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  1. #1
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    Touring with a Sachs Motor

    Just thought I'd drop in to find out if anyone else out there in the touring world uses a Sachs motor. My partner and I have never come across anyone else touring with these motors even though we've ridden 60,000 kms throughout Australia, the US and Canada.

    It all started in 1991 when we toured on ordinary bikes in Victoria. We were hooked, except the headwinds were soul destroying. Hills are OK; you can get off and walk, and there's always the downhill to look forward to. But headwinds! I vowed after that trip that on my next tour I'd go free-style: wherever the wind blew, that was my direction. Or I'd get a motor.

    And they're great. Cruise at about 20km/h, maximum about 25. On one of our trips we cycled from Spartanburg, SC, to Las Vegas on about 10 gallons of fuel each. On average I suppose we provide about half the energy from pedalling. A strong heart beat feels good, but if we start to work up a sweat, on comes the motor.

    See, we're not out to prove anything. We've met the trans-USA cyclists in Montana who by midday had already clocked up 100 miles with a tailwind. Up at dawn and ride till dusk for the six weeks or so it takes them to cross from Portland to Portland. 100 miles typically takes us two or three days. We tour for four to six months at a time and we're not out to bust ourselves. We simply enjoy travelling. I'd prefer horseback really but you have to look after them and can't take them on buses/planes/trains. So our second choice was bicycles.

    Back to Montana. Two things I remember: the ferocious headwinds for 500 miles (we were travelling west and gave thanks to our motors several times a day); and a friend who joined us from Tasmania just before we crossed the Highway to the Sun in Glacier National Park. When we met again back home he showed us his stats: his average daily distance when he rode with us for two weeks was 74km. When he headed off on his own for the last week, that climbed to 136km. But he did say it was full on then, and he 'had no time to stand and stare'.

    Our motors also allow us to go places where it would be a real pain without them. Coming out of Death Valley there is a long, gradual 28km haul which would have been simply an unpleasant 4-5 hours slog without our motors. As it was, we got to the top in a couple of hours of firm pedalling, spent a few more hours to climb a 10,000 foot peak overlooking the valley, then freewheeled down the other side for the longest I have every gone without pedalling: 33 km.

    I look on the fuel we have to carry as taking away the numbing boredom of hills and headwinds. Each litre of fuel is also equivalent to about 5 litres of water - sweat that we don't lose. That aspect has an added bonus: we can be self sufficient in food and water for five days, and so can go where very few bikes have gone before. For instance, beside the railway line from Kalgoorlie (Western Australia) across the Nullabor - four weeks without seeing another vehicle except for a few trains.

    For us, having the motor doesn't detract from the cycling experience as it allows us to go places we wouldn't go otherwise. And if we want to pedal, we pedal.

    Anyway, does anyone else out there tour this way, or know anyone who does?

  2. #2
    Quietly Desperate Kodama's Avatar
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    Take it to the motorcycling forum pal.
    "The true traveller is without goal, it is the absence of goals which creates the ultimate traveller."
    - Gao Xingjian 'Soul Mountain'

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kodama
    Take it to the motorcycling forum pal.
    Knew that was going to happen. This forum is populated by tourists of the purist mindset, myself among them. I think a lot of people here appreciate the challenge of getting somewhere under their own power, and will rightfully scoff at a motorized experience.
    That said, do whatever makes you happy, but don't expect the respect and admiration of those who aren't afraid of the "burn".
    Go big.

  4. #4
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    Just don't try and compare or catagorize the two together, you know. Think of it like mediums of art, one is no better than the other and the only real guage of enjoyment is personal at best, and not applicable to generalization.

    To me, I don't think of it terms of miles per day or whats behind me, but how much I'm enjoying myself. I will push myself for a destination, but not to keep a milage count. The important part about bicycle touring that is that you travel and do it in the most enjoyable way to yourself. These are my values.

    Have fun and enjoy the long road!

    James "Dio Rallen" Schiffer
    diorallen@gmail.com
    www.thisendlessroad.com

  5. #5
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    If you enjoy it, thats all that counts. Happy touring to you.

