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LOOP-Participant-GUIDE
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MVBC Loop Tour - PARTICIPANT GUIDE

Alex Vincent, 2/26/2024

Ted and Ellen riding along Upper Klamath Lake

INTRODUCTION

The Mid-Valley Bicycle Club (MVBC) Loop Tour (www.looptour.org) is an annual 9-day cycling & camping tour sponsored by the Mid-Valley Bicycle Club somewhere in the Pacific Northwest, usually Oregon. MVBC held its first Loop Tour in 1976 and has offered a tour every year since (except 2021 when COVID restrictions kept us at home). The Loop Tour Committee (from here on referred to as LTC) plans the tours.  

MVBC offers Loop Tour TWICE each summer over the same route: Loop 1 typically starts in late June while Loop 2 typically starts in late July. It occurs over a nine-day period starting on a Saturday and ending on Sunday of the following weekend.

Currently, loop tours are limited to 41-43 riders and have two SAG vehicles. Riders may choose to either carry their gear or have it sagged (for an extra cost). The route is typically a 350-450 mile loop with multiple back-to-back days of riding 35 to 85 miles.  Sometimes there is a layover day where there is no required riding.  One must be in good physical condition before the tour begins.

The LTC attempts to space the camping at reasonable distances, travel roads both scenic as well as safe, and introduce folks to scenic areas while still availing of desirable services. Routes may be “recycled” over the years or augmented and updated. Some segments of the route may be close to ample comfort services, such as restaurants, full-service campgrounds, and supermarkets, while other segments may require two to three days away from all services. You should plan and prepare. The LTC will send the exact route, information on services, and daily directions to participants in sufficient time prior to the start of the trip.

The Loop Tour is only open to current MVBC members.  If you are not already an MVBC member, it is easy to join.  Please go to join.mvbc.com.  

This document (guide.looptour.org) is a general guide for all loop tours.  It provides an overview and information you will need to consider or plan for participation.  It also includes brief descriptions of the abilities, training, and equipment that are prerequisite to having a successful and enjoyable Loop Tour experience.  For specific information on the current year’s tour, go to MVBC Loop Tour Event Notices (notices.looptour.org).

See references.looptour.org for many useful Loop Tour document references.  Please send questions or suggestions on how to correct or improve this primer to loop@mvbc.com.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

SECTIONS

  1. Values, Expectations & Safety
  2. Preparation
  3. Route & SAG
  4. eBikes
  5. During the Tour
  6. Packing & Food
  7. Dealing with Problems

APPENDIX

  1. Registration & Fees
  2. Resources

Values, Expectations & Safety

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The Mid-Valley Bicycle Club Loop Tour is an activity for its members.  It is a camping and cycling event; it is not a race! The tour provides its participants with a multi-day experience that involves personal endeavor, friendship, and outdoor experience in the beautiful northwestern United States.  MVBC and the LTC hope that this experience will motivate riders to be active, contributing members of the club.

EXPECTATIONS

All riders, sag drivers, and organizers must plan for and participate in such a way that the tour takes place safely and with respect and appreciation for others on the trip and the environment and resources that are utilized.  MVBC has a strong tradition of its members exhibiting responsible, respectful, and safe behaviors. The leadership of MVBC requests that you uphold this tradition by abiding by regulations while on the road and at the camping areas and leaving the area in better condition than when you arrived. The LTC expects that each member be accepting, kind, and respectful to other riders and people who are encountered on the trip. Safe riding is of utmost importance; riders must make safe riding decisions and exhibit safe riding techniques (see below). The LTC may direct riders who choose not to meet these expectations to leave the ride.  Such riders may forfeit their right to join future sponsored rides.

RESOURCES

The Northwest Region of the United States offers some of the most beautiful cycling terrain in the world.  Tour participants camp in parks, school grounds and other locations.  In some cases, local individuals, organizations or groups help to provide food or camping services.  Please respect and make safe and responsible use of these resources.

RIDING SAFETY

Preparation

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First, read this guide and think about your capabilities, both current and realistically achievable. Talk with people who have been on at least one and, preferably, several Loop Tours.

