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Author Topic: Water Intake / Useage  (Read 1022 times)

On Two Wheels

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Water Intake / Useage
« on: February 08, 2010, 02:21:26 PM »
Now I realise, and appreciate, that everyone is different, and we are all able to operate at maximum efficency, under differing circumstances and conditions. But, does any one know what could be considered an average daily water intake/usage?

Reason I'm asking is I'm in the final planning stages of my first tour in hot regions, have done UK  and Northern Europe, but now I'm venturing further afield into the hotter climates.

Initial thoughts, bareing in mind that one litre of water weights 1 kg, was 3 x 1 ltr water bottles fitted to bike frame and a 5 ltr water container attached to luggage rack / rear pannier tray.

Your thoughts / experiances on this please.

p.s Planned route includes Turkey/Iran/Pakistan to final destination - India (Plan 'A')  :-\ :D
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Stephane

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Re: Water Intake / Useage
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2010, 08:36:07 PM »
Hi,
This is a good question and is a matter that should not be taken lightly. The amount of water you're going to need will depend on a lot of factors. The main one will be the temperature. Obviously, there is a big difference between 40oC and 50oC.  As a rule of thumb, for temperatures under 40oC, it is recommended to drink 4L (1 gallon) of water every eight hours, and that is for moderate exercise and for drinking only. Other factors include: biking during the daytime when the temperature peaks, the air humidity, the clothing you are going to wear, how strenuous the ride is, etc. So, I would say that if the temperature is around 40oC, if you don't bike during the 4-5 hottest hours of the day, and assuming a moderate climb and the proper clothing, 8 liters should be sufficient for one day. That would be 6-6.5L for drinking and the rest to brush your teeth and cook some noodles. But if you bike during the daytime, under 50oC temperatures while climbing steep hills, even with the proper clothing you can drink 8L in 2 hours.

Here are a few tips:
- Wear a synthetic long-sleeve shirt, pants, and hat. 
- If you use sun lotion, make sure you use one made for sports, otherwise it could clog your skin pores, preventing you from sweating and resulting in overheating.
- Small water spray bottles are a good investment. There is nothing like spraying your face with water while you're biking when it's really hot. And it uses much less water than pouring from a water bottle.
- Hang a tennis sweatband on your handlebar to wipe away sweat from your face or body.
- Wrap your bottles in canvas (I learned that from the Bedouins in Syria) or heavy cotton socks (synthetic dries too quickly) and wet them regularly to keep your water cool. The physics of the evaporation will actually cool off the water inside the bottle.
- During midday, find a spot in the shade and wait for it to cool off. If there is no shade, create your own with a tarp or the fly of your tent.
- If you can, bike during the nighttime and/or start to bike before the sun rises. There is nothing like biking in the desert during the night.
- Always make sure you know where the next source of water is. Don't rely solely on your map; verify the existence of towns or waterholes by asking locals.
- If necessary, save the water you used to cook your noodles; you can use it to wash your dishes, to make tea, or to brush your teeth.
- One of the early signs of heat stroke is confusion; if you start to feel like you can't think clearly, stop biking IMMEDIATELY.
- If you feel like you're overheating, wet your sleeves and shirt with the spray; it will cool your body.
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petervanglabbeek

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Re: Water Intake / Useage
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2010, 10:30:41 AM »
My hottest day ever was in July in Iran. The temperature in the shade was 48 degrees, but I can only guess how high it was in the sun above the black pavement. The highest my thermometer showed was 67. I cycled the whole day, also in the hottest hours and drank about 13 liters of water during the bike ride (175km) and a few liters more afterwards. I was carrying 2 liters in the frame and a 6 liter back on the rear rack, but this was too much, there were many places to refill. This depends of course on your route.
The main problem was how to get so much water in my body. My stomac was always full with water, especially after eating it was a problem. I was able to drink enough, but my body wasn't absorbing fast enough. I think in this extreme cases it might be better to add some salt and suger to your water so you don't have to eat as much. In general, in this conditions you need 20 liters a day if you don't find shelter during the hottest hours.
A friend cycled all the way from Esfahan through east Iran and Baluchistan to Quetta, also in summer. He spent three times a night in a hospital to rehydrate through a needle in his arm, but could always continue the next day. I am not sure if this was smart of him, but he made it alive.

I would say that up to 40 degrees, with low humidity, it is still reasonable for a human being to cycle long days. When it gets hotter you can do one or two extreme days, but you lose too many minerals on the long term, even if you drink enough. With high humidity it is different, your sweat doesn't evaporate fast enough to cool your body, you will experience the temperature as much higher than in the dry climates.

Peter
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biciclown

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Re: Water Intake / Useage
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2010, 09:00:48 PM »
Suck a seed. I love dates from the palm tree for the hot weather. I keep in my mouth all the day and I do not get so thirsty
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On Two Wheels

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Re: Water Intake / Useage
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2010, 07:28:48 AM »
Suck a seed. I love dates from the palm tree for the hot weather. I keep in my mouth all the day and I do not get so thirsty

This may seem like a good idea to stop you thinking you are thirsty, but it could lead to further complications should you fail to notice the symptoms of dehydration.

Sucking the date seed, you will still be using up body water, and you will still be sweating/perspiring (depending on your nature  :-\ ) so you will still need to take regular drinks and keep yourself fully hydrated.

Note to Self:

Keep several date stones for bike touring   :P
You may say that I'm a dreamer, But I'm not the only one.
I hope someday you'll join us, And we can cycle the world as one.

Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can.
No need for greed or hunger, A brotherhood of man.
Imagine all the people, Sharing all the world...