Question: I know this question must have a couple of obvious answers, but no one can give me a direct solution. On long rides, how can I replenish my fluid supply when the two bottles that I can carry aren’t enough? I don’t want to carry a back-mounted hydration pack while riding on the road. — Steve H.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: First, don’t discount the convenience or comfort of hydration packs. They work great for road rides, and many long-distance cyclists always use one.
A pack doesn’t feel annoyingly heavy even with 70-90 ounces, then it gets lighter with every sip. A typical 70-ounce road model gives you the equivalent of about 3 extra bottles.
You might also install behind-the-seat cages like triathletes use. That can add 2 extra bottles. Or course, you can also carry an extra bottle or two in your jersey’s rear pockets. And use large 28-ounce bottles instead of standard 22-ouncers.
The obvious places to refill bottles include convenience stores, gas stations, water fountains in parks and public buildings, and outside spigots on houses, churches and other buildings.
If your rides are remote and away from civilization but pass streams, you could carry a water purifier. I do this on backpacking trips high in Colorado’s mountains, but I’m not sure I’d want to drink from some low-country streams I’ve seen.
You could arrange your own aid stations by having a friend drive out to meet you at predetermined locations. Or, you could ride a figure-8 course with a midway stop at your house.
One more idea: Stash water along the route in plastic jugs, concealing them just off the road in the shade.
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Coach Fred Matheny is an RBR co-founder who has four decades of road cycling and coaching experience. He has written 14 eBooks and eArticles on cycling training, available in RBR’s eBookstore at Coach Fred Matheny, including the classic Complete Book of Road Bike Training, which includes 4 eBooks comprising 250 pages of timeless, detailed advice and training plans. The Complete Book is one of the many perks of an RBR Premium Membership. Click to read Fred's full bio.