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15 Tips on How to Stay Hydrated During Motorcycle Touring

15 Tips on How to Stay Hydrated During Motorcycle Touring

Motorcycle touring is one of the best outdoor activities celebrated worldwide. Feeling the breeze and the joy of freedom always has riders coming back for more. However, one of the major issues riders face on the road is dehydration. Lack of water in the body can cause severe health issues that could make riding dangerous. Learn how to manage dehydration by reviewing these essential tips.

1. Importance of Staying Hydrated

When fully hydrated, the human body maintains a delicate balance of fluids and essential salts in the muscles, cells, organs, and bloodstream. People naturally lose electrolytes and water via bodily functions such as peeing, sweating, etc. The human body needs to be constantly replenished with water to ensure all basic bodily functions work correctly.

Dehydration occurs when your body loses more water than it takes in. Loss of water in the body also results in the loss of essential minerals known as electrolytes. Dehydration can put the safety of riders at risk when riding for long hours since bodily functions will start to fail over time as the body loses more and more water.

On average, the human body consists of 60% water that helps maintain body temperature, protect sensitive tissues, lubricate and cushion the joints, and more!

Here is the severity of dehydration based on percentage:

Lose 3 – 4%

Mild dehydration occurs when your body loses 3% to 4% of water. In this condition, you may suffer the following symptoms:

  • Feeling thirsty
  • Dry mouth
  • Dry eyes
  • Pale urine
  • Less alertness
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Fatigue

Mild dehydration happens within two hours on average or within an hour of a hot summer day.

Lose 6%

Moderate dehydration occurs when your body loses 6% of water. All the symptoms that occur during mild dehydration become more severe. You may also suffer additional symptoms:

  • Become more irritable
  • Increase the rate of pulse
  • Increase respiration rate
  • Mucous membranes dry up
  • Blood pressure decreases
  • Urine flow decreases

Lose 10%

Severe dehydration occurs when your body loses 10% of water. The symptoms that occur during moderate dehydration become more severe. You may also suffer additional symptoms:

  • Energy suddenly drops
  • Feel and look sick
  • Urine flow stops
  • Body toxicity levels increase due to no waste products being eliminated
  • Lips or mucous become dry
  • Eyes become sunken

Lose 20%

If your body loses 20% or more water, you will die of dehydration. 

2. What is Dehydration?

While on the road, you must pay attention to your body’s current level of hydration. Here are the symptoms and dangers of dehydration:

2.1 Symptoms of Dehydration

  • Dry mouth
  • Dry eyes
  • Dizziness
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Increased Thirst
  • Pale or no urine
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Sleepiness
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Lightheadedness
  • Muscles cramps
  • Increased respiration ratio
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Less energy

2.2. Dangers of Dehydration

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Impaired judgment
  • Reduced awareness
  • Reduced fine muscle control 
  • Less reaction time
  • Numbness
  • Loss of feeling in the hands and feet
  • Severe muscle cramping in the hands and feet 
  • Difficulty keeping balance

3. Stay Hydrated, Stay Safe

Staying hydrated is crucial for keeping your body active and alert during a motorcycle trip. Here are reasons why it is important to keep yourself hydrated and keep your body’s functions optimal:

Energy production:

Water is necessary for the body's energy production processes. Without water, your body will be unable to produce the energy needed to keep you alert and focused on the road.

Muscle function:

Dehydration can lead to muscle cramps and stiffness, which can impair your ability to control your motorcycle.

Body temperature regulation:

Riding a motorcycle for an extended period can increase your body temperature, especially on hot and humid days. Staying hydrated helps regulate your body temperature since your body must have enough water to sweat and keep your body cool.

Brain function:

Dehydration can impair brain functions, affecting your reaction time, focus, and decision-making skills while riding.

Overall health:

Staying hydrated helps to maintain your overall health, helping prevent fatigue, headaches, and other health issues that could impair your riding abilities.

4. Dehydration & Motorcycle Touring

A major reason dehydration occurs when riding a motorcycle is due to a large amount of heat absorbed by asphalt. Asphalt absorbs and stores heat better than natural surfaces, especially on hot summer days. The trapped heat in the asphalt can cause an increase in body temperature and sweating that could result in severe dehydration.

