Hello everybody! This is my first post, et viola:
I am going on a two week bike tour here in Languedoc Roussillon with my mother for spring break and I am very excited! I already did the ride with my wife last spring and we both loved it. In fact we spent last summer riding more than 2,000 kilometers through Southern France and Corsica. We went over some death defying peaks, such as Mt. Ventoux, and traversed many lonely mountain roads. The comical thing is that our bikes are about as cheap as can be. I bought mine new at a local sporting chain for about $100. It is outfitted with some SRAM shifters and shimano components, but the bike shops we visited en route told us how our bikes are definately not meant for touring. My wife's bike is a 15 year old Bobet that we upgraded with a triple crank and front and rear racks with panniers. I pulled a B.O.B. trailor (the ten year old model) that still cost more than two times more than my bike.
Now that my mother is coming to visit from the states, I ordered a Down Tube off e-bay so that she can have something to ride, and I can sell mine when she leaves. Would I rather be totally outfitted with a kick-butt titanium super Bike Friday Pocket Rocket Launcher LAma Explorer Extraordinaire? Yes! But with limited funds, you can still pull off a good tour with a cheap steed. And I wouldn't have been able to do my odyssey last summer if I had paid for something more expensive. I guess the important thing is that your bike is geared for climbing and rolls smoothly so that you almost forget that it is under you. Questions for all you Down Tubers: What would you recommend my mother brings from the U.S. with her to upgrade the DT for our trip? Schwalbe tires,etc.? Are the gears low enough for steep climbs? CAn I pull a trailor (I will probably carry everything for my mom, but just thought I'd ask anyway). Thanks! I have been bitten by the bike tour bug and I am searching for a cure!