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?