The Third Bottle


It’s that time of year when many cyclists are cranking up the miles for some long, hot rides….which also means a need for more hydration.  I’m sure most of you have at least one (but probably two) bottle cages on your bike.  But what do you do when you’re in need of carrying more than two bottles?

Making a stop at a convenience store or somewhere else to fill up your bottles is one option for sure.  If you don’t like making stops or will be riding somewhere that doesn’t have much for civilization around, then taking along a third (or even fourth) bottle is a must.  To be honest, I’ve been on many hot weather rides where even having three bottles wasn’t enough, and I still had to stop in and fill up at a convenience store.

Many cyclists use the third bottle or maybe even take one of those water backpacks along, but if this is something new to you…you might be wondering where the heck that third bottle goes.  Sure there is the option of putting a third cage on your seat post or somewhere else on your bike, but many cyclists (including myself) put it in the back pouch.

I find that it actually fits nicely in the middle pouch and once I get pedalling, I don’t even know it’s there. The funny thing is that the bottle doesn’t even become boiling hot.  I honestly don’t know why this is, but you’d think with it being exposed to body heat and the sun’s rays that it would heat right up…but I haven’t experienced this yet.  But just to make sure it stays as cool as possible, you might want to consider making that 3rd bottle (or all your bottles) a Wooly Mammoth from Hydrapak.  Yes, they supplied me with one to try out….but you know I’m being honest when I say that the bottle does a great job at keeping the water cooler than a non-insulated one.

How about you?  Let’s hear your thoughts on long, hot rides…and what you do for hydration.  But as you make your way down to the comments section, be sure to have a look at what our nutritionist Kelli has to say about staying hydrated on your rides.

Important Hydration Information for Cyclists:

1. For every pound of body weight lost during training (through sweat, respiration, and urination), you‘ve lost 15-16 oz. of fluid. Just a 3% loss of body weight due to dehydration can significantly impair your performance, muscle contractile strength, and speed. In fact, the effects of dehydration are:

  • 0-1% body weight loss = Thirst
  • 2% = stronger thirst, vague discomfort, loss of appetite
  • 3% = decreased blood volume, impaired physical performance
  • 4% = increased effort for work, nausea
  • 5% = difficulty in concentrating
  • 6% = failure to regulate body temperature

2. For best performance, avoid dehydration during exercise (don‘t just wait until afterwards to re-hydrate). Aim to consume 16-32 oz. fluid per hour during training; then, replace the remaining losses after.

3. Estimate the amount of fluid you lose during exercise by weighing yourself before & after your training/event. Remember, every pound of weight lost is ~15-16 ounces of fluid (every kilogram of weight is 1 liter of fluid). Form a plan to proactively drink fluid during the event. If you cannot determine your fluid loss by weighing before and after, follow a general rule of thumb: drink 24-32 ounces of fluid/hour for moderate-high intensity endurance events.

4. Most athletes can tolerate 10-13 oz. (300-400 ml) of fluid immediately before their training or competitive event. This can help you stay ahead of dehydration. As always, experiment during training, NOT on race day!

5. On a daily basis, drinking an increased amount of fluid can help your body adjust to retaining a greater volume comfortably.

6. It is also a good idea to kill three birds with one stone and drink fluids that contain carbohydrates and electrolytes.

7. It is even more crucial to stay hydrated if you are exercising in hot and/or humid weather.

8. Rehydrating and replenishing electrolytes and carbohydrates during exercise has been shown to improve performance when exercising 60+ minutes.

Enjoy Your Ride

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22 Responses to “ The Third Bottle ”

  1. Karen White on August 14, 2012 at 9:49 am

    Here in hot, humid Florida we freeze 2 half full water bottles and have a third supply as well; either as Camel Bak, Platypus, or large bottle. The the half frozen bottles feel good in the back pockets.

    • Darryl is Loving the Bike on August 14, 2012 at 12:14 pm

      Good tips, Karen. Enjoy your Ride….and the heat.

      • Karen White on August 17, 2012 at 12:50 pm

        P.S. Try coconut milk or water in your after ride smoothies.

  2. Mark Beaconsfield on May 2, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    Winter is starting in this part of the world and I would like to add that although it is cooler, hydration is still very important. Many people seem to forget to carry enough water with them. Usually during colder weather, you are wearing extra layers or wet weather gear and can get hot very quickly and sweat quite a lot.
    Also, if possible, try planning your ride so you have access to water if needed.

    • Darryl is Loving the Bike on May 5, 2012 at 1:57 pm

      Great advice, Mark.  It always seems so strange to hear that winter is just getting started over there….especially when it’s like 95 degrees over here.