To prevent this, some riders prefer to wear fewer layers to improve ventilation, but at the cost of increasing the risk of heat cramps, exhaustion, discomfort, and less control of the motorcycle.

5. Tips to Avoid Dehydration

Here are the tips to help you avoid dehydration while riding a motorcycle:

5.1 Plan for Long Tours

Going on a long tour means more time spent on your ride. Before going on long tours, make sure to spend extra time making preparations. Especially on hot, sunny days, make sure to include means to hydrate yourself with your carry-ons.

5.2 Bring Enough Water

If there are no tuck shops along your route, you must bring at least one gallon of water every one and a half days. If you don't have enough space on your motorcycle to carry a gallon of water, install parts that will allow you to carry extra storage. Whether riding a tourer or a cruiser, pick saddlebags that can carry water bottles, jugs, or similar storage containers on long tours without spilling.

5.3 Drink Plenty of Water

Because it only takes an hour for your body to start becoming dehydrated, you must drink plenty of water at regular intervals to stay hydrated.

5.4 Replenish Your Electrolytes

Electrolytes, or essential bodily minerals, play a vital role in balancing the body’s bodily fluids. When riding on hot summer days, there is a higher risk of getting heat stroke and excessive sweating that result in the loss of electrolytes. Make sure to hydrate yourself with energy drinks and juices to replenish your body’s electrolytes.

5.5 Eat Fruits and Vegetables

Eating fruits and vegetables can improve stamina and restore your energy. If you are still feeling low in energy after drinking water, fruits, and vegetables will help replenish any loss in vitamins or carbohydrates.

5.6 Don't Chug Water Before the Ride

Though it is good to hydrate yourself before going on a ride, avoid chugging too much water. Drinking tons of water can increase the likelihood of getting stomach cramps. Also, water takes about 30 minutes to affect your body. Rather than drink lots of water, try to take little sips throughout the ride to stay hydrated.

5.7 Consume Some Salt

Most of your body's sweat is made of sodium, which must be replenished to prevent dehydration. By consuming foods with adequate amounts of salt, you can replace any lost electrolytes, help maintain your body's bodily fluids, and prevent fatigue.

5.8 Drink Enough Water Even When It's Cold Outside

Whether the temperature is hot or cold, your body naturally loses water due to bodily processes. Proper hydration and nutrition ensure your body can generate enough energy and maintain a healthy body. Drinking enough water will also help regulate your body’s temperature and prevent hypothermia.

5.9 Drink Hydrant

Hydrants are drinks or beverages that help replenish bodily fluids and keep you properly hydrated. Water is the most common and effective hydrant. Still, other beverages like sports drinks, coconut water, herbal tea, fruit and vegetable juices, and energy drinks can keep you hydrated.

Hydrants generally contain water and electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium, that help your body absorb and retain fluids. These drinks are beneficial during intense physical activity, hot weather, or when sick.

However, not all drinks are equally effective at keeping the body hydrated. Some drinks, such as sugary sodas or alcoholic beverages, can cause dehydration. Stick to drinking water or other hydrants to maintain a healthy fluid balance.

5.10 Avoid Alcohol and Fast Food

Never drink alcohol before going on a ride as it can impair your judgment and negatively affect your body’s level of hydration.

Also, try to avoid eating fast food as it could cause you to become very thirsty. Consuming foods rich in sodium can disrupt the balance of bodily fluids.

5.11 Take Breaks

Don't go on a long, continuous tour without including several breaks in your travel schedule. Make sure to rest your body by taking frequent short breaks. Use breaks as an opportunity to drink water and rehydrate yourself.

5.12 Drink Water With Meals

Don't forget to drink the right amount of water while eating food. Drinking a glass of water before having a meal helps make s it easier to digest. However, don't drink too much water while or after eating as it can cause health issues and cause you to feel thirsty again after a short time.