Do some rides with a load.  Legend has it that in the early days one was expected to demonstrate readiness by riding up Mary’s Peak with a full load.  While this is no longer a requirement, it is a good, guiding concept.  Many experienced Loop Tourists start riding several months before Loop Tour; during the last month before the tour, they can often be seen carrying panniers with increasing loads.  

Consider participating in a pre-Loop Tour ‘shakedown’ camping trip.  MVBC no longer organizes such a trip (one or two nights), but sometimes individual Loop Tour participants will loosely organize an overnight trip.  It is a great way to test your readiness while there is still time to address any issues that may arise.

How do I find out the specifics of the tour?

Before you register, you may go to these links to get information:

After you have registered, you will receive an email with links to the documents for the ride.  The link is via Google Drive and is usually delivered before the 3rd Monday of May, which is the date of the monthly MVBC meeting.  The club meeting is devoted to the summer tour.   Please make every effort to attend this meeting. You may print the information on the link or use your electronic device to transmit it - or a combination of both strategies.

How do I get to the Start of the Ride?

You are responsible for arranging to get to the start of the tour.  For tours a significant distance from Corvallis, the LTC may arrange for a group rate at a hotel and suggest camping options for Friday night.  Included with the electronic tour information will be a list of participants with contact information.  The Committee hopes that you will use this information to set up carpooling and cook groups.  There will be time designated at the MVBC May meeting for participants to arrange carpooling.

eBikes

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Loop Tour welcomes eBike riders, however, the rider is responsible for keeping their eBike charged. No special arrangements will be made by the Loop Tour Committee for charging.  The tour will not supply a generator for battery charging or guarantee charging facilities at camp sites. Past e-Bike Loopers have used the following strategies:  packed a spare battery, made arrangements with campgrounds ahead of time for charging at RV sites or campground offices, and stayed at motels, lodges, or other nearby facilities as needed and charged their batteries at these accommodations.

Route & SAG

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What is the route?

Each year the route for the coming summer has traditionally been announced at the November MVBC annual dinner meeting.  The LTC may use a previously ridden route, revise this ‘old’ route, or design a new route.  While most routes are in Oregon, the tour has gone to Washington, Idaho, Montana, and California. A ‘loop’ tour means that the route begins and ends in the same location.    In 2017, MVBC did its first ‘strip trip’.   The route for this trip began in Klamath Falls and ended in Corvallis/Albany thus riding a ‘strip’ of Oregon.  Several riders took Amtrak to Klamath Falls.

Do I have to carry my own gear?

Some riders carry all of their own gear on their bicycles, and initially all riders on Loop Tour carried their gear.   The club may have some racks and panniers available for rent to allow people to get some experience before investing in their own equipment.  Contact the LTC if you are interested in renting panniers (loop@mvbc.com).  

The club added SAG support (Support and Gear) to enable more people to participate, particularly older folks and young children. This intention of sagging was primarily to allow less-strong riders to ride at a pace similar to loaded riders.  At first this service was free, then seniors and children paid a discounted rate. As more and more riders have chosen this option, the cost of the service has increased.  There is no adjusted fee for sagging only part of your gear.

The LTC encourages you to carry your own gear if you are able – and most all riders are able.  You will enjoy the feeling of being self-sufficient.  Consider the following when choosing to sag your gear:

Because the number of riders who choose to sag their gear has increased through the years, the tour now uses a rental truck for this service.  Besides increasing the cost of the tour, the truck size sometimes limits the availability of sag support on route, as the rental truck is not as maneuverable as a smaller vehicle.  Riders must be aware of this and not depend on the SAG for water or food.  

The LTC has periodically considered offering one tour with no sag vehicle.  This may not be the best thing for a first time bicycle tourist.  Be sure to verify that the tour you sign up for is the right one for you.

What can I have sagged?

