulated tubes are the way to go when its really cold out.

Insulated bottles and warm water are what I usually use when its cold. An insulated camel bak bottle with warm water will last an hour or more even well below freezing. Much like the rider above mentioned.

I used to put a tea bag or two in my reservoir with hot water, but not boiling hot, for long winter rides. The warmth feels good on your back and I love tea. I'm not that serious these days and my commute is a full hour at my slowest pace. So, I'm finding I don't really drink much on the trip. In the summer heat I was guzzling a bottle before leaving and one during the trip. I sweat a lot when its hot out and was adjusting from a very arid high elevation environment to the high humidity low elevation environment this summer. Based on my urine production versus water intake I don't sweat out as much water here as I did out west. Even though I am drenched when its hot. I would even wear long sleeves or sun sleeves out west and never have damp clothing. Crazy how nature does that ;)

In Alaska and other cold places I used a camel back under my jacket with the hose routed under my arm pit and an insulated tube. If you drain the nipple after taking a sip it works in truly cold temperatures. If you forget and the hose or nipple freezes up you can stick in in your clothing to thaw.

My whisky flask has yet to freeze.

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