When nature calls, man must answer. When you gotta go, you gotta go. “How do cyclists pee while racing?” is a question that gets asked a lot during online searches; it seems people are curious, and in many ways fascinated.
It is not uncommon for a professional bike race to last six hours or more, few other sporting events last that long without a break, and so other sports don’t have to deal with this issue.
First of all it is quite easy to ride a 100 mile race without the need to urinate, so the question of how do female racing cyclists do it does not arise as often because most women’s races are under 100 miles. A 100 mile professional race is a little over four hours, and remember cyclists are losing a lot of fluid through sweat.
Sometimes a cyclist will urinate while riding, see the picture above where another rider gives a friendly push so the peeing cyclist can coast. Notice the rider pushing is not even on the same team. Cycling is a different sport in so many ways.
Cycle racing is as competitive as any other sport, just not all the time. Races are long, and there is an atmosphere of comradely, respect, and friendly cooperation.
Many sports are played one team against another. Cycling is also a team sport, but there are many teams in the same event. A cycle road race is not, attack, attack, all the way there are quiet moments when the pace is moderate. This would be a time to pee.
Alliances are made between rival riders on different teams. These are unspoken alliances that simply occur because it is to everyone’s mutual benefit to work together. Forming a pace-line with each rider doing a short “Pull” at the front while the rest ride in each other’s slipstream making less effort.
A pace-line like this will form in a breakaway group, a chasing group, or often when one rider stops for a pee, others will stop because they can then form a pace-line and catch back up to the race. (See top picture.) It would be considered bad form to attack when guys have stopped to urinate.
One also has to realize that professional cycling is traditionally a Continental European sport, with the big races held in countries like France, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, and Italy.
Britain and the US have only come onboard in more recent times. In places like France, Belgium, etc. the culture is different. People are less inclined to be offended or freak out if someone (Especially a man.) is seen urinating in public.
It is not unusual, on a long drive, for European motorists to simply stand by the road side (His back to the road of course.) while taking a leak. Therefore no one thinks it peculiar if cyclists do the same.
In France for many years now there have been public urinals for men (Above.) that used to have a minimum waist-high cover around it, in case of accidental exposure.
Modern street urinals have dispensed with even that. (Picture above right, and below.)
In Britain and the US it seems we are still stuck in the Victorian era, and normal bodily functions are taboo.
We can’t even call a lavatory or a urinal by its proper name, and instead call it a “Toilet” in the UK.
Even this term is too strong for the US where it is called a “Rest Room” or “Bathroom.”
The act of urinating is referred to as “Going to the Bathroom.” I once heard a lady say that her dog picked up a toad and the toad “Went to the bathroom" in the dog's mouth. Think about it: how ludicrous is that statement? I have never seen a toad in a bathroom, much less a bathroom inside a dog's mouth.
So if you are a recreational rider in the UK or the USA and you need to take a leak, I suggest you find a bush or a tree to go behind. You may look like a professional cyclist but this is not France or Belgium. At worst you could get a ticket for public urination.
At the very least you will offend someone, and give all cyclists a bad name. Look on this small inconvenience as part of the price we pay for freedom. I am being facetious of course.
Above: Just imagine if these kind of urinals were used at all outdoor events, festivals, and rock concerts etc. How much cheaper, less space required, and leave the enclosed "Porta-Johns" for the ladies.