Some people carry a portion of their gear, others have everything sagged except for what they carry for the day.  The general rule is that the sag vehicle will carry only the amount of gear that a rider would carry on a bicycle, so multi-burner stoves, giant tents and other car-camping paraphernalia are not appropriate for an individual.  Whether for an individual or a family, it is important that riders pack in waterproof, soft sided, pannier-sized bags; large duffel bags are not appropriate.  Weigh your bags; they should be no more than 20 pounds each.  Each bag must have a name tag attached, both to avoid confusion with other people’s gear and for quick identification in an emergency.  The tag must include name, address, and cell phone number.  The sag driver has the authority to determine what is sagged. Riders with unusual situations must communicate with the sag driver at least a week in advance of the tour. The LTC will communicate to riders when, where, and how gear will be delivered to the sag driver to start the tour.

Gear will get wet, dirty, and tossed about, regardless of how carefully everyone handles the gear. Riders cannot expect special treatment of fragile items, such as laptops.  Pack such items very carefully, or, better yet, leave them at home.  Enclose moisture-sensitive items in an extra, Ziploc bag.

What happens if during the day I need something that is being sagged?

You may quite possibly be out of luck. Once loaded on the SAG vehicle, gear is essentially unavailable until unloaded at the next camp site. If you left your wallet in the tent, don’t expect the SAG driver to unload for you to find it.

Each day riders must carry what they need that day.  This includes water (at least 2 bottles), change-of-weather clothing, medical needs (sunscreen), tools, spare parts, camera, snacks (maybe even a complete lunch, depending on the route), money, etc.  Similarly, if you purchase something during the day (e.g. food for dinner), you should anticipate carrying that to camp.  It may be possible to make other arrangements with the sag driver.  The key is to talk to the sag driver ahead of time but keep in mind that SAG vehicles waiting at a store are not on the road, helping riders.

During the Tour

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What should I expect of the SAG driver and vehicle?

The sag drivers are not paid; they volunteer their time to help make your Loop Tour safe and enjoyable. Your registration fees contribute to their reimbursement for fuel, supplies, some food, and vehicle ‘wear and tear’,  but they donate their time and pay for some of their food. The sag drivers may not be on the LTC, so they may not know everything about the tour or be in a position to make a decision.

The SAG drivers try to look out for conditions that might affect the general welfare of the group, and riders rely on the driver’s judgment to deal with many unique situations that arise. The sag driver will attempt to deal with emergencies in the best way possible at the time. Sag drivers are typically not EMT’s or even first aid certified. In case of injury or serious illness, they will make a reasonable effort to transport the affected tour participant to nearby facilities, if available. In addition to transporting some gear, they also acquire sites that do not take reservations. The personal convenience of individual riders takes a lower priority to these responsibilities.

The sag vehicle is not there to sweep the route and provide rides to weary riders.  It is your responsibility to plan, prepare, ride sensibly, and get to the campground on your own human-powered vehicle.

Sag drivers are not omniscient and can easily mistake a ‘please stop’ wave for a ‘hi there’. Give a ‘thumbs down’ signal with your fist high in the air if you need the driver to stop. Keep in mind that whether or not the drivers stop will depend on whether they actually see the signal and whether or not there is a safe place to stop. Driving the vehicle safely is first priority. 

The SAG drivers are not your valets, but they are in charge of organizing the truck.   You are to deliver bags to the sag vehicles promptly, load your gear as per instructions by the driver, and assist in unloading gear as per instructions from the driver.

Carrying gear from campground to campground for those who have made such arrangements is secondary to dealing with emergencies.  One of the potential problems with having your gear sagged is that an emergency on the part of someone else could result in significant inconvenience to you.  Your gear could end up a hundred miles away in a hospital parking lot. 

The sag vehicle carries water including extra water to ‘dry’ campgrounds.  On a daily basis, the sag driver carries a floor pump, an assortment of tools, some white gas, and a first aid kit.  At the discretion of the sag driver, he/she might provide random mid-ride snacks or water stops, especially on hot days and days with a lot of climbing.  (You should not rely on this except as specifically promised by the sag driver during the tour.)  If you choose to begin riding much earlier in the morning than other riders or enjoy the route and come to camp well after other riders, you cannot expect the sag driver to be at your beck-and-call.

