Originally Posted by v70cat
I go to the gym and that is why I mentioned mussel growth.
Endurance activity isn't great for muscle growth, though my legs have grown more from high cycling volume in conjunction with lifting than they ever did with lifting alone.
A 25-mile ride probably takes you about an hour, to an hour and 20 minutes? You should be fine with water for that amount of time. In general, after about an hour of activity is where people start worrying about energy drinks. If you're getting off the bike in about an hour, just make sure you're fueled, and get some carbs and protein afterward.
You're right that sports drinks are mostly sugar water. Decent ones have a bit more thought put in, and the carb and electrolyte blend reflects this. Gatorade is actually a decent drink. If you want some protein in your drink, which may be a good idea for intense training and marathon efforts, something like Accelerade would be up your alley.
For most of us, regular food and water can meet our needs. It takes some forethought, though.