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  1. #1
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    Switching from road bike to something else

    Long story short - I've owned a Cannondale CAAD 10 road bike for a year. I do not race or use it for any real road riding purposes. I was also recently injured falling off the bike (fell of steep curb, lost stability and flew into the pavement), and I feel I could have avoided my accident or at least it wouldn't have been as bad if I was on a less responsive/twitchy race bike and something more sturdy with thicker tires and a more upright riding position. I am looking to make a switch to suit my riding needs (casual rides between 5-50 miles with the option to do an occasional century or two, riding on greenways, uneven paths, NYC roads full of bumps, potholes and obstacles like pedestrians and cars that want to kill you) and to be safer as well. I have considered the following:

    1. Road bike that is more relaxed geometry/endurance/comfort oriented with thicker tires (as opposed to race-oriented/aggressive) - like Specialized Secteur/Roubaix, Somafab bikes
    2. Cyclocross - Specialized Tricross
    3. Touring bikes like Surly LHT, Cross-check, Jamis Aurora, Somafab bikes
    4. Hybrid/city/urban - Specialized Sirrus, Trek FX 7.3/7.4, 7.5,
    5. Lightish Hardtail mountain bike - Montague Paratrooper, Specialized Rockhopper

    I am also curious about steel frames, but have never owned one before. Although I'm not against flat bars, my problem with them in the past has been numb hands from keeping my hands in the same position the entire time. It would be great if the bike is able to easily and safely carry a baby/child seat if needed.

    I am strongly leaning towards 3 and 4 at this point. The Surly bikes (or something similar like Soma or another brand that makes steel bikes cheaper) or Hybrids like the Sirrus seem to fit the bill. Budget about $500-$1000. Any suggestions where to start and what brands/models to look at? Would love to hear from people similar to me who have switched from aggressive racing road bikes to something with a more relaxed geometry.
    Last edited by cheap_skate; 08-21-12 at 11:48 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member rebel1916's Avatar
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    A true touring bike (like a LHT) would probably not suit your needs. Something like a Crosscheck which is like a CX/commuter hybrid might well be perfect.

  3. #3
    Senior Member JonathanGennick's Avatar
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    Look at some of the bikes from Salsa like the Salsa Warbird, aimed at gravel-road riders:

    http://salsacycles.com/culture/new_f...ducing_warbird

    The Vaya and Fargo are progressively more rugged. My Fargo's got 1.9" tires on it. Curbs are nothing.

  4. #4
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    If you're true to your screen name you should be able to get both for the amount you've stated you're willing to spend.

    Craigslist is full of deals.

    As far as a touring ride goes, there are tubs of old steel bikes available. Those bikes from the 80's can be great and if you're willing to do a little work on one yourself you can have a road bike with relaxed geometry for a fraction of a price of a new touring rig. I just picked up an old Fuji S12-S Ltd and I love it - barcon friction shifters & all.

    Plenty of used hybrids online as well.

    You just have to be patient.
    '83 Fuji S-12S LTD
    '88 Peugeot Orient Express

  5. #5
    Senior Member bud16415's Avatar
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    I will give you a different viewpoint on the touring bike as an everyday bike. I bought a Windsor Tourist with every intention of setting it up and using it as just a touring bike. In the process of getting used to it I began riding it more and more as an everyday bike. I like drop bars for the hand positions but like them set higher than race geometry allows. I like a wider tire and the ability to mount racks and fenders. I like the road like triple crank and the mountain bike like cassette and RD setup. The 36 spoke wheels seem sturdy. Frame geometry is less twitchy etc. I modified quite a few things on the bike because I wanted a lower granny range for touring, but if I was to use it just as a commuter I would have been good with the gearing it came with. I put an adjustable quill stem on it as a way to figure out how I wanted the bike to fit. I have no desire to replace it as I like to be able to tweak it from time to time. I feel much safer also being a little more upright on a bike that has a less twitchy feel. I might be as much as 10 pounds heavier than my Cannondale and one gear slower but if you are looking for those other things as pluses rather than outright speed you should at least take a touring bike for a test ride.

