Mastering “How to Pee” During a Bicycle Race
By: Ben Dodge, Esq., Ultra Cyclist
Why the heck would you have to worry about peeing in a bicycle race? Why not just pull over and pee? Well, I admit that pulling over and peeing is by far the safest thing to do and the lawyer in me will always endorse safety! There are lots of reasons to not stop riding in a race. Mostly you are trying for the win, or hanging onto a group you can’t afford to drop off of (lose the draft), or just aiming for a personal best time and stopping to pee can throw all of that off.
If you are competing out there, you may struggle with the thought of what to do when you have to pee during a race. In fact, you might even worry about it so much that you don’t drink nearly as much as you should before and during your race. You are left under hydrated and risk not only under performance but some serious health issues as well. Any competitive cyclist will acknowledge that hydration is a huge component to a successful race, especially any longer bicycle race. Many cyclists start hydrating days before their race. The morning of a race I usually drink at least 1-2 bottles an hour or two before the race. I have a whole routine and hydration is always a top priority.
The problem of course is that you hope you pee before you race. Or that the race is short enough so if you have to pee during your race you simply hold it until you finish. This can be horribly uncomfortable, and even painful. Let me offer some helpful suggestions on How to Pee During a Bicycle Race. These pro tips are collected from personal experience, conversations with other competitive cyclists, teammates, and some awesome chats with pro cyclists. Here is a list of suggestions that are tried and true, and some even more experimental… lol
- Stop and pee. Yes, just pull over and pee. Its only a race, and any other suggestion could risk a crash. You could crash or cause a crash in the peleton if you’re not extremely careful and experienced in any of the next suggestions. The longer the race the more likely you won’t need to worry about losing time to stop and pee. When I raced the solo Race Across the West in 2016 I knew I had to bike 930 miles pretty much non stop all on my own. I knew I had plenty of time to stop and use the restroom when necessary. No need to pee yourself during such a long solo race. Ultra cycling is almost a different animal all together.
- Negotiated Pee Break. No kidding, sometimes in the peleton if you are feeling the painful urge to pee and you can’t hold it anymore you may very well not be the only one who feels that way. There are times when a fellow cyclist will start recruiting others within the peleton to all pull over and take a pee break. These negotiated pee breaks are hilarious. Everyone quickly pulling over and scrambling to pee and keep riding again. It is a sort of treaty where everyone agrees to stop and pee. Yet, no one really waits for the last guy. You pee and you start pedaling again, end of story. Hopefully you’re not the last guy peeing who is suddenly caught having to bridge a gap back up to the rest of the group who peed faster than you did. I have participated in a negotiated pee break in the LOTOJA race. It is a 200+ mile road race and without fail every year after about 1.5 hours or so everyone ends up negotiating a pee break on the side of the road in the middle of no where. I have never been so grateful in a race!
- Just pee in your bibs. Yep, its as gross as it sounds. But many cyclists who race have all tried it. You just pee and then try and squirt a bit of water on yourself out of your water bottle. This suggestion is one of the ones pro cyclists are familiar with. One complaint I hear from them is that you get “pee pee shoes.” The pee can just run down your leg and into your cycling shoes. They smell for ever after that and it seems virtually impossible to get the smell all the way out. I admit I have tried this as well. It sucks. It smells. And you could even get irritated skin everywhere if you don’t wash your bibs out well immediately after you pee. It is the easiest way to stay on your bike and pee. It is fairly safe and you don’t really have to stop pedaling to do it. I will warn you, it takes practice to get to the point where you can pee and pedal at the same time. If I recall correctly I came home and threw away my “pee pee shoes” swearing I would never try that again.