The sag vehicles usually carry an assortment of beverages with an honor-payment system established to cover costs.   The sag vehicles also carry coolers for temporary food storage.  The section on Packing and Food defines the use of these coolers in more detail.  Maintaining and monitoring the ‘shared cooler’ can be a real burden for the sag driver.  If you use these ‘shared coolers’ the LTC will ask that you take your turn in monitoring and sanitizing the cooler throughout the tour.  These are the policies for using the ‘shared cooler’:

A portion of the Rider Fee contributes to sag expenses because sag drivers provide the following services for non-sagged riders as well as sagged riders:

* The LTC requests that the rider pay the sag fee if ‘limited’ transportation of the rider and/or gear goes beyond two days. 

NOTE:  Riders who choose to sag only part of their gear will still pay the full sag fee.

For veteran tour participants the SAG drivers are our heroes and heroines. Be reasonable and respectful in your interactions with the drivers. Occasionally treating them to breakfast, lunch, or dinner or including them in your cook group in camp is a nice way to say THANKS!

What if I need to leave the tour before the end?

You must notify the sag driver any time that you are leaving the route, either temporarily or permanently. In the case of a medical emergency, the sag vehicle may transport you from camp to the nearest medical facility.  Once delivered to a medical facility or in any other cases of early departure, you must arrange your own transportation home or back to the tour.  It is wise to arrange for such a plan before you leave for the tour. If you are leaving the tour, do not put the sag driver in an awkward position by asking for a ride off route to meet a bus or ride.  

What if I choose to deviate from the published route?

Usually sag drivers keep track of all riders.  If you choose to take an alternate route, you must contact a sag driver to avoid unnecessary worry and searching.  In addition, you will not have sag support when you are ‘off route’.  Also, contact a sag driver if you are going to be late arriving at camp.

What about mechanical problems?

The best way of dealing with mechanical problems is to avoid them.  Be sure that your bicycle is in good working order before starting the tour.  The LTC and sag drivers cannot guarantee mechanical support, and several of our routes do not pass any bike shops.  It is entirely possible that a minor problem could interrupt your ride.  At the very least, you should always carry the parts and tools needed for on-the-road tire  tire repairs.  Having said this, a good number of MVBC riders are bike-tech savvy and more than willing to help solve a mechanical problem.  You cannot depend on the help of other riders, but it is entirely possible.

While the sag vehicle carries a pump, some tools and a few spare parts, these will be available on the road only in the random chance that the sag vehicle encounters you after you have the breakdown.  You can only count on using the supplies from the sag vehicle in camp; even then, these tools and parts may or may not meet your specific needs.  You should carry spare parts unique to your bicycle (e.g. long cables for tandems, small tires for recumbents, etc).  

What’s the general daily routine?

Camping is an integral part of Loop Tour, and participants should be comfortable camping and cooking in camp. Most riders will crawl into their sleeping bags between 8:30 and 10 PM because they are tired, and there often isn’t much going on in camp after dinner.  Riders then typically get up around 5:30 to 6:30 AM because the sun is coming up, and they are tired of being in their sleeping bags.  The sag driver carries a propane burner and a large pot for making hot water in the morning.  Setting up the burner and water in the evening and starting it in the morning will be coordinated within the group of interested riders.  If a cafe is nearby, some riders are likely to go there for breakfast.  Even riders who make breakfast in camp are usually on the road no later than 8:30 AM.   (On long, difficult days, camp may empty by 7 AM!)

This is your vacation!  Make the most of your time and choose the strategy that best fits your expectations for the vacation. Some riders race to the next destination so that they can spend time exploring the camping area.  Others may stop at every local historical marker, tourist attraction, or swimming hole. Regardless of your strategy, plan your ride so that you reach camp early enough to set up camp, clean up, wash clothes, and cook or go out to dinner. You may choose to ride with the same friends/family each day, or ride with different people each day.  Maybe you prefer to ride by yourself.  Whatever ‘floats your boat’!  

