Question: My local bike shop carries half a dozen brands of sports drinks. Which one is best for cycling? — Todd S.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: Given equal amounts of carbohydrate, most sports drinks work about the same. With few exceptions, they supply similar amounts of energy.
So, the “best drink” is the one with a flavor you like. Some riders insist on using products that taste bad to them simply because of the marketing hype. As a result, they don’t drink enough on rides.
No matter how scientifically formulated a drink may be, it won’t do you any good if you can’t choke it down. My advice is to find the brands/flavors that taste good — and buy the one that works best for you in terms of taste, effectiveness, cost, etc.
Tip! If you tour or do long day rides, get accustomed to common products such as Gatorade and PowerAde. You probably won’t find other brands when stopping at rural convenience stores. If you feel you must have a certain high-tech drink to ride well, you’ll have to carry enough—perhaps in powder form on in a hydration system.