This is why we do not serve bottled water on any of our rides:
TRASH -- bottled water makes a huge amount of extra trash, which is bad for all of us. Yes, it can be recycled, but that’s hard to do properly when we’re on the road.
SAFETY -- I have pedaled in wonderful countries such as Thailand and Indonesia where EVERYONE buys bottled water, even poor people, because the tap water there is not intended for drinking. (It’s for washing and farming. You can drink it only if you boil it first.)
In most of the U.S. all we have to do is turn a knob and we can drink clean safe water that comes right out of the faucet. Our friends in other countries would be astonished by this luxury. Think about how lucky and rich we are.
BOGUS -- leading water brands including Dasani and Aquafina readily admit (if asked) that they fill their bottles with... uh... regular tap water.
The same tap water that we serve.
Those brands state on their labels that the source of their water is “PWS” which stands for “Public Water Supply” (No, this is not some wacky conspiracy theory -- it’s the plain ol’ truth.)
“FREE” BOTTLED WATER -- We often hear from an excited person who tells us that they have found a way to get bottled water donated to us for FREE. Here’s how that deal goes down:
I pay to rent warehouse space to hold the “free” water.
The water company’s truck shows up, and yours truly has to unload many cases of water, which weigh a ton. (As mom used to recite in her schoolgirl days, “A pint is a pound, the world around”...) Somehow I usually wind up doing this unloading alone, which isn’t really all that much fun.
It’s almost ride day. So I take all that water I just unloaded and move it all again, putting it in our supply trucks.
Drive the supply trucks to their destinations. Unload all of those heavy cases of water.
Quick! There’s too much water in one location; not enough somewhere else. (This ALWAYS happens!) Load some of the water back in a truck. Rush it to a different location. Unload again.
Of course this violates Glen’s #1 Tour Director Rule:
Never (never!) try to move food or gear to a new location once the ride starts. It sounds so simple, but it just doesn’t work.
The ride is over. We have a mountain of empty plastic bottles and nowhere to recycle them properly at the firehouse/park/church where our rest stop is located.
Take a truck and re-load all of the leftover water. Drive it to the rented warehouse.
Unload it all again -- this is now the seventh time I’ve moved the same heavy cases of water.
Pay to rent the warehouse space for another year to hold the “free” water.
SO... we don’t serve bottled water. If you want to purchase it along the route or bring it with you that’s absolutely fine -- it’s just not our thing.
Our S.A.G. vans usually carry some bottled water for use in emergencies -- in case we find a dehydrated rider by the side of the road. (That’s never actually happened, but we do like to be prepared.)