Living Car Free - Touring with a Sag Vehicle
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08-21-06, 02:33 PM
Three weeks ago, I did a self-sufficient 500-mile tour. I carried my sleeping bag, tent, clothing, food and water. It was a lot of fun. This past weekend, I rode a 250-mile tour with a group who was driving to Granby, CO, and rode with them in a round-about way to Walden and back. I rode to the departure spot, so all my stuff was packed on my bicycle. One other rider did the same.
Everybody else packed coolers, large tents, sleeping pads, multiple changes of clothing, and bags of groceries. Most of them rode light road bikes, that could carry very little. I put my tent and sleeping bag in the vehicle, but carried everything else.
I have mixed feelings about the Sag vehicle. It's great that it gets a lot of people out cycling. It's also nice, in that it can take you to a destination that might take days or weeks to bicycle (besides the Sagger, this took 2 additional vehicles for the ten riders). And, it can be used in case of an injury or accident. But somehow, it just seems to defeat the purpose of the trip for me.
Despite the fact that I had a loaded-down heavy bike, for the most part, I was able to keep up with most of the riders. This is probably due to conditioning from my 20 years of commuting. Anybody else have these mixed feelings about these kind of trips?
08-21-06, 03:57 PM
I have toured with sag and self sufficient. Both were fun.
The reasons I favor sag. On a week long tour, I find it difficult to part with my stuff. I like creature comforts, such as enough clothes for a variety of activities. And I very much appreciate not necessarily having to string clothes within your tent and pray they dry out in time.
Plus, I like the feel of a bike not ladden with excess pounds. Purists, I ride with felt this cheating. Getting out there and being self sufficent being a test of bike fitness.
Overall, I like knowing my favorite bottle of Vouvray is in my cooler awaiting at the camp site, instead of drinking Old Milwaukee because that's all the camp store has in the fridge.
To me riding with sag vehicles is no fun. Half of the fun comes from the feeling of freedom and self-sufficiency: something that cannot really be had with a supporting vehicle.
I don't envision myself ever touring with a carload full of stuff. If I need it, I haul it.
(I also wouldn't ever drive to ride... But then, fly to ride, as in "a tour of Europe" - well, that's a different matter. :))
08-21-06, 08:20 PM
I've done a couple of luxury B&B sag supported tours. I found them very relaxing since everything is taken care of and all one has to do is enjoy a day of riding.
But I do remember the burst of freedom that I felt as kid when I began riding a bike. For the first time I could venture to parts of town on my own without being tethered to a parent (or a car). I think self supported touring recaptures that feeling.
I am particularly intrigued by the idea of free camping largely due to this man: Ken Kifer (http://www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/). His early death is an enduring tragedy and I miss his viewpoint on many of cycling issues.
08-22-06, 01:28 AM
To me just riding renders a sense of freedom. So whether sag or self-sufficient is not a critical question. I enjoy both. IT is just after a 100 mile day ride, why not pamper yourself. Same question as to whether we stay at the Hilton or Motel 6.
I will say the effect of 50 pounds swaying from panniers made me feel less 'bike steady.' And having to repair flats but first unload your panniers; I did not like that.
...instead of drinking Old Milwaukee because that's all the camp store has in the fridge.
Camp store? What camp store? You mean you don't camp in the wilderness? :)
I too like the sense of independence in a self-supported tour. I have done a bit of B&B touring (no SAG) and I suppose it would not be that much more difficult to search for accommodation than it is to search for a nice spot to camp. What is nice about B&B touring is the amount of stuff you can leave home. B&Bs are not necessarily readily available around here, so it takes a bit more forward planning and may restrict route choices.
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