    If you really don’t want drop bars any longer in any form then look to the hybrids. If you want a DIY project find an 80’s hard tail mtn bike and do a conversion to a “hybrid”. I made one from an old KHS and it is my second favorite bike to commute on.
    What's not in your legs needs to be in your gears.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by bud16415 View Post
    If you really don’t want drop bars any longer in any form then look to the hybrids. If you want a DIY project find an 80’s hard tail mtn bike and do a conversion to a “hybrid”. I made one from an old KHS and it is my second favorite bike to commute on.
    Another option could be to find an old steel road bike frame and put some North Slope handlebars and one of those sprung Brooks saddles on it - do a bit of a city bike conversion. Sure, it won't have the classic internally geared hub, but it'd come in much cheaper than buying a new Linus or Schwinn Coffee.

    However, if one has to go new.....

    I REALLY like the look of the Kenginton 8 at BikesDirect.com.

    One of the really nice things about having bicycling as a hobby is that the options are so varied. You can go expensive or cheap. Anyone w/ a wee bit of sense and a few tools can do just about anything he wants to. The options are limitless. Thanks to ebay the parts can be had cheap.

    For me, patience is the problem. I want to do it NOW.

    I'm planning on building a townie as described above. Something like that is the perfect "Saturday afternoon, cruising with the wife, stopping for espressos" sort of bike.

    I am also contemplating an 80's steel framed mountain bike to convert to a expedition bike for a future trip. That's way off in the future, though.
    '83 Fuji S-12S LTD
    '88 Peugeot Orient Express

  7. #7
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    Thank you all for your suggestions. You guys are a lot friendlier and open-minded than they were in the Road Cycling Forum. Instead of understanding that I wanted a different style of bike, many insisted I should sack up and ride my 15lb race bike that I should have never bought in the first place.

    rebel - will keep that in mind when I try out Surly bikes. Will the Cross Check feel less relaxed than the LHT? Will it be able to hold a baby seat easily?

    Jonathan - those Salsa bikes look sweet. Only thing is they look expensive to me. What do they sell for?

    Skippy - really like your idea. Only issue with buying used is I'm not an expert on fitting myself to a bike. I would like to get it roughly correct. If I'm looking for an older steel touring or relaxed geometry bike, what brand names/models would you search for exactly in Craigslist? I like the idea of getting something like a Surly/Soma/Salsa bike at half the price if I can. Since I won't actually be doing any real touring, they might be overkill.
    What are north slope handlebars?

    bud - thanks for your comments too. I'm not really looking to do much DIY besides changing the saddle and doing some basic adjustments like saddle height or changing bars, etc. Also not looking for online. Would like to either buy new from LBS or used from Craigslist.
    Last edited by cheap_skate; 08-22-12 at 09:50 AM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member rebel1916's Avatar
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    True touring bikes tend to kinda need to be loaded up to perform the way they are designed. I have never ridden an LHT, but my understanding is it definitely falls into this category. 12 people are probably going to chime in to suggest that their LHTs perform perfectly in every imaginable situation. They are entitled to their beliefs. I have put some miles on a crosscheck. It feels sort of like a heavy, stable relaxed road bike. If I were in the market for a commuter/**** hauler I would look at those closely. I see a guy pulling a trailer locally on one regularly. I understand Salsas and Somas make some similar bikes. Kona Jake might also be a bike to check out.

  9. #9
    Senior Member bud16415's Avatar
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    Well you live in a big place so I would guess local CL etc will produce a lot of quality bikes that will suit your needs in your price range. You will have to know what will fit you though so at some point have to learn some self-fitting skills to save a lot of running around looking at bikes to big or small. The same is true for on line you are normally on your own there. I have always suggest before you buy on line and there is some bang for your buck doing that but you really have to know what you want, or work with a LBS ahead of time and some will work with you on buying on line and then for a fee set your bike up for you. Basically that’s what they are doing anyway. Sometimes just them knowing you have your eye on something on line for X amount they will say well we have this that’s the same and we can make a deal on it and moving some stock they have sitting.