  6. #6
    Older I get, Better I was velonomad's Avatar
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    I have ridden across the US twice on a bicycle, 3 times in a plane , 6 or 7 times in a car and hitchhiked once. The only thing left is a by foot, on a boat (which I haven't finished yet) and on a moped,
    Last summer I met a couple who rode thier 50 cc mopeds from Burbank Ca. to Boston Ma. they spent 62 days on thier mopeds meandering thier way across the country. they camped nearly every night and had a great time. I could see myself doing that.

    check out thiis moped touring group , gotta love the trailer
    http://www.ministry-mc.nu/images/nor...des/moped1.jpg

  7. #7
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Aussie:
    If you're having fun, do it!

  8. #8
    Cheesmonger Extraordinair natelutkjohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Burns
    I look on the fuel we have to carry as taking away the numbing boredom of hills and headwinds.
    Those are really the most interesting parts of touring (to me at least, not the funnest mind you, but the most intersting), when else do you travel slower then you can walk? And see things you would never see on a regular bike ride?

  9. #9
    Quietly Desperate Kodama's Avatar
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    I suppose I should clarify a bit. Touring by motorcycle is perfectly valid, it may not be a choice that I would make but whatever gets people out and about. However this is a bicycling forum and I have no doubts that on the wider internets there are plenty of forums for those who travel by motor.
    "The true traveller is without goal, it is the absence of goals which creates the ultimate traveller."
    - Gao Xingjian 'Soul Mountain'

  10. #10
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    Hey, this is a bicycle I'm talking about. When I want Schwalbe Marathons I go to a bike shop. My light is a bicycle light, my panniers are bicycle panniers. From a distance it looks like a bike. It's got handlebars, 15 gears, Shimano derailiers. It's a b-i -c-y-c-l-e. It just happens to have a sixteenth gear: M (for motor). If we're riding in a city with a lot of traffic noise, the only way I can tell if the motor's on - if it does happen to be on which is less than half the time - is by the slight vibration. I can't hear the motor over city traffic. A pedestrian, or fellow cyclist, wouldn't hear it on a country road more than 30 metres away.

    Many a time we been filling up with gas (all of 0.5 gallon) and the attendant will come over a jokingly say: "I suppose you want to fill her up with gas" expecting us to say we want air or something. Their look of surprise when they DO see our motor is always worth from us: 'Yeah, we've got 30cc, 1/4 HP, of raw, throbbing power back there'.

    We pulled up in Reno after 5 months touring and there happened to be a convention of several thousand REAL motor cyclists in town. So we parked right amongst them. Got quite a few interested looks and questions. But we would never be accepted as motor cyclists. Now some of the cyclists don't want us. Looks like we're all alone. Which was why I posted the question. Has no one ever seen a bicycle tourer with a Sachs motor? Maybe we're unique.

    Thanks to those who gently acknowledged that enjoyment should be the prime consideration.

    Guy Burns

  11. #11
    Ride em all Gtscottie's Avatar
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    Hey I say get out and tour on what ever fills your boots but don't call an apple an orange. If you put a motor on a bicycle it becomes a motorized bicycle...Motorbike for short. If you put a motor on a glider is it still a glider or a motorized airplane.
    If you can't learn to do something well...Learn to enjoy doing it poorly

  12. #12
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    Gtscottie, the thing is that even with such a motor people still have to use their legs... Althouh I never tried a bike with this kind on machine on, I believe many unfit/older people would get back on two wheels if their bike wer equiped as such... I can definetly see my mom enjoying her bike much more and even go on small tours...

    Personaly, I don't see why we should be so strict on our definitions of what truly is bicycle touring here... and my bet is that we can learn a lot from people doing what we might consider different activities.

    I have never met anyone touring with a small motor on their bike but have seen quite a lot of people commuting to work with electric bikes... in my view that is much better than an SUV ;-)

  13. #13
    Member Wheely's Avatar
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    I tend to agree with magic tofu here....If the small motor is all it takes for someone to get out and exercise a little then so be it....that would still be better then no exercise at all

  14. #14
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    1/3 horsepower equals 186 Watts, pretty impressive . . . would more or less double the power output of your average tourist. Pretty cool.

