Join Date: Sep 2005
Bikes: Surly Big Dummy, Fuji World, 80ish Bianchi
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If you are considering unsupported touring, get a touring bike. Yes, you 'can' tour on anything, but obviously it's better to have the right tool for the job. There are touring bikes out there that weigh under 30lbs with rack and fenders (My Fuji World weighs 28) and are nearly as fast and responsive as a road bike (1-2mph difference over my 25 mile commute route).
For loaded touring, yes you want long chainstays, triple crankset, and a good wheelset. Changing tires is a minor thing, but yes, you could always have a spare wheelset as well.
If I had to have only one bike, it would be my touring bike.
"Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey