How Do Women Pee on a Bike During a Race? (The ugly truth)

I regularly watch professional cycling races, and I have seen male cyclists peeing a million times. One day it got me thinking, how do women do it? Their body is not anatomically made to pee on a bike, so is it even possible for them to do it?

Women cyclists can’t pee on a bike without wetting themselves. Since their races are shorter than 4 hours, most of them don’t pee during a race at all. If they have to, they do it off the bike using a special technique that allows them to pee without taking the shorts off.

Ladies have it hard on the bike, but they are a resourceful bunch. The peeing technique that they invented made their lives easier and allowed them to level up with men.

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To pee or not to pee

Stopping for a pee break mid-race is something no professional cyclist wants. If you stop, even if only for a few seconds, you are doomed to some intense riding in the next few minutes.

When nature calls, you have to answer, but women will do everything possible for the call to happen after the race. Their race distance is limited to 160 kilometers (100 miles), which they cover in about four hours. So they need to hold it in for only four hours, which is doable.

Women pee multiple times right before the start, so they start the race with completly empty bladder.

Urine production is conditioned by two factors — body temperature and fluid input. Cyclists drink a lot during the race, but they also lose a lot of fluids by sweating. On a hot day, cyclists will sweat more, so fewer fluids will stay in the body, while on a cold day, more fluids stay in the body, generating more pee.

During intense exercise, which cycling certainly is, kidney function is also decreased. As a result, urine production is reduced. Usually, after the race is over, when the intensity decreases, the kidneys start to work more actively again, so the cyclists are looking frantically for the toilet in the finish arena.

Holding it in is not always an option

Even though cyclists will do everything possible to avoid peeing mid-race, sometimes they just have to go. Choosing the right time is an art itself and one of a rider’s most valuable skills. If you misjudge a race situation, stopping to pee can ruin your whole race, so women take their breaks very thoughtfully.

The leader of the race typically calls all the shots. If the rider needs to pee, she can talk to the leader to slow down the race. If the bunch is still far from the finish line, the leader will approve the request and slow the tempo. Many riders will then take advantage of the situation and do their business.

If the main group doesn’t slow down, but the rider still needs to pee, it will, of course, stop on the side of the road. After emptying the bladder, the rider will use the car caravan behind the main group to find a way back to the front.

When the race is fully on, and the rider has to pee, it has three options:

  • hold it in until the finish
  • peeing in shorts
  • stop and potentially lose the race

Neither of those options is good, but hey, that’s a sport at the highest level. Most women will choose to hold it in until the finish, but they will pee in shorts if holding in is not possible.

Since they drink a lot, the pee is mostly just water. After completing the task, they splash their shorts with water, and the problem is solved. But be sure they wash their shorts when they finish.

The unwritten rule is that you drop to the back of the group when you’re peeing on a bike, as nobody likes to be covered in somebody else’s urine.

Women don’t wear underwear under cycling shorts, so peeing in them is easier. Make sure you read the article about underwear in women’s cycling.

The technique of peeing with shorts on

It’s much harder for women to pee in a full cycling kit than for men, especially if they choose not to wear a bra and risk exposing the bare chest when removing the bib shorts. While men have ‘the pipe,’ which allows them to pee without any problems, ladies are not so lucky. They had to come up with their own technique.

Women pee through trouser legs. You grab it from the inside with two hands, one at the front and one behind the back, and pull it as far toward the other leg as possible. That creates a gap big enough to pee through without getting yourself wet.

One hand at the front, one at the back.

You must crouch a little before you start peeing. If you pee standing up, you’ll wet yourself, as will also be the case if you crouch all the way down. Every woman must find the correct crouch position herself.

This technique is also helpful as it allows women to pee without showing too much skin. The fact is that women are still sexualized, and any public undressing might be seen much differently than intended.

Can you pee with leg warmers on?

Peeing frequency increases when the temperature drops. Less sweating and a different body process force you to answer nature’s call more often.

When lower temperatures hit outside, cyclists protect themselves from cold with leg warmers. When peeing, they present a hazard but should stay dry if the technique is used correctly.

Leg warmers extend from mid-thigh to the middle of the lower leg. Pee-wise, the upper part is in greater danger, so I recommend lowering it a bit when you’re doing your business.

Pee with leg warmers on only if you used this technique a few times previously.

Removing them altogether is not necessary if you have previous experiences with peeing through shorts. For those who will try it for the first time, I highly suggest removing leg warmers. If something goes wrong and they become wet, not only will they no longer keep you warm, but they will even cool you down.

If you want to learn how to pee with shorts on, start learning in summer when you can flush out unsuccessful attempts with water. It’s not a problem even if you’re wet afterward, as the fabric will dry fast.


Pro cyclists have to learn to pee without spending too much time undressing. On most women’s races, you won’t see a single rider stopping on the side of the road to empty the bladder, as races are short enough to enable riders to hold it in until the finish.

Stepping off the bike to pee can result in losing connection to the leading group, and if the speed up front is high, catching back might not be possible. Picking the right time to answer nature’s call is a skill a rider must develop.

Women developed a special technique of peeing with shorts on that helps them speed up the process and stay in the battle for the win, even if nature calls.

Luka Stular

Hi, my name is Luka. I fell in love with cycling back in 2014 when I broke my leg in the summer. The peak of my day was watching Tour de France, and soon I was hooked. Later I bought my first road bike, and now we're here.

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