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Old 09-26-08, 12:42 PM   #1
croscoe
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Getting water without permission.

Hello all. Is it generally frowned upon to get water from churches or public buildings without asking? I usually stop at churches if I see a spigot on the front or sides of the building to fill my bottles. Just curious if anyone else does this or if anyone has been hassled for doing this.
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Old 09-26-08, 12:44 PM   #2
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Never had a problem doing that.
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Old 09-26-08, 12:50 PM   #3
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We've taken it even a step further. We were out on a ride one day and came across a bridge under construction. Rather than turn back, we decided we could just push the tandem through the gully underneath. Unfortunately, the water they were sprinkling the bridge deck with had made the other slope horribly muddy...we had it ankle deep and over the rims of the bike before we got out of it. Stopped at a little country church and used their spigot and hose to spray down our shoes, socks, legs, and the bike!

I'm sure nobody minded.
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Old 09-26-08, 01:23 PM   #4
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*playfully* Ooo ooo, I know the answer to this one! "No," it's usually not a problem. Churches are usually pretty charitable. I mean they are Christians and follow in path of Jesus right? Okay, usually. You know, feed the hungry, give water to bikers and all that kind of stuff. On the other hand, I might not want to accidentally consume their holy water or worse, risk getting converted.

As for public buildings... they are public, right? I've never had a problem with getting water from them and in fact have even used their washroom facilities for other important business.
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Old 09-26-08, 01:44 PM   #5
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I have been getting water from church and public buildings for YEARS and have never once been denied access. I know if a cyclist where to take some water from my faucet, I would bid them "safe travels"!
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Old 09-26-08, 02:09 PM   #6
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I've stopped at churches twice to fill up water bottles and take advantage of some shade. Both times I've left money in the door. A few years ago I had to stop at a private residence and ask for water (it was a 90 mile day with 95 degree heat and I had stopped sweating). The people were very nice and refused payment. Municipal water costs around 1/10 of a penny for a gallon here so it's not like you're committing some grand larceny.
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Old 09-26-08, 02:21 PM   #7
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Even here in the SF bay area, where things are expensive, tap water costs 1/4 cents per gallon. No one should mind sharing a little water at that rate!
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Old 09-26-08, 04:00 PM   #8
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Wait a sec...it's not the amount of money that's involved but the fact that people here are taking something that they have NOT paid for nor asked for permission to use.
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Old 09-26-08, 05:40 PM   #9
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I've done that a few times ... and was seen doing it by town folk ... and no one said a thing to me.

I have also tried to do that at some buildings, and have discovered that they put a little cage around the tap with a lock so I could not. I guess if they have a problem with people coming by and using a little bit of their water, that's the solution.
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Old 09-26-08, 05:48 PM   #10
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'Holy Water'?
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Old 09-26-08, 05:53 PM   #11
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When taking water, ask if there's somebody to ask, even if you know the answer will be yes. You needn't search the premises, just knock on the nearest door. They'll be glad you asked, will not turn you down, and you'll do all future cyclo-tourists a favor, by enhancing our reputation as considerate folk.
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Old 09-26-08, 05:55 PM   #12
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when taking water, ask if there's somebody to ask, even if you know the answer will be yes. You needn't search the premises, just knock on the nearest door. They'll be glad you asked, will not turn you down, and you'll do all future cyclo-tourists a favor, by enhancing our reputation as considerate folk.
+1
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Old 09-26-08, 06:04 PM   #13
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Wait a sec...it's not the amount of money that's involved but the fact that people here are taking something that they have NOT paid for nor asked for permission to use.
Anyone who would expect payment for a quart of tap water (1/16 of the penny max) is a total *******. Where I grew up, people shared much more than that without question.
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Old 09-26-08, 06:13 PM   #14
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Oh yes, absolutely ... if there's someone around, I'll ask. But the places I've usually frequented are those community halls out in the middle of absolutely nowhere. Around here, and in Manitoba, those are fairly common ... you'll be cycling along and won't have seen civilization (or traffic!) for kilometers, and all of a sudden, there's a community hall with a swing set in the yard. Those places have saved me on very hot days!!
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Old 09-26-08, 06:53 PM   #15
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on my cross country trip this summer i routinely got ice and water from the soda fountain machines in gas stations. people were more than happy to help me seeing my loaded bike and sunburned face. this plan didn't work as well once i got to the eastern time zone because us easterners (especially new england) don't seem to keep fountain soda machines at every gas station nor do we seem to be as generous about ice for some reason.