The Loop Tour Brochure and, to some degree, the route sheets identify services on the tour.  When there are no food options along the route, you must carry your own snacks and lunches.  If there are no restaurants near camp, you probably will plan and purchase provisions for cooking in camp.  Some participants actually enjoy freeze-dried dinners; others regularly demonstrate gourmet-cooking skills.  The LTC arranges for at least one group dinner.  Possibly arrangements are made for other meals.  

Once you arrive at the camping site, the first order is usually to find a place for your tent and set it up.  The Riders Brochure and the Route Sheets will list the reserved camping sites.  When the LTC cannot reserve campgrounds in advance, either early riders or a sag driver will get to the campground early to reserve sites.  Be aware of designated camping spots for the group and share available space.  Please abide by all campground regulations; these will vary from site to site.

The next step on your routine will vary.  Some riders prefer to relax (maybe with a beverage) while others prefer to head to the shower or river/lake to clean up.  There seem to be two philosophies regarding laundry: one is to accumulate a big pile of laundry until we come to a laundromat; the other is to wash everything every night and maybe carry the items to dry on the back of the bike. Either way, plan to carry some laundry supplies in your gear.  Sometimes the route provides a ‘layover’ day, a day in which there is no official riding.  This is a great day to catch up on laundry.

After a shower, the next order of business is dinner, either in camp or to a local restaurant.  After dinner, there is a ‘down’ time used in various ways by riders and sag drivers.  On Day 1 there will always be a required group meeting – very important!!  There may be other called meetings throughout the trip.

The morning routine is simple:  get up (sometimes a challenge), make coffee/tea, eat, pack up, put your gear on the sag (if sagging), check your tires/bike, hit the road.  (Some riders opt out of eating in camp.)

The camaraderie and social scene in camp are as much a highlight of Loop Tour as is the riding and the route.  Certain traditions, events, practices have developed over time.  The LTC leaves these for you to discover en route rather than trying to delineate these in writing.  Loop Tour is an adventure, and the committee has the philosophy that riders should discover some things on their own.  Enjoy the journey and the adventure!

How set is the routine?

People whose gear is being sagged have some constraints in setting up and breaking camp.  You are to attend the meeting in camp on Day 1 as well as other camp meetings.  This document has defined several expectations.  Beyond these constraints, this is your vacation.  Enjoy!

Packing & Food

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What should I bring?

First-timers often bring far too much. How much can you carry up a steep hill into a strong headwind on a hot or inclement day when you are really, REALLY tired?  You can access a sample gear list at packing.looptour.org.  You will modify this list based on the route, expected weather, and personal preferences. Even if you are having your gear sagged, you should consider the possibility of needing to carry your own gear if an emergency arises. Loop Tour IS NOT the time and place to try something new! Make sure you have tried new products before depending on them while on the tour.

This is Oregon; one must be prepared for rain even in the dry season. Snow has been a surprise factor during only a couple of tours; although, very chilly nights are common in the mountains even in August. A good quality rain jacket can double to keep you warm even if it isn’t raining. Getting thoroughly wet can quickly result in hypothermia. Likewise, that rain jacket should help keep the cooling effects of the wind at bay. Evenings can be cool in camp, especially when camping near water or at high elevations. On one tour, we had extreme heat some days, as well as snow at a high elevation camp. Multi-purpose clothing is critical to keeping the bulk and weight of your gear to a reasonable level. It is important to know your own requirements for comfort and bring appropriate items. A pair of silk long underwear can extend the temperature range of your sleeping bag and serve as presentable pajamas. Pants with zip-off legs (convertible pants) provide flexibility in camp. Remember that cotton items will not wick moisture away, and they take forever to dry when washed or soaked from rain.  The high tech materials are best for most conditions. Discuss clothing possibilities with tour veterans or those with backpacking experience.  Loop Tour is not a fashion statement; take only what is practical and multifunctional and wash these items along the way rather than taking multiple sets of clothing.  If you are new to bicycle touring, you will be surprised at how little you need.

Sunny, hot, or windy conditions can be bigger problems than rain. Sunscreen is imperative, as is an ointment to treat sunburn.