    The only problem I have had with old school road bikes and retrofitting them is you get into the old higher road gears that were common in the 10 speed days and things like down tube shifting etc. That’s one of the things that drew me to a bike like the Windsor it was kind of an old school platform but had things like 700 tires and STI shifting and 9 speed cassette with a triple chain ring.

    I have done a lot of retro fits like skippyX mentioned and I love them all and they are all nice comfortable rides now. Here is a photo of the retro fleet. If I had more room in the shed I’m sure I would have more. There is everything in this pic starting at the left a Schwinn Mesa runner converted over to a cruiser coffee getter, to the right a bike much like what you may have now a Cannondale converted to bull horns, and everything in between.



    .
    What's not in your legs needs to be in your gears.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by cheap_skate View Post
    Skippy - really like your idea. Only issue with buying used is I'm not an expert on fitting myself to a bike. I would like to get it roughly correct. If I'm looking for an older steel touring or relaxed geometry bike, what brand names/models would you search for exactly in Craigslist? I like the idea of getting something like a Surly/Soma/Salsa bike at half the price if I can. Since I won't actually be doing any real touring, they might be overkill.
    What are north slope handlebars?
    Sorry 'bout that. I should have typed "North Road". My fingers were working faster than my brains.

    They're basically handlebars that bend back towards you more than the standard mountain bike style handlebars you see on many hybrids today. They look like something you'd see on an old English three speed bike from days of yore.

    Here's an example of a bicycle someone did up just like I was talking about:



    If it were me I'd put different grips on it. I'd also stick w/ whatever shifting system the bike was equipped w/ and go w/ either bar end shifters or stem mounted shifters (in the case of friction shifting). That's simply my personal preference, though. You might opt to do things differently.

    Before I get into it too much, please remember that I'm a bit of a neophyte myself. There are plenty of people that frequent this forum (most of 'em, as a matter of fact) far, far more knowledgeable than I am. If I give any information that's at all incorrect, I hope one of them comes along to put things right.

    As far as what brand to search for, I'd likely be sticking to English & Japanese bikes...maybe a Schwinn. Names I look for are Panasonic, Raleigh, Fuji, Schwinn, Centurion, Miyata, Lotus, Trek, Bianchi. There are many, many more great bikes w/ someone else's name on them, but there were a bunch of all those makes sold back in the day and they all made some pretty good bikes.

    I've read that the quality of the steel is far more important than the name on the bike, so look for stickers that say "Tange", "Chromoly", "331", "Columbus", "Reynolds". However, my son rides a '73 Fuji Special Road Racer (later the S10-S) that he loves to pieces, and it's regular ol' gaspipe.

    You might want to check out Sheldon Browns page on upgrading old bikes. That website is a godsend.

    As far as sizing goes, there are all kinds of resources available online to help you with figuring out what is an appropriately sized bike for you. I found this chart handy when I was trying to figure things out. I am 6'0" tall and wound up w/ a 58cm Fuji. It fits beautifully.

    You can always use this bike sizing calculator. Just follow the instructions on how to measure the length of your leg (floor to crotch - NOT your regular pants inseam), plug the data in and it will tell you what size you should be looking for.

    I hope you find some of that helpful - and good luck finding what it is you want in a bicycle.
    Last edited by SkippyX; 08-22-12 at 10:43 AM.
    '83 Fuji S-12S LTD
    '88 Peugeot Orient Express

  11. #11
    Intrepid Bicycle Commuter AlmostGreenGuy's Avatar
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    A lot of people are looking for just that same type of bike. The answer is a tad more expensive than you'd prefer though. Definitely look into the Surly Cross Check, Salsa Vaya or Salsa Fargo. For your specific criteria for Vaya looks perfect.

    Here's my Vaya3. It's heavier than a pure road bike, but more durable and much more stable. It'll take very wide tires, fenders and racks. It's somewhere between a cross bike and a touring bike. For general utility and long rides, it's freakin perfect. More upright than a road bike.

