Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  

Go Back   > >

Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

User Tag List

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 05-08-07, 03:36 PM   #1
The Rock Cycle
Thread Starter
eofelis's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Western Colorado
Bikes: Salsa Vaya Ti, Specialized Ruby, Gunnar Sport, Motobecane Fantom CXX, Jamis Dragon, Novara Randonee x2
Posts: 1,673
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Where do you get water?

On long stretches between spots of civilization, where do you get water if you run out?

I've only done a few small tours (but hoping to more this summer) and we have been successful in asking motorists if they have any extra water with them. We have also stopped at houses and asked.

One time in a "remote" area on Hwy 92 between Gunnison and Montrose, CO we had to camp at a rest area overlooking the Morrow Point Reservior. One guy gave us a gallon of water, explaining that someone had helped him out when his vehicle broke down a few days ago, and now it was his turn to help someone out.

Another time we were touring in Island in the Sky, Canyonlands National Park, and a guy pulled over and offered us water.

Does anyone take a water filter along?

We want to tour the San Jauns this summer, but we know that some of the water in the area there is affected by mining runoff and may not be worth filtering. It would be heavy to carry a lot of water over those big passes....
Gunnar Sport
Specialized Ruby
Salsa Vaya Ti
Novara Randonee x2
Motobecane Fantom CXX
Jamis Dakar XCR
eofelis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-07, 03:44 PM   #2
Gone, but not forgotten
Shiznaz's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Toronto
Bikes: spicer fixie, Haro BMX, cyclops track, Soma Double Cross, KHS Flite 100
Posts: 4,508
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
well it really really really depends where you are going... if you are taking water from lakes or streams its best to treat it before drinking. You can either boil it for a few minutes, which kills organic stuff, but leaves in chemical and sediment, or you can use water tablets which kill organic matter and neutralizes some chemicals (iirc) but leave in sediment, but aren't really a great idea if you're drinking it consistently over a long period, or there are water filters which range widely in effectiveness and price, and are generally a huge pain to use (you have to keep pumping and pumping and pumping!). If you are in the desert you'll need a large resevoir. If you're in the snow you'll need lots of gas for melting the snow. If you're anywhere near civilization you can ask for water.
Shiznaz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-07, 04:00 PM   #3
...there I was...
bloodhound's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: ...I left Hawaii for this? This is frickin cold!...
Bikes: ...Surly LHT - blue...
Posts: 204
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
This is what I use...

bloodhound is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-07, 09:23 PM   #4
Hooked on Touring
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 2,453
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 94 Post(s)
I've done many tours in extremely remote places -
From the deserts of Arizona and Nevada up to the Northwest Territories and the Yukon.

There are three basic positions on water that have changed over the past twenty years.

1. Most people can drink most natural water without treatment.
2. Flowing water needs to be treated, but campground and town sources are O.K.
3. Even many park and rural water sources fail to meet current water standards.

Regarding #1 -
here is a scholarly article on the incidence of Giardia and the incidence of effects:
The reality is that federal water safety levels permit low levels -
And we all consume them without harm
Thus, water close to a source is most likely O.K.
Regarding #2 -
Flowing water needs to be treated less because of giardia
And more because of cows grazing on public lands - e-coli, bacteria, pesticides, etc.
As water standards have increased, forest service campgrounds and local parks have been forced to cap their wells because they cannot justify the cost to upgrade. This is a real bummer for cyclists. I can't tell you how many campgrounds that used to have drinking water 15 years ago no longer have it.
Regarding #3 -
Even campgrounds that do have water will now have signs saying that it must be boiled. This usually reflects more stringent testing standards - although it can be a localized contamination. Doesn't hurt to ask in town at the forest service or BLM office about water sources - and if restricted - the nature of the problem. I've had rangers tell me that one test all summer was barely over the limit - a level which was perfectly acceptable in the 1980s.

Of course with any of these situations - the choice rests with you.

As for treating water -

The best treatment is:
1. A water filter - Katadyn Hiker - lightweight and easy to use. Best taste.
2. Boiling - but you have to let it cool overnight - wastes a lot of fuel.
3. Iodine tablets - tastes yucky - good for emergencies -
take a couple of packe of lemonade to cover the taste.

Remember that cow tanks are a great emergency source of water -
Look for the windmills - if it's public land, it's fine to go out to them -
BUT - make sure to reclose any and all gates!!!
No - you don't drink from the cow tank -
You get water from the outlet pipe as the windmill is pumping it up the well.
I have had some of the coolest, sweetest water at cow tanks.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Red_Desert.jpg (72.4 KB, 41 views)
jamawani is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-07, 09:28 AM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2006
Location: The Hague, Netherlands
Bikes: Two Robin Mather custom built tourers
Posts: 549
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
It totally depends on where you are travelling. Taps and fountains with drinking water are very common in France, Spain and Portugal and in Morocco there are lots of wells. You may want to take precaution with the wells, but mostly if we saw a lot of people collecting water there we didn't worry. Local people will quickly tell you if water is not good! We do have a water filter for emergencies but rarely use it. Unless you are really out in the middle of nowhere there is almost always someone to ask. I would not hesitate to ask someone for water from their home if I was really in need. Have only needed to do that once though.
avatarworf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-11-07, 02:26 PM   #6
as you wish, skeletor.
ephemeralskin's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Freiburg, Deutschland
Posts: 753
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
someone post a link to the gravity-based water filter. no pumping! its just a big bag and you only gotta hang it up and wait.
ephemeralskin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-11-07, 03:45 PM   #7
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 137
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
If you think that you may need to get water from sources other than a water tap, then I recommend bringing along some treatment.

For the occassional use, Katadyn MicroPur tablets or Polar Pur are lightweight and work just fine. Like all chemicals, just wait 30 minutes or so before drinking.
Peaks is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:07 AM.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.
  • Ask a Question
    get answers from real people!
Click to start entering your question.