  3. jeremyiridebikes on May 2, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    Good advice.  i am wondering what the bike lovers think of the Showers Pass Veleau?  Good way to get more water on the bike. Especially if you have a small frame.

    • Darryl is Loving the Bike on May 2, 2012 at 10:17 pm

      Thanks Jeremy…..I’ve never heard of Showers Pass Veleau, but looks interesting.  Hope we can get some feedback on it for you.

  4. Bob A on May 2, 2012 at 9:38 am

    GREAT post, Darryl! Excellent information!

  5. Rob Perks on May 2, 2012 at 8:53 am

    I tend to ride out to places that you either carry your water or a filter pump, the last convenience store is 30 miles back.  I carry  my extra water in a platypus stuffed into a frame bag  here:
    the 2L bag will actually hold enough to fill my bottles 2 1/2 times or so, great for those 5 hour rides where you do not want to stop.  Personally I can not stand having the weight on my body and work out ways to keep it on the bike via, frame, saddle or handlebar bags.  I always carry more than I need when riding out in to the back 40 too.

    • Paul J McManus on May 2, 2012 at 10:38 am

      Nice.  I like that frame bag set up. 

    • Darryl is Loving the Bike on May 2, 2012 at 2:27 pm

      Thanks Rob, that is great.  I agree with Paul that it’s a nice set up for sure.  Thanks for including your comments.

  6. Keith Edmiston on May 2, 2012 at 8:44 am

    Great idea…I’ll be giving that a try for sure.  On a related note: I’m trying a new hydration product this year from Skratch Labs (…aka “Secret Drink Mix”.  Have you or Kelli heard anything about this?  Seems legit, but wanted your thoughts.

    • Darryl is Loving the Bike on May 2, 2012 at 2:24 pm

      Hey Keith, I’ve never heard of it myself but I’ll run it by Kelli and see what she has to say.  Watch for a comment from her soon.

    • Kelli Jennings on May 2, 2012 at 3:50 pm

      Hi Keith – yes, this is a good option.  15 grams of carbs per 8 oz. and much more sodium, calcium, and magnesium than most commercial sports drinks.  I haven’t tried it, but most tasters decribe a refreshingly light taste.  If you try it, let us know what you think!  Kelli, RD

  7. Paul J McManus on May 2, 2012 at 8:25 am

    Hey great post Darryl.  This would be great info for our clients, mind if I share it with them via a rider update?  I’ll be sure to include the link to your site.   Dehydration on tour is a big issue, since you are riding so much and basically living outside for weeks at a time you can live is a contant state of dehydration without even realizing it.  

  8. Ron Ng on May 2, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Interesting … I was wondering what your take on using e-pills, or electrolyte pills.  When doing double centuries, it’s common to refill on that at rest stops, and I usually take those on hot days.  I would also recommend hydrating 1-2 days before a long ride too.

    • Darryl is Loving the Bike on May 2, 2012 at 2:23 pm

      Good advice on pre-hydrating for ultra long rides.  Double centuries….whoa.  It makes me tired just thinking about that.  When you say Electrolyte pills…do you mean tablets?  Yeah, they are great and I use them quite often.

    • Kelli Jennings on May 2, 2012 at 11:04 pm

      Hi Ron, I’m a big fan of using electrolyte supplements with longer rides or those in high heat/humidity.  Most commercial sports drinks are inadequate in electrolytes, and it can certainly be tough to get enough even with fluids, foods, gels, etc.  Here’s a previous post with more recommendations on electrolyte pills. 

  9. Koifla on May 2, 2012 at 8:02 am

    I ride such a small frame it only has one holder on the frame. I like your idea. I put water bottles everywhere except on me.

    • Darryl is Loving the Bike on May 2, 2012 at 2:22 pm

      Yeah, give it a try and let me know what you think.  You won’t even notice the bottle back there.


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Sugar Alternatives for Energy and Hydration

Question: I am using the homebrew sugar formulations (sometimes added to green tea).  I am also trying to wean myself off 1/2 dose adrenalean “lip tonic delivery system” (biorhythm brand- caffeine, hoodia g, synephrine, yohimbe) capsule for energy.

My question is other than juice, can you suggest modifications in lieu of table sugar for energy and hydration.


Both raw/organic honey or agave can work great in the homebrew (substitute in the same quantities for the sugar, or to taste), but you do have to shake well in order to make sure they don’t settle out.  Have you tried either of these?  Also, make sure to use at least the minimum amount of salt recommended in the homebrew as the temps rise, you need the sodium replacement if you’re sweating.

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