The more experienced you get cycling, you will hopefully get the opportunity to go on some longer organized rides. They might be for charity like the Pan Mass Challenge, a local cycling club, or even just a group of friends. And as you do, one of the things you’ll start to hear is comments like, “is there SAG for this ride?” or “We’re doing a double century. my wife will SAG for us”.
Typically “sag” is not something you want. For example when it comes to pants, roofs, and br…uh…bridges.
But in this context, SAG is a good thing. It stands for Support And Gear. It’s that car that drives around full of tools, food, first aid, and even replacement bikes on the more serious rides.
I’ve done lots of rides where the yellow Mavic SAG cars are driving around looking for mechanicals and flats. These guys are life savers. or at least ride-savers.
Supported rides are expensive, and I’ve backed off from doing the organized rides in favor of being out with a handful of friends, and relying on our own ability to resolve any problem that comes up. Flats are nothing. Sidewall tears can be fixed with a ‘boot’. We’ve dealt with broken chains, spokes, blown cassettes, even broken seats repaired with cobbled together, non-critical parts of each others’ bikes.
These are all good things to know how to take care of without support.
What’s the strangest mechanical issue that you’ve had and were able to fix yourself?
I suppose the strangest fix I’ve ever done was using an old water hose in place of an inner tube. When I was a kid, I traded bikes with one of my cousins — he had an “English Racer”. Not sure what style of cycle it would be called today, but back in the good ol’ days that’s what we called them, and every kid wanted one. This one was the real deal too(or at least I thought so), with those paper thin skinny tires that were ALWAYS going flat; and the tubes for those things were $1.25 a pop at TG&Y and Western Auto!! Hey, don’t laugh — that was 45 coke bottles deposits back then, and Mr. Mac only paid 2 cents a bag to bag ice for him, or if I could find a yard to mow, or hay to haul, I could hack out $2 in a couple of hours. Therefore, when the tubes blew out, or they were nothing but a collage of patches, I found that a length of standard 5/8″ garden hose would fit right into the caseing. Thus, reserving my hard earned money for the finer things — like Frosty Root Beer, Moon Pies, and Chick-O-sticks (HAHA!). Only one problem though; the vinyl hose was harder than the rubber in the tires, so it eventually wore a hole in the tire, and of course a water hose doesn’t have the same ability to adhere to the road like rubber does — high speed turns were NOT advisable.