When you’re outside exerting yourself and sweating up a storm, it really is a good idea to drink something with electrolytes in it.
Dad and the Bro are riding for Pelotonia again this year – a cancer research funding bike ride in Columbus, OH where 100% of biker raised money goes directly to the cause because the sponsor companies cover all operating expenses. This is not a race – participants ride to reach their goals. Last year my guys did 25 miles, this year they hope to complete 50 miles. I think they’ll do just fine – they’ve been going out every weekend, and they’re looking damn good!
Dad works for Huntington, a big supporter of the event. Last year I went down to Columbus to cheer my guys on, and everyone there was just so nice. Pelotonia advertises as OneGoal, and you can feel that during the event. There’s food, there’s drink, entertainment, and some enterprising souls going the distance on unicycles.
I’m not that great on a bike, but I wanted to do my part in supporting my dudes. Bud does not like the taste of Gatorade at all, and Dad is not happy about the amount of sugar. I’ve been on a natural-sourced DIY kick lately, so my mind immediately wondered if I couldn’t make my own sports drink.
The internets say yes.
Electrolytes are the minerals in your blood and other bodily fluids that affect the amount of water in your body, muscle function, nerve signaling, etc. The most common electrolyte minerals are sodium, calcium, chloride, potassium, phosphate and magnesium. You sweat some of these out, leading to cramps and fatigue.
Well that won’t do for my guys, when they’ve doubled the distance from last year. I may not be able to bike up a hill, but I’ll be damned if I can’t whip out my alchemist skills and concoct a DIY sports drinks for the occasion!
Thus I present to you, Bikeade, formulated and inspired by several recipes online, as well as the contents of my fridge. Ultimately I only needed to purchase raw honey and coconut water, so go me.
I wanted to go simple my first time around, so I infused strawberries and blueberries overnight in a lemonade-type base. Most of the electrolytes come from the food ingredients, so there ought to be no weird mineral flavors. I made this first batch the night before Dad and the Bro went on a forty mile training ride – and insisted they sample the lemonade base so I wouldn’t send them out with sad bottles of gross juice. Once approval was given I sliced up strawberries, muddled blueberries, and dumped it all in the pitcher to infuse overnight. The awesome thing about this recipe is that you can eat the berries the next day – they’re only a little lemony, but tasty!
Dad liked the flavor, said he had less cramps and fatigue than usual, so I do believe Bikeade was a success. I’ll experiment again this weekend when they go on another ride. Perhaps orange juice and pomegranate?
- 3 cups hot water
- 2 cups coconut water
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 3 tablespoons raw honey (organic, local)
- ½ cup lemon juice
- ½ pound of fresh strawberries
- ½ cup blueberries, smushed
Tools: pitcher, mixing bowl that holds more than a quart (I have a quart measuring cup/bowl), whisk
- Heat water to boiling and turn off heat.
- Scoop out 3 tablespoons of honey into a 4 cup measuring bowl. Pour in one cup of hot water and whisk until the honey is completely dissolved. The water should turn golden. (This step is especially important if your honey came creamed – since it will be semi-solid.)
- Toss in ¼ tsp sea salt, stir until dissolved.
- Add ½ cup lemon juice, again stirring until combined.
- Pour in 2 cups of coconut water and 1 cup hot water, stir well without splooshing the liquid over the sides of the bowl.
- This is the base of your drink – so I recommend sampling it before you go any further. Your sports drink should not just be healthier than store alternatives – it should be tastier too! You’re planning on drinking this cold, so it’s difficult to judge flavor when it’s warm. But the liquid does need to stay hot until you add the fruit (to better leech flavor out). Place an ice cube in a little glass then pour a splash of your concoction over the ice to cool. Then adjust the bikeade accordingly. If it’s too lemony, add coconut water. You can up the sweetness level with more honey but try not to – we’re trying to stay away from the calorific, high sugar shelved sports drinks.
- Once you’re satisfied with the base drink, pour into the pitcher along with one more cup of hot water.
- Wash half a pound of ripe strawberries, slice into quarters and dump into the pitcher.
- Wash a half cup of ripe blueberries and place in a bowl or measuring cup. Use a spoon to smush/squash the berried until the insides come out a little. Drop them and any released juices into the pitcher.
- Stir the pitcher really well and watch the fruit swirl around all pretty!
Cover it up, stick it in the fridge overnight.
The next morning you can fish the fruit out and eat some for breakfast. Be sure to pour the bikeade through a strainer before you bottle it up and take it with you.
Your bikeade tastes really great, but please don’t drink it except when exercising. Electrolyte drinks are intended to replace what you’ve lost – go ahead and make this without salt if you really like it – but please use this as it’s intended.