We’ve all experienced the disastrous feeling of needing a pee halfway into a long-distance ride.
Our hearts stop for a second as we realize we need to find somewhere along the side of the road quickly or things could get extremely uncomfortable or even messy.
Now imagine that feeling and picture yourself riding over 100 kilometers in the Tour de France.
With that in mind, you probably find yourself wondering how on earth cyclists go for a pee during important competitions in which millions of people will be watching.
If you don’t know, this question can leave you baffled, which is why today in this article we want to clear things up.
In this blog, we will be letting you in on all the secret or not so secret ways cyclists go for a pee whilst riding.
Who knows some of the answers may even help you relieve yourself next time you’re stuck in a sticky situation.
How Do Cyclists Pee?
Cycling is a tough high endurance sport that uses up a lot of energy and makes us sweat a lot. As a result of this, we have to stay well hydrated as we ride.
Staying well-hydrated helps us perform to our best for longer but it is only a matter of time before nature starts calling.
With most long rides lasting more than 3 hours, we have to find a way to have a pee.
For most of us, this is nice and easy because we aren’t in any form of competition.
If any unprofessional cyclist needs a pee they can simply pull over at a suitable place to go about their business.
This will be easier for men because… well, you know. But women may struggle.
Women don’t have the luxury of external parts so it’s a case of trying to get the spandex out of the way.
How Can Female Cyclists Pee?
Like men, women still need to remove their cycling clothes to go for a pee. This is harder for obvious reasons but it simply has to be done.
Having said that, there are things we can do to make the whole process a lot easier.
Wearing a jersey with full zips is a huge bonus when needing a pee.
This is because they can be taken off and put back on a lot easier, making the whole situation a lot quicker and not as awkward.
Bibs and shorts with drop-downs and zips are also good options that make it easier to pee.
They make every pit stop quicker than more standard bibs.
Finally, cycling gear that is made of stretchier fabrics can be a lot easier to pull to the side when you need to pee.
How Do Cyclists Pee In Amateur Competitions?
Unfortunately, there are no procedures in place for individuals who need to pee during amateur races.
Therefore, it is down to the cyclist themselves to go for a pee before the race begins.
If you do need a pee during the race you are quite limited in options.
The best option is to try and get off your bike and relieve yourself quickly before the race starts to get interesting.
If you can do this you will have plenty of time to catch up with the peloton.
The other obvious but sadly quite unpleasant option is to simply pee as you ride.
As you can imagine this is very unpleasant unless you manage to avoid getting yourself wet.
Men sometimes pull their shorts down and pee as they ride but for women, this isn’t possible.
This often results in having wet, nasty-smelling shorts for the rest of the race.
We recommend you always bite the bullet and pull over to the side. This is the quickest, safest, and most hygienic way to have a pee during a race.
How Do Cyclists In The Tour de France Pee?
When it comes to professional cycling races like the Tour De France things start to change.
As the Tour de France is such a long, intense, serious event it is almost guaranteed that riders will need to pee at some point in some of the races.
They take on so many fluids and energy supplements that at some point nature has to come calling.
Though races vary, most professional races follow a similar path as the Tour de France.
As a result of this it seems only fitting we look at the biggest cycling event in the world and how its riders pee.
The Unwritten Law
It may come as a surprise to you that there are actually no specific rules or laws in place in the Tour de France for cyclists that need to pee.
This is the case with most professional races. However, the Tour de France has its own set of unwritten laws that cyclists follow or at least should if they are showing good sportsmanship.
The peloton can organize itself to select a ‘nature break’ time slot during which all of the riders will stop collectively to pee.
At a Grand Tour, cycling tradition dictates that the GC (Group Classification) leader decides when this will happen.
Anybody that chooses not to have a pee during this time is bound by the unwritten law not to attack whilst this happens.
In 2017, during stage 16 of the Giro d’Italia, Movistar and Bahrain-Merida faced controversy after deciding not to wait for the leader of the race who was taking a natural break just 31km from the finish line.
What if Only One Rider Needs To Pee?
In professional races, most riders will take the opportunity to pee when it arises, however, if only one rider needs a pee they will have to go at the opportune moment.
Usually, the rider will ride ahead of the peloton giving themselves the largest possible window to relieve their bladder.
Should the peloton pass the individual, they can draft their way back into the bunch using the team cars.
Pee As You Ride
The final way professional riders pee as they ride is to simply go whilst on the bike.
Unbelievably cyclists have been known to hold each other up as they pee, with each cyclist simply getting their willy out and peeing as they ride.
We for one are glad we aren’t behind those two.
If a cyclist isn’t comfortable about getting their body parts out on television, which we can completely understand, they simply have to pee in their shorts.
This may sound pretty unpleasant and uncomfortable but sometimes when you gotta go you gotta go.
Cyclist Marcel Kittel actually says on a cold, wet day peeing in your shorts can keep you nice and
We might leave that one to you to try.
So that’s it, hopefully, now you have read this article you know exactly how cyclists pee as they ride.
In our opinion, we still think the best thing to do when you need a pee is simply to pull over and get it done, but you might have a different opinion.
It is interesting to discover that even the best athletes have occasionally had to do the same as us mere mortals.
Even though top cyclists are superhumans, when they’ve gotta go, they gotta go.