I find myself drawn to water on my rides. I usually hop on my bike with no particular destination in mind, but almost always find myself standing in front of a lake or on the edge of the river when I arrive. I love the way the sun reflects off the water, and the glittery dance between wind and water. During the summer in Minnesota you can't go far without seeing a lake -- and many people make a weekly trek to a local lake for a cookout and swim, or take a longer journey "up North" to their cabin on a lake in the woods. There is something peaceful about water; the soft sound of lapping on the shore (or crashing waves on an ocean beach) that carries away worry and stress. Heath of mind and body is restored.
*Drinking enough water is essential for a safe ride. The human body is 2/3 water, so it's no surprise that we are drawn to it, and need to replenish it. You can go without food for a long time, but you can go less than a week without water. The old adage of drinking at least 8 glasses of water is a good one. Performance declines with less than that. Plain water is best, but other beverages, such as fruit juices, milk, and noncaffeinated drinks, hydrate the body because they contain a high percentage of water. Fruits and vegetables can also be good source of water.
Good news! Recent studies have questioned the belief that caffeine is a diuretic. A report by the U.S. government’s Institute of Medicine concludes that coffee quenches thirst as effectively as water and does not deplete bodily fluids (McAuliffe 2005). So enjoy a cup -- the caffeine may even enhance your performance. It's recommended that you drink plain water with your coffee drink if you're working out.
Make sure to drink before, during, and after the workout. Symptoms of dehydration are headache, poor concentration, tiredness, and constipation. You'll feel yourself slow down, cramp up, and be less sharp on your ride if you're not drinking enough. Of course, severe dehydration can lead to death.
So fill yourself with water and head to the nearest water source to maintain your physical and mental health, reduce stress, hang out with people or get back to nature.
*Stats from HumanKinetics.com