What is very difficult to define is the type of bicycle that you should ride.  ‘Go-Fast’ bikes, touring upright bicycles, mountain bikes, tandems, short and long wheel-base recumbents, tricycles - you will see them all.  Gravel bikes are the current craze.  There may be short sections of gravel on the route, but Loop Tour is a paved tour.  Whatever you choose, make sure that it is in excellent running condition before the tour.  Talk to the people in the bike shop about the best tires for your bicycle.  Train on the bike that you will take on tour.  

What about eBikes?  To date, the LTC has not ruled out eBikes.  If that is your mode of transportation consider the stress and challenge of keeping the bike charged for nine days in remote areas.  If you take the bike you must still train and be able to pedal.  The power from these bikes may not be sufficient to carry you up some of the hills on the tour.  Pushing an eBike up a steep grade is a big challenge.  The sag is not provided for you just because you cannot ride up a hill, and loading a heavy eBike into the sag vehicle is difficult.  Some bike trails do not allow eBikes, or they limit access to Class 1 bikes, electrical assist bikes.

What about food?

You are responsible for your own food with the exception that your Rider Fee pays for one group meal that the LTC organizes. Unlike backpacking, opportunities to stop at markets and cafes are a normal part of bicycle touring. On some days you can buy fresh food, but at times you may go 2-3 days between stores. As was mentioned earlier, both the Rider’s Brochure and the Route Sheets provide information on meals.  It is best if you know in advance if you will be eating at a restaurant, purchasing food on the road to eat or prepare in camp, or eating from your pack. This helps you decide what to bring from home.  All riders need an ‘emergency meal’, something easy to prepare in case plans change.  In addition, all riders must have quick energy food with them during the day.  Consider this old adage: Eat before you are hungry and drink before you are thirsty.  It is still a good plan.

There will be some evenings when cooking in camp is the only option. Cooperating with one or more other tour participants allows more variety and ease in cooking. Some rather elaborate gourmet meals have resulted from several people contributing both ingredients and cooking skills, while other people may only boil water for an “instant” meal. Planning and cooperating can also lighten the load of cooking paraphernalia each person needs to pack. It is not a good idea to carry everything you will need for the week!

The sag vehicle with the shared coolers may be available at a store when you purchase dinner ingredients.  Maintaining and monitoring the ‘shared cooler’ can be a real burden for the sag driver.  If you use these ‘shared coolers’ the LTC requests that you take your turn in monitoring and sanitizing the cooler throughout the tour.  These are the policies for using the ‘shared cooler’:

What about alcohol?

Many participants enjoy a cold beer after the day’s ride or some wine with the evening meal. Moderation has been the norm and is the expectation for Loop Tour. Your Rider Fee does not cover beverages. It is the current policy that the sag vehicle stocks a cooler with a selection of beer.  A sag vehicle also has a cooler with non-alcoholic beverages.  Tour participants ‘pay the kitty jar’ when selecting a beverage. Sometimes our campsites have restrictions on alcoholic beverages (schools), and, in those cases, participants must refrain from consuming alcohol on the premises.

What about electronics?

Cell phones, e-readers, laptops, tablets, GPS units and other devices have become a common part of our everyday life. While some people would prefer to escape from these demons, others cannot part with them. Take and use what you wish, but protect your devices from the elements, vibration, and damage. The limiting factor may well be the ability to recharge your devices. The SAG drivers must maintain their own phones for the benefit of the group and may not be able to provide charging. Outlets are limited at campgrounds where they are available, and the demand may be high. The sag drivers carry two charging units that will be available wherever there is a protected, convenient outlet and two 4-unit charging stations for the vehicle.  Portable solar panels have started to appear on the back of some bikes.  Be creative.

Dealing with Problems

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What about medical emergencies?

Loop Tour is part of life; accidents and illnesses may happen, and these may occur in very remote and inhospitable places. Professional treatment may be many miles and/or many hours away. Even first aid may not be readily available. Some places in the Northwest do not have cell phone coverage, so telephone connections may be far away.