  12. #12
    Senior Member bud16415's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rebel1916 View Post
    True touring bikes tend to kinda need to be loaded up to perform the way they are designed. I have never ridden an LHT, but my understanding is it definitely falls into this category. 12 people are probably going to chime in to suggest that their LHTs perform perfectly in every imaginable situation. They are entitled to their beliefs. I have put some miles on a crosscheck. It feels sort of like a heavy, stable relaxed road bike. If I were in the market for a commuter/**** hauler I would look at those closely. I see a guy pulling a trailer locally on one regularly. I understand Salsas and Somas make some similar bikes. Kona Jake might also be a bike to check out.

    I haven’t noticed the difference you mention at least in a negative way on my tour bike but like you I haven’t rode a LHT. On a similar note I’m a good size guy and may be loading the bike down a bit with just me alone. So would a light guy find a touring bike awkward without some weight you could be right I just don’t know that for sure. Mountain bikes converted over I guess a similar case could be made for riding the frame in a different mode than it was designed. I have all four type of bikes including the Cannondale that is very light and nimble and vintage steel road bikes converted I do see ride quality differences in all but none of the qualities would I say are bad. More of just less bounce less twitchy etc. You know you are on a different kind of bike but for me the tour bike is a lot more forgiving and at the same time has the appeal of an older road bike only with modern features.
    What's not in your legs needs to be in your gears.

  13. #13
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    No wasn't a sidewalk. It was a bike path, but with an uneven steep drop-off in places. You go off the bike path and you are suddenly in dirt and grass. Not good if you have skinny road tires, 'twitchy' steering and clip-less pedals. Some would say it was completely avoidable, but then all accidents are theoretically completely avoidable. Either way, I'd rather just move on and get a bike that both suits my riding needs, is safer in situations like those and generally more comfortable. I only have myself to blame for getting carried away by the bike shops and roadies on here into thinking that I should get a full on racing bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    Riding on the sidewalk?

  14. #14
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    Thank you - this is all great info.
    In terms of handles, I am biased towards something that will let me change my hand positions like a road drop bar would except I would want the bar at least slightly higher than my saddle making me more upright and stable. Flat bars are not appealing to me, unless they have bar-ends maybe. All things considered I am talking myself out of a hybrid with flat bars and into a steel road/touring/cyclo bike that is setup very relaxed with fat tires.


    Quote Originally Posted by SkippyX View Post
    Sorry 'bout that. I should have typed "North Road". My fingers were working faster than my brains.

    They're basically handlebars that bend back towards you more than the standard mountain bike style handlebars you see on many hybrids today. They look like something you'd see on an old English three speed bike from days of yore.

    Here's an example of a bicycle someone did up just like I was talking about:



    If it were me I'd put different grips on it. I'd also stick w/ whatever shifting system the bike was equipped w/ and go w/ either bar end shifters or stem mounted shifters (in the case of friction shifting). That's simply my personal preference, though. You might opt to do things differently.

    Before I get into it too much, please remember that I'm a bit of a neophyte myself. There are plenty of people that frequent this forum (most of 'em, as a matter of fact) far, far more knowledgeable than I am. If I give any information that's at all incorrect, I hope one of them comes along to put things right.

    As far as what brand to search for, I'd likely be sticking to English & Japanese bikes...maybe a Schwinn. Names I look for are Panasonic, Raleigh, Fuji, Schwinn, Centurion, Miyata, Lotus, Trek, Bianchi. There are many, many more great bikes w/ someone else's name on them, but there were a bunch of all those makes sold back in the day and they all made some pretty good bikes.

    I've read that the quality of the steel is far more important than the name on the bike, so look for stickers that say "Tange", "Chromoly", "331", "Columbus", "Reynolds". However, my son rides a '73 Fuji Special Road Racer (later the S10-S) that he loves to pieces, and it's regular ol' gaspipe.

    You might want to check out Sheldon Browns page on upgrading old bikes. That website is a godsend.

    As far as sizing goes, there are all kinds of resources available online to help you with figuring out what is an appropriately sized bike for you. I found this chart handy when I was trying to figure things out. I am 6'0" tall and wound up w/ a 58cm Fuji. It fits beautifully.