    I would never use one though. Part of the cycle touring experience for me is the sound of the tires on the road, the wind and the wildlife around you and nothing else. Knowing that you are travelling the land while leaving the smallest possible impact, non polluting and self sufficient with just food and water. Having a motor would lessen the experience for me in many ways.

  15. #15
    Quietly Desperate Kodama's Avatar
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    So I ask all of you, when you see comments in the threads from Guy Burns regarding traveling (not equipment or camping or what have you) do you have any second thoughts regarding it's applicability to your potential tour?
    "The true traveller is without goal, it is the absence of goals which creates the ultimate traveller."
    - Gao Xingjian 'Soul Mountain'

  16. #16
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    Could you post a picture of your bike?

  17. #17
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    I thought you'd never ask! Do you want a close-up? In the Sonoran Desert near a giant sajuaro cactus? In Labrador with an ice berg just off shore? In the middle of the Nullabor where there were just trains, camels, dingoes and us for four weeks? Those lonely, red-dust roads of the Australian outback always make a good photo. I'll see what I can dig up.

    Be back in a few hours.

  18. #18
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    Guy Burns,

    Keep posting. Ignore the idiots.

  19. #19
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scoana
    Ignore the idiots.
    This is a VERY useful everyday advice. Here's a couple more: keep this thread civil, do not resort to personal insults or harrasment. See the Forum Guidelines for details. Thank you.

    --Juha, a Forum Mod
    To err is human. To moo is bovine.

    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


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  20. #20
    Evil Genius capsicum's Avatar
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    I toured around the western US on a Yamaha XT 250; 5000 miles, 30 days, 3 festivals(only the first was on the original plan), 90miles to the gallon, 35MPH. Fun and I saved as much in food as I spent in fuel and never felt like I was being run off the road.
    (The festival were: Gorge games for 3 days, gilroy garlic one day, and Stugis bike week sunday to sunday). However, I get some parts from an auto parts store so does that make it a car or less of a motorbike? I could call it a bi cycle as it has two wheels. but with pedal assist, hmm, call it a hybrid or a moped or just a good ol' freak.
    The whizzer rocked once, why not again?
    "Data is not the plural form of annecdote."
    "yuo ned to be deadurcated"

  21. #21
    Older I get, Better I was velonomad's Avatar
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    Say you what you will about motorcycles but when my Chain broke 30 miles from home yeaterday I was passed by 4 Lance wannbes who never slowed down or looked back, The two guys who stopped to offer assistance were riding Honda Goldwings.
    I have been of the opinion lately that bicyclists ( at least in my area) are becoming increasing aloof , while I frequently get the left hand salute ( medæval salute of respect between knights)from motorcylists.

  22. #22
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    Well here's some photos that I hope will prove to the sceptics that what I've got is a motorised bicycle, not a motorbike.

    The first shows a close up of the bike today in my backyard in Tasmania. The second is when we were in Labrador in 1997, rode up from SC.

    The third is outback Queensland. Hundreds of kilometres or roads like this. And when you're on them, they're all yours - most of the time.

  23. #23
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    Wow, with 10 litres of water and 3 litres of gasoline (plus all the other gear) I can understand why you would want to have some assistance in pedalling...

    How do you keep the motor from frying your rear left pannier?

    --J
    To err is human. To moo is bovine.

    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by velonomad
    ... while I frequently get the left hand salute ( medæval salute of respect between knights)from motorcylists.
    Heh, when I was riding through the American SW desert I was leapfrogging one day with this group of Harley riders who were stopping at every town to visit the saloon. They all started waving every time they would roar past farther down the road. I sometimes wonder why motorcyclists wave at bicyclists? I mean, c'mon I'm out there busting my butt sweating and moving under my own power and they are sitting on a V-twin motor twiddling their wrist. We have something in common? I consider motorcycles to have far more in common with cars than in common with bicycles. And I used to ride one too.

    More on topic: if it has a motor, it ain't a bicycle. Because really, why stop at 1/3 horse power, you could always go for more . . . I think this thread should be entitled: touring with the world's best gas mileage motorcycle

  25. #25
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    "This is a VERY useful everyday advice. Here's a couple more: keep this thread civil, do not resort to personal insults or harrasment. See the Forum Guidelines for details. Thank you."

    Quite right Juha. Point taken.

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