Iím in the market for a bike. New. Good. I have a road bike (Specialized Ruby Comp) that I like for local road rides. But I want a bike I can outfit for commuting (6+ miles one way minimum). And touring, Iíve been wanting to do some touring for a long time. Even some off pavement riding. Stuff that I canít do with my road bike.
So a couple of months ago (maybe longer) I started to look around. After lurking on Bike Forums for a while, I became intrigued with the Surly LHT. Their website indicated that there was on LBS here that carried them. I went to that shop and the owner immediately dismissed my interest in the LHT. Itís too heavy, he said, and that Iíd do better with Jamis. He didnít have much in stock, so he gave me a Jamis catalogue and disappeared. When he came back, he really fast flipped through some pages telling me what he thought I should want, and left again. He didnít mark anything so I wasnít sure what he was trying to tell me and he kept disappearing. When he finally came back, he said that the 08 models of anything Iíd want were sold out, and that the 09 models wouldnít be out for a while. He didnít even let me take the catalogue.
OK, I am overweight and Iím 60. I do have a history of bike riding, Iím not a newbie, which I told him, but Iím not wanting to go back to that shop. But I want to get my new bike before March is over (March is still winter and snowy around here, but there will be days when I could ride).
OK, so my questions.
1) Is the LHT a guy thing? Inappropriate for a woman? I certainly would not discount Jamis, but I may well be interested still in the LHT if appropriate.
2) Since thereís not another LBS around here that carries Surly, and I would like a good selection to choose from, Iíd have to travel some to get that kind of selection. Since most of the options are around a 3 hour trip (NYC, Boston area, etc.), would it be good to try Harris Cyclery, which is a 3 star Surly dealer plus they have about anything else Iíd be interested in?
3) If I go that route, should I call ahead and make an appointment, making sure Iíll see someone who will not laugh me off the face of the earth?
4) If you were in my shoes and wanted a good all Ďround bike for commuting and touring &etc, what kind of bike would you recommend?
I donít want to spend a fortune, but I would like to have a bike that fits well, is adaptable for what I want to do, and that I can outfit accordingly.