People on Loop Tour do their best to help each other deal with emergencies; however, few, if any, participants or sag drivers are formally trained to deal with serious medical emergencies. It is highly recommended that you carry a small first aid kit, but your kit might be inadequate for the accident. Even the big first aid kit in the sag vehicle may not contain what supplies for a specific problem.

The Rider’s Packet (Google link to rider information) has an emergency form, and the LTC requires that it be completed and carried in the handlebar bag or the smallest bag on the bike if a handlebar bag is not used.  Be sure to bring any medicines that you are likely to need and carry information regarding any personal medical conditions or allergies that could affect treatment in the event that you are unable to communicate with the provider. If you have an allergy where you must carry an Epi Pen, notify your friends with whom you ride and the sag driver where they will find this pen in your pack.  

Minor chafing or another seemingly trivial injury that you can tolerate on a day ride can become a phenomenon that ends a multi-day tour. Likewise, sunburn, allergies, and insect bites could seriously degrade what would otherwise be an enjoyable experience. It generally isn’t practical to carry a full medical kit with you during the day, but with adequate planning and preparation you should have necessary items accessible in camp. With adequate preparation and help from fellow tourists, participants manage all but the most disastrous of situations.

As stated earlier, if you do leave the tour, it is up to you to arrange for getting yourself and your gear home and communicating with the sag drivers.

MVBC does carry insurance for the tour, and you will complete an accident form if you sustain an injury.  Insurance coverage is in excess of your own personal coverage.  Although not required, it is very important that you have medical insurance.

What about contingencies?

What else can happen? This Guide cannot cover all possible bumps in the road.  Prepare for weather, personal medical issues, and the basics of food and water.  Bring the best gear that you can afford and carry.  Condition your body as best you can in the time that you have, knowing that there is no way to fully train for 9 days of riding other than riding 9 days, and that will not happen.  Take care of yourself!  Listen for internal messages and deal with them.  Part of the journey is dealing with unforeseen circumstances.  Some of these are negative; some are positive.  Enjoy the journey!

With lots of potential problems, why would I want to go?

This guide may seem to have focused mostly as those are the surprises that could have the biggest impact on a first time tourist if caught unprepared. There are many reasons that Loop Tour has remained popular for over 40 years, not the least of which is that many people derive great satisfaction from preparing for and then avoiding or dealing with the issues associated with life on the road.

You will meet kids, adults, seniors, families, and singles. Engineers, factory workers, teachers, agricultural workers, managers, and stay-at-home parents are on Loop Tours, but they are hard to categorize when everyone is dealing with exactly the same issue of getting to the next camp using their own power. Loop Tours go places and use roads that most people are unlikely to experience.

Who is the Loop Tour leader?

While the sag driver has the advantage (?) of a vehicle, there is no “tour leader” or person “in charge” during the tour. If a member of the LTC is on the ride, he/she (or they) will take some leadership responsibilities, but all participants and the sag driver are expected to work together to make this a safe, fun, memorable event.  This is part of the beauty of Loop Tour.  Welcome Aboard!

Registration & Fees

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When & Where can I register?

Since Loop Tour is open only to club members, you must join or be sure your membership is CURRENT (see join.mvbc.com). The registration takes place through an online form.  Go to the event website at www.looptour.org to find detailed instructions.

Registration typically OPENS in March, and announcements will be posted at the

How does Registration work?

In February or early March, the LTC sends an email announcement regarding the opening of registration to all MVBC members via the club’s email distribution list (MVBC-announce@googlegroups.com). The first phase of registration (Priority Registration) follows a Priority System in that those who support the club by volunteering have the best chance of being able to participate in a Loop Tour.  Priority Registration is open for approximately one month.  During this time, regardless of the date of the registration, the priority level of registrants determines the order for filling the tour; i.e. Level 1 registrants get onto the tour first, then Level 2, Level 3, Level 4.  If there are more registrants than spaces, the LTC activates a Lottery System (blind draw) of all registrants in the lowest level (probably Level 4) and establishes a rank order to fill the open spaces.  Those who do not get onto a tour have three choices.  First, they may choose to switch to a different tour, assuming that there are two or more tours and space is available. Second, they may cancel their registration and get a full refund of registration fees (however, not membership dues). Third, they may choose to go on a Wait List.   The Wait List ranking follows the Lottery System ranking.  These are the Levels of the Priority System:

 

Level 1:  Current Loop Tour and Mini-LTC members, Loop Tour and Mini-Loop Tour sag drivers from the previous year and the current year, current MVBC board members, major planners for Covered Bridge and Crater Lake rides and one *direct family member riding on the same tour

Level 2:  All other MVBC volunteers from March of the previous year through February of the current year and one *direct family member

Level 3:  MVBC members prior to January 1 of the current year.

 

Level 4:  MVBC member who joined on or after January 1 of the current year.

 

*Direct Family Members:  children, spouses/domestic partners, parents, grandparents, siblings; **Indirect Family Members:  cousins, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, spouses/domestic partners of indirect family member.  

 

Should there be space on a tour after Priority Registration, Open Registration begins, and spaces are filled on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.

If a tour fills, Waitlist Registration begins and remains open until the start of the respective tour.  The order of riders on the waitlist follows this system:  

 

The LTC will not guarantee or ‘save a place’ for members who have not registered.  The registration system encourages members to support club events by volunteering.  It provides a method for a fair and transparent way of selecting participants when there are more registrations than open spaces.

What does it cost? What is covered by the Registration Fee?

Two different fees comprise the overall registration fee for Loop Tour.  These fees may vary from year to year based on the costs and budget for that year. All registrants pay the Rider Fee.  It covers a detailed route description and supporting route and tour information via electronic transmission, sufficient camping space, availability of a SAG vehicle, and one group meal. The Rider Fee may provide for other meals and/or snacks. Children (17 and under) pay a reduced Rider Fee.  The Sag Fee covers having your gear sagged as defined earlier in this Guide. Seniors (65 and older) and children currently pay less than adults to have their gear sagged. See notices.looptour.org for further details on fees and policies for the current year.  Remember that you will have expenses for food and beverages.

You will have personal costs on the trip, mostly for beverages, food and meals. Of course, bikes, clothing, and camping equipment are part of the longer-term budget. Food is a personal matter dependent upon your tastes and budget. Purchasing food at markets and cooking in camp can result in a relatively modest expenditure, whereas eating most meals at restaurants will be more expensive.

The primary costs to the club are fees for campsites, the group meal, gas and wear and tear for the SAG vehicles. The LTC uses maximum campsite capacity when reserving campsites, meaning space can be tight. Sites are restricted to tour participants and sag drivers.

Can I get a refund?

As a club-sponsored event, there is no desire to penalize anyone who has to change his or her plans in an emergency, and there is no intent to raise money for MVBC through the tour.  On the other hand, Loop Tour is run on a tight budget and many of the expenditures are committed long before the tour begins; changing the number of participants even months before a tour can play havoc with the budget.  Getting a refund is dependent on when you cancel and whether there are riders on the Wait List.  See notices.looptour.org for further details on fees and refund policies for the current year.

Resources

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The MVBC Website contains a wealth of information about Loop Tour.  Follow links from the Loop Tour Reference Shelf (references.looptour.org) or browse those listed below. The May club meeting is used to disseminate information such as how to obtain the information and how to access the route via Ride with GPS. The LTC communicates via email and transmits participant information via a Google link; however, the committee can provide printed materials if requested.  

Route planners use the website, Ride with GPS, to develop the route.  MVBC has a club membership, and participants are encouraged to join the club’s free associate membership in order to use some of the more advanced features of Ride with GPS.  Information on how to join this associate membership will be provided at the May club meeting.

Participants will be provided links which will allow them to download &/or print the route. As a substitute, some riders may wish to use their electronic device to access the route via Ride with GPS. For best results, you will download the route onto your device rather than access it via the website.

These cycling references may be of use as you consider or plan for a Loop Tour experience:

LOOP TOUR

MID-VALLEY BICYCLE CLUB

Loop Tour Guide

guide.looptour.org

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