5.13 Bring a Hydration Pack

Hydration packs can come with backpacks, belts, bladders, fanny packs, etc. They are easy to wear along with your riding gear but may affect airflow. It is best to wear a hydration pack inside the jacket.

5.14 Choose Appropriate Riding Gear

Choosing the right gear is just as important as choosing the right motorcycle. As mentioned earlier, your whole body excretes minerals and water that cause dehydration. So, it is crucial to protect your body by wearing riding gear that protects your skin and keeps it from being exposed to air that could result in it becoming dried up.

5.15 Extra Storage for Water

If you don't have ample space on your motorcycle to keep a gallon of water, then look for extra storage. Whether riding a touring or cruising motorcycle, pick the saddlebags for cruisers where you can place water for a long-route tour.

6. FAQs

6.1 What is the Best Way to Stay Hydrated on a Long Bike Ride?

It is best to drink a few sips of water every 30 minutes to stay properly hydrated. But while riding a motorcycle, try to drink two to three gulps of water or any electrolyte drink every 15 to 20 minutes. Use a hydration pack to easily access and drink water.

6.2 What to Eat During a Long Ride to Stay Hydrated?

Try to eat fresh fruits and vegetables to stay hydrated during a long motorcycle tour. Nutrition experts recommend drinking a mixture of mineral water and fruit juices to get all the required nutrients.

6.3 How Much Water Should You Bring on a motorcycle ride?

It is suggested you bring at least 300 to 500 ml of water per hour. For a whole day of travel, you should have at least a gallon of water.

Moreover, staying hydrated is important to prevent dehydration and fatigue on a long ride. Here are some drink options that can help you stay hydrated during a long ride:

Water: Water should be your go-to drink for hydration during a long ride. Bring enough water for the entire ride and drink it regularly, even if you don't feel thirsty.

Electrolyte drinks: Electrolyte drinks can help replenish the electrolytes lost through sweat, which can help you stay hydrated and maintain your energy levels. Look for drinks that are low in sugar and high in sodium and potassium.

6.4 What Kind of Saddlebags Are Best for Your Motorcycle?

It is best to have saddlebags with the following features:

  • Lockable
  • Hardshell
  • Internal organizer
  • Good storage capacity
  • Weather resistance

6.5 How to Prepare for a Long-Distance Motorcycle Ride?

Here are tips on how to prepare for a long motorcycle ride:

  • Prepare your motorcycle
  • Bring the essentials
  • Wear appropriate gear
  • Research the route and destination
  • Bring enough water to stay hydrated

6.6 Is It Safe to Drink Tap Water on a Motorcycle Trip?

No, tap water is often contaminated and not recommended for drinking.  Try to avoid drinking tap water and stick to the filtered water you bring on a motorcycle tour.

In many developed areas, tap water is generally safe to drink because it undergoes a rigorous purification process to remove contaminants such as bacteria, viruses, and chemicals. However, in some areas, the tap water may be contaminated or may not meet the necessary safety standards, which can lead to health problems.

Here are reasons why people should avoid drinking tap water:

  1. Contamination: Tap water can become contaminated with bacteria, viruses, or other pathogens. This can happen due to issues with the water treatment process or water distribution system or contamination from other sources.
  2. Chemicals: Tap water may contain various chemicals such as chlorine, fluoride, and lead, which can cause health issues if consumed in large quantities.
  3. Taste and odor: Tap water may have a strange taste or odor due to containing minerals, chemicals, or other substances.
  4. Infrastructure issues: In some areas, the water distribution infrastructure may be old or poorly maintained, resulting in rusty pipes or leaks that can affect the purity of the water.

7. Conclusion

Drinking enough water is essential to regulate body temperature, keep joints lubricated, deliver nutrition, keep organs functional, prevent infections, and avoid diseases.

All the easy-to-follow tips covered in this article will help every rider reduce the risk of dehydration. Keep your hydration pack clean and filled, and always make sure to have the right amount of water whenever and wherever.  You can also find other aftermarket parts, including sissy bars, crash bars, handlebars, and fairings. There are also different luggage options available at Viking Bags, including sissy bar bags, touring packs, and hard saddlebags for improved storage capacity.

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