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Cycling with A Hangover: How To Ride with One or Avoid Them Altogether

Cycling with a hangover can be risky and harmful. Here are some ways riding your bike with a hangover can negatively impact your ride.

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Do you frequently find yourself cycling while you’re hungover? Cycling when hungover puts you in danger of getting into accidents and even crashing your bike. If you’re feeling shaky after drinking, you should avoid riding your bike and instead choose other modes of transportation.

This post will discuss hangovers, what causes them, what happens when you ride with a hangover, and how you can avoid one altogether. And we will finally answer the question—is it safe to ride your bike with a nagngover?

Image of a man lying on sofa and holding bottle near head after party. Source: adobe stock
Image of a man lying on sofa and holding bottle near head after party. Source: Adobe Stock

Cycling with a severe hangover is dangerous and should be avoided. When dehydrated, your body becomes extremely sensitive to pain cues that cause nausea and vomiting. Even minor bumps can induce you to vomit. However, if you have mind symptoms and you are no longer intoxicated, cycling can be a good way to improve how you feel during a hangover.

Editor’s note: I am not a doctor. Please speak to your doctor for professional medical advice.

What is a hangover?

A hangover is a collection of unpleasant signs and symptoms after consuming too much alcohol. As if feeling bad wasn’t enough, frequent hangovers are linked to poor performance and conflict at work.

The more alcohol you consume, the more likely you will have a hangover the next day. However, no magic formula will tell you how much you can drink and avoid a hangover.

No matter how unpleasant, most hangovers go away on their own, though they can last up to 24 hours. If you choose to consume alcohol, do so responsibly to avoid future hangovers.

What happens when you ride with a hangover?

Cycling while hungover is extremely dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. Dehydration causes your body to become extremely sensitive to pain cues, causing nausea and vomiting. And minor bumps can cause you to vomit.

Furthermore, drinking while driving impairs vision and judgment, making it difficult to analyze potential road hazards such as potholes or traffic signals. Additionally, drinking promotes lactic acid accumulation, making your legs feel stiff and heavy.

Finally, Because alcohol is a diuretic, excessive consumption leads to dehydration because it causes the kidneys to produce more urine. If you do ride, once you begin sweating, you will lose even more fluid, worsening dehydration and reducing performance because the flow of oxygen and nutrients is slowed.

Image of a bicycle with bottles of beer. Source: camila quintero franco, unsplash
Image of a bicycle with bottles of beer. Source: Camila Quintero Franco, Unsplash

Should you ride your bike with a hangover?

While this all sounds terrifying, and the prospect of staying home, watching TV, and putting your feet up is appealing, you should still consider getting some fresh air outside. And a short, relaxing bike ride can make a world of difference.

The fresh air, sunshine, and movement will jump-start your recovery and aid with digestion and headache relief. However, be careful if you’re still intoxicated when you wake up; riding a bike in that situation is dangerous.

How can you avoid the hangover?

The best strategy to avoid a hangover is determined by your personal dietary and drinking habits. However, here are some pointers that may be useful.

1. Keep track of your drinks.

Avoid a “binge.” According to the NHS, a “binge” is anything more than six units for a man or woman, two to three standard glasses of wine, or two to three pints of 4% beer.

2. Hydrate before bed.

Everyone knows you should drink a glass of water before bed, but consider combining it with a hydration tablet (such as Nuun Hydration Tablets) for the best results.

3. Don’t drink on an empty stomach.

Before you drink, have a hearty meal. Having some food in your stomach slows the rate at which your body absorbs alcohol.

4. Drink water between every alcoholic drink.

Drinking water prevents dehydration, slows down drinking, and encourages you to consider how much you drink. If you feel like a glass of water attracts too much attention to your sensibility, go for a soft drink, and no one will guess your game (you can laugh at them the next day if you’re riding together).

5. Don’t mix your drinks.

Choose a wine, beer, or spirit and stick to it. Don’t mix and match drinks.

If you want even more tips, watch this video called “How Bad Is Alcohol For Cycling Performance?” from the Global Cycling Network YouTube Channel.

A video called “How Bad Is Alcohol For Cycling Performance?” from the Global Cycling Network YouTube Channel.
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Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Do you still have questions? Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about cycling and alcohol.

Can I cycle with a hangover?

Only time can cure a hangover. However, a bike ride can make a world of difference in how you feel. Fresh air, sunshine, and movement will help you feel better quickly. They will also help you digest food and get rid of headaches. However, be careful if you’re still intoxicated when you wake up; riding a bike in that situation is dangerous.

Is it safe to bike while hungover?

You should wait until the alcohol has left your system before beginning to exercise. A single drink could take 1-2 hours, whereas numerous drinks could take several hours or more. When exercising, you risk dehydration worsening if you still have alcohol in your system. If you are no longer intoxicated, you might want to get some fresh air.

Is it legal to ride a bike while drunk?

Yes. It is illegal in most states and municipalities to ride a bicycle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Can cycling with a hangover cause heatstroke

Yes. Because alcohol is a diuretic, you will be mildly, if not severely dehydrated the next morning. Unfortunately, this could also make you more likely to get a heatstroke, especially in the summer.

Conclusion

Regardless of your hangover status, cycling should not be completely ruled out because it allows you to move your body and get fresh air, which will do wonders for your state of mind. Just remember to take it slowly and concentrate on the tip of your nose until you feel better. Just remember to relax, take it easy, and don’t push yourself!

This article covered what a hangover is and what happens when you ride with a hangover. Here are some key takeaways:

Key takeaways

  • Avoid consuming energy-depleting beverages such as coffee or energy drinks.
  • After your ride, drink an electrolyte drink.
  • When you drink alcohol, roughly 20% of it is absorbed into your system.
  • Drinking promotes lactic acid accumulation, making your legs feel stiff and heavy.
  • The best strategy to avoid a hangover is determined by your personal dietary and drinking habits.
  • You should drink plenty of water, eat well, and avoid too much alcohol. So Before you begin your ride, drink plenty of water.
  • A hangover is caused by your metabolism slowing down, which causes your body to take longer to remove toxins from your system. This can cause you to feel tired and groggy for a long time after consuming alcohol.
  • Drinking enough water during or after a binge can help you feel better by replacing the fluids you lost and flushing out the toxins in your liver faster.
  • Cycling helps you recover after a night of excessive consumption of wine, beer, or whiskey and will allow your body time to rebalance and relax.
  • If you feel lethargic after cycling for a long time, don’t be afraid to take some extra electrolytes or drink more water before going to bed.

So, do you ride with a hangover or get rid of one? Did we cover everything you wanted to know? Let us know in the comments section below (we read and reply to every comment). If you found this article helpful, check out our full blog for more tips and tricks on fixed gear and single-speed cycling. Thanks for reading, and stay fixed.

Helpful resources

Image of a man s hand holding a can of wheat beer in a bike. Pinterest
Image of a man’s hand holding a can of wheat beer on a bike. Pinterest
Author avatar - Bradley Knight
Written By Bradley Knight
As a native New Yorker, Bradley is no stranger to the fixed gear scene. He’s been riding fixed for years. When he’s not on the bike, you can find him practicing his many hobbies, including playing guitar, video production, and photography.

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