Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Munich Germany (formerly Portland OR, Texas)
Bikes: '02 Specialized FSR, '03 RM Slayer, '99 Raleigh R700, '97 Norco hartail, '89 Stumpjumper
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yes, adequate hydration is one of the most common problems/mistakes by cyclists.
doing regular activities, the body is pretty good about indicating thirst, but when cycling, especially in warm and/or dry conditions, the body needs more and signals through thirst TOO late that you need to drink.
so yeah, aim to drink a little bit every 15 minutes.
as for an amount per hr of cycling: depends on the conditions. i think i on average i drink about 1 liter for 2 hours or so... i usually go empty on a 3-hr ride if i only take 1 bottle and have a little left if i take 2. for longer rides i either take the larger capacity camel-back or i refill the bottles along the way.
also note: in the heat you usually are more likely to think about drinking b/c you are aware that you are hot and that you are sweating. one really common time for dehydration is when it's cold and dry b/c your body can actually use as much water as when it's hot you just don't notice... so take extra cxare to drink when it's cold and dry!
lastly: for tours and especially races, i start "loading" my water about 2 hours before the ride so that i begin with extra rather than a water deficit. of couse, if you drink too much you'll have to stop for a piss-break...