at one point in indiana i was 20 miles from the nearest town and had to stop at a house to take some water from their garden hose. no one was around so i helped myself to the well water. even though i was desperate the well water coming through a garden hose was just awful tasting.
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Old 09-26-08, 07:11 PM   #16
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at one point in indiana i was 20 miles from the nearest town and had to stop at a house to take some water from their garden hose. no one was around so i helped myself to the well water. even though i was desperate the well water coming through a garden hose was just awful tasting.
Which brings up a caution about taking water without knowing it's history. In the prairies "boil water" warnings are a regular occurance in the summer. If you go into a convenience store, restaurant, etc., there's a reasonable chance the people there will tell you not to use the water out of the tap ... but if you roll up to a building and take the water, there won't be any warnings about it. You are taking your chances, and hoping for the best.
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Old 09-26-08, 07:25 PM   #17
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I lived in Montana for 6 years as a kid, drinking from streams and sketchy springs, in the woods and on the sides of roads, never once made me sick; therefor when im out and about and i come across a beautiful roadside spring i dont worry i drink and fill my bottles and its always delicious...
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Old 09-26-08, 07:45 PM   #18
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I lived in Montana for 6 years as a kid, drinking from streams and sketchy springs, in the woods and on the sides of roads, never once made me sick; therefor when im out and about and i come across a beautiful roadside spring i dont worry i drink and fill my bottles and its always delicious...

And I've lived and hiked in the Alberta Rockies since I was a kid ... and drank out of streams, etc. ... and picked up Beaver Fever (officially diagnosed). You just never know.

But prairie water is generally worse than mountain water for many reasons.
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Old 09-26-08, 09:37 PM   #19
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Arizona actually has an ancient law still on the books - you can't legally deny a man a drink of water.

Sometimes that means "hose is over there" and the well water can be horrible, but it beats the options!

I take some time before drinking from springs or creeks - I've looked around and behold, cows are just upstream, or cow pies were planted right at the top of the spring. Giadaria is no fun and filtering, although a royal pain and time consuming and getting us out of the riding game, is still much easier
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Old 09-26-08, 10:12 PM   #20
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I stopped at a church in Del Mar to get a drink of water once. I was still about 30 miles from home, and I had been riding for 7 hours. I was tired, and I wanted to rest. As I walked around the corner looking for a spigot, I saw an open door. I looked inside, and it was a bathroom, but not the kind you find in a public building. There was a toilet, a sink, cupboards, and a tub with a shower fixture. There was also a shower curtain, and two towels hanging from the rack. I started to walk past the bathroom (I badly wanted a shower . . . hot water feels great on achy muscles), but wasn't about to strip down and trespass in that fashion. As I walked away, one of the priests / ministers/ fathers or whatever you call them rounded the corner. "Need a shower?" he asked. "That's what it's there for. We leave it open for people who need to clean up. Sometimes it's the homeless, sometimes it's runaways, sometimes it's surfers, but help yourself. Just put your towel in the hamper and not back on the rack."
I gratefully accepted. Thought it was quite impressive, actually.
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Old 09-26-08, 10:15 PM   #21
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I carry a metal key that fits the Special Spigot valves on buildings like Caseys, gas stations and such. had to use it a few times, but always made sure that I turned it off and did not waste water. its kind of an emergency thing, like if its real late and they are closed.
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Old 09-26-08, 10:19 PM   #22
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I have used churches water and never had an issue. I would always allow a passing cyclist water from my outside taps as well. My father is a minister and I can imagine him or any of his colleagues ever trying to make an issue out of water use by touring cyclists.
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Old 09-26-08, 10:49 PM   #23
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Look at it this way. We roll into town wearing funny clothes and have bags and who knows what else strapped to out bikes. We already look like vagrants even though the value of all of all of our processions probably extends the total family income in many parts of the world. But many of the locals don't know that, to them you are just some strange character that rolled into town.

Why would you give them a reason to believe what they might suspect?

Now if you ask them for water, it is almost certain that they will not deny you. You will get to meet someone new and they will realize you are really a great person with lots of interesting experiences.


Taking water without permission and not paying for it is stealing. It is in the same area of stealth camping on private property. You take the water and you only hurt the next person that comes along. The reason Machka found a cage around a spigot is because too many people were helping themselves.

If you are really need the water, you have made a reasonable attempt to find the owner and there are absolutely no alternatives then that is one thing. it would probably be OK to take the water, for a church or a private residence, why not just leave a note of thanks and a dollar or two?

I guess I would have less of a problem with a government building. Leaving money there would probably through their books into some kind of tizzy but you could still leave a note.

Cycle tourists should use the backpackers golden rule, take only your memories, leave only your footprints. In our case tire tracks.

Remember, you are only hurting the next person by just helping yourself to something that does not belong to you.

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Old 09-26-08, 11:05 PM   #24
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In northern Italy, there are public drinking water fountains everywhere! Some that are flowing continuously!

The towns people often come to the fountains with a box full of empty bottles to stock up at home.
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Old 09-27-08, 05:51 AM   #25
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I'm bewildered by the replies to this thread?? Who in the world would begrudge anyone a small amount of water, especially a church building! Stealing? I have a spiggot in my front yard, if I where lucky enough to have a cyclist stop for a drink just share a story. Heck the only cyclotourist I have ever encountered in my town was fed breakfast, then I rode my bike 30 miles across the county with them so they wouldn't have to ride on a busy 4 lane highway.

Any church that would hassel you over a little water has much larger problems to deal with!
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