- Stand and Deliver. No kidding, one of the most impressive things I have seen in a race is a guy slip off to the right hand side of the peleton and coast along the shoulder standing up; with one hand on the handlebar and one hand on his… he whipped it out and peed while coasting along side the peleton. We rode by him in awe. A bit disgusted for sure, but more impressed. He lost a few positions in the peleton but nothing he couldn’t make up real quickly. He never dropped off the back or had to bridge any gaps. It was flawless. Genius. But of course he put himself and all of us at risk. What if there had been debris in the shoulder? Or what if he simply swerved into the peleton? There a number of reasons why this is an unsafe maneuver. He clearly had practiced it as he pulled it off in a seamless and smooth manner. That is what was so impressive. I know he must have practiced because I set out to try it on a training ride once with my dad. One summer afternoon while visiting my dad in Utah I pedaled ahead on a bike path in the middle of no where and determined to try it. There was some surprising stage fright. Some awkwardness in balance and stability while peeing. It was anything but smooth. I was however able to pee. I got a little on me but not bad. It had worked. But not well enough for me to do it in a race. I knew I needed a better option…
- The Condom Catheter. Wow, just writing it makes me a bit queasy. No joke, this is an incredibly creative option. One of my teammates who had to drop from a fast group of cyclists only because he had to pee during a competitive attempt at LOTOJA was so frustrated he thought to himself: “There has to be a better way.” It was his creative thinking that led to who knows how many weird google searches which in turn led to this idea of condom catheters. It is exactly what its sounds like. It is a condom you put on with a catheter tube you connect to it. The tube in a medical setting will presumably connect to a pee bag of sorts attached to your bedside. Adapted to competitive cycling by our very own teammate (D.E. – initials only to sort of keep his identity somewhat private, lol) the tube is cut to extend out the bottom of the bibs by 3-5 inches when in use. When not in use the tube simply tucks around your thigh/hamstring and into the bottom of your bibs. The tubing used can be purchased at Home Depot or any varoety of “medical tubing” on Amazon, etc. It is a bit of a hacked looking device we have made. The actual condom catheters can also be purchased on Amazon. Many of us have all tried different versions (makes and models) of condom catheters. I will say this: size definitely matters. Buying the right size is ultra important to even kind of being successful with this idea. Also, some have some sticky glue like substance that we recommend you avoid as it feels like your ripping a layer of skin of just to remove it. I will include pictures of the condom catheter I prefer and the tubing I used. I can say that I have actually tried it on several recent rides. In preparation for this year’s LOTOJA race a few of us BAA cyclists have been highly interested in trying out the whole condom catheter thing. I must say the conversations during the rides have been hilarious on an epic scale. Just the other night I was talking to a teammate and friend of mine on the phone in the kitchen asking him how he was able to get his condom catheter on (a challenge for sure) and my wife was listening in the background. It was too funny. I have pictures (all clean) of the actual catheter, and the tubing I use. I have some good and bad experiences with it so far. It seems the longer the ride the more likely it is to fall off right in the middle of a pee. This can of course be embarrassing and a bit gross. lol. All worth the risk for now as we try to discover new ways to pee during a race without stopping. I could see a follow up article on the DO’s and DON’Ts of condom catheters just so people who want to try it can learn from our mistakes. LOTOJA is in 1.5 weeks from today and I plan to try it out for that race (200+ miles). I’ll be happy to report how well or badly it went.
Again, if you have to ask why this is even important then you may not have ever been in a serious race where you couldn’t afford to stop, OR you already have a different solution that works. If you do have any solutions or suggestions that we haven’t thought of or tried yet please leave a comment to this blog and I’m sure myself along with some of my BAA teammates will be happy to run some tests/experiments with your ideas. We are always looking for the newest innovative ideas. We love to try new things, especially if they work well.
Have an incredible time riding your bike. Be safe, and keep the rubber side down!
-Ben Dodge, Esq.
Bicycle crash and bicycle accident lawyer Ben Dodge
A bicycle crash is not always an accident. If you, or someone you know has been injured in a bicycle crash or accident caused by a road hazard or dangerous road condition, hire a personal injury attorney who is experienced and has a successful track record. Ben Dodge, a licensed bicycle accident lawyer in Arizona, has dedicated his entire firm to one purpose: representing cyclists. Bicycle accident cases are the only cases Bike Accident Attorneys, PLC handles. Home based out of the great state of Arizona, Ben can still help cyclists in the entire United States. Ben also founded Bike Accident Attorneys Network, a national network of attorneys who focus on representing cyclists. He can find you help anywhere in the country.
Ben Dodge has represented and assisted bicycle accident victims across the entire United States. As an avid and competitive cyclist himself, Mr. Dodge currently participates in national and local cycling events all over the country. It isn’t uncommon to spot him in early morning hours out riding his bike. Having competed in 8 Ironman triathlons, numerous local and national cycling races, and a successful finish in the Race Across the West 2016, he really knows what it’s like to ride and race a bike. The day he fell in love with his job was the day he devoted himself completely to bicycle accident cases.
Ben represents cyclists injured in bicycle accidents, at the police station, with insurance companies, and in the courts. He advocates for the rights of all cyclists, not just his clients. He teaches police about bike laws and bike safety, he educates drivers about the rules of the road, and he trains cyclists and clubs to ride more safely.
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In recent years there has been approximately 700 bicycle fatalities in the United States every single year. Approximately 2,000 bicycle accidents are reported in Arizona every year. Approximately 30 fatal bicycle accidents are reported in Arizona every year. Bicycle fatalities are terrible and horrific tragedies that affect the lives of too many families and friends to count. Understanding your rights and obligations as a cyclist can bring clarity to your specific accident situation. It will always be in your best interest to be represented by an attorney who knows the bicycle laws and has a successful track record of winning bicycle accident cases. The negotiation tactics and strategies of winning a case are extremely important, but should always take a back row seat to the litigation experience and knowledge of court room rules, local, state, and federal rules of civil procedure that can have significant impact on your bicycle accident case. It is wise to be represented by someone well versed in bicycle accident law, local and state bicycle ordinances, rules, regulations, policies, and laws. You should hire someone very familiar with negligence and tort law, civil procedure, and the rules of evidence as they all relate specifically to bicycle accident cases.
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You can call Arizona bicycle lawyer Ben Dodge of Bike Accident Attorneys, PLC at 1.855.663.3922. Mr. Dodge’s staff is standing and ready to accept your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every single day of the year. Ben will personally return your call within 24 hours. There is never an obligation past a complimentary consultation with Mr. Dodge. His passion is in representing cyclists and his entire office stands ready to serve with kindness and patience.
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