    You can always use this bike sizing calculator. Just follow the instructions on how to measure the length of your leg (floor to crotch - NOT your regular pants inseam), plug the data in and it will tell you what size you should be looking for.

    I hope you find some of that helpful - and good luck finding what it is you want in a bicycle.

  15. #15
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    This looks like a great option. Not sure what these cost though. Guessing $1500? I'm really trying to no go for the overkill option this time around, so if I can get something that's not top of the line but suits my purposes at half the price of less, that works for me. How would this compare to the Raleigh Port Townsend, Jamis Aurora, Soma ES or Surly Crosscheck for example? After the initial novelty wears off, will any one them feel substantially different?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlmostGreenGuy View Post
    A lot of people are looking for just that same type of bike. The answer is a tad more expensive than you'd prefer though. Definitely look into the Surly Cross Check, Salsa Vaya or Salsa Fargo. For your specific criteria for Vaya looks perfect.

    Here's my Vaya3. It's heavier than a pure road bike, but more durable and much more stable. It'll take very wide tires, fenders and racks. It's somewhere between a cross bike and a touring bike. For general utility and long rides, it's freakin perfect. More upright than a road bike.

  16. #16
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    I only weigh around 140lbs, and would almost never be riding fully loaded. Is the Crosscheck geometry substantially different from the LHT or is most of the difference just heavier tubing?

    Quote Originally Posted by bud16415 View Post
    I haven’t noticed the difference you mention at least in a negative way on my tour bike but like you I haven’t rode a LHT. On a similar note I’m a good size guy and may be loading the bike down a bit with just me alone. So would a light guy find a touring bike awkward without some weight you could be right I just don’t know that for sure. Mountain bikes converted over I guess a similar case could be made for riding the frame in a different mode than it was designed. I have all four type of bikes including the Cannondale that is very light and nimble and vintage steel road bikes converted I do see ride quality differences in all but none of the qualities would I say are bad. More of just less bounce less twitchy etc. You know you are on a different kind of bike but for me the tour bike is a lot more forgiving and at the same time has the appeal of an older road bike only with modern features.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cheap_skate View Post
    Thank you - this is all great info.
    In terms of handles, I am biased towards something that will let me change my hand positions like a road drop bar would except I would want the bar at least slightly higher than my saddle making me more upright and stable. Flat bars are not appealing to me, unless they have bar-ends maybe. All things considered I am talking myself out of a hybrid with flat bars and into a steel road/touring/cyclo bike that is setup very relaxed with fat tires.
    You're welcome.

    The important thing is you get a bike that fits you well and that you love to ride.

    Regarding handlebars - have you looked at trekking bars? They offer a bunch of hand positions as well.
    '83 Fuji S-12S LTD
    '88 Peugeot Orient Express

  18. #18
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Don't be too quick to eliminate hybrids because the bars. You get something like these Nashbar Trekking bars and have multiple hand positions. Added benefit is it takes more economically priced mtn controls when compared to road brifters.

    Also like to point out wider tires won't necessarily keep you from taking the occasional tumble.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
    Ride what and in what manner pleases you. Those that mind don't matter, and those that matter don't mind. srsly.
    Community guidelines

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    Thanks will check out some trekking bars as well while looking at hybrids, although it would be tough to try them out without buying them and installing them I would think.
    Thank you for pointing out that wider tires won't ensure my safety. I had no idea. I thought the fat tire manufacturer's guarantee that you will never get into an accident, and if you do take a tumble you can take them to court.


    Quote Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
    Don't be too quick to eliminate hybrids because the bars. You get something like these Nashbar Trekking bars and have multiple hand positions. Added benefit is it takes more economically priced mtn controls when compared to road brifters.

    Also like to point out wider tires won't necessarily keep you from taking the occasional tumble.

  20. #20
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cheap_skate View Post
    Thanks will check out some trekking bars as well while looking at hybrids, although it would be tough to try them out without buying them and installing them I would think.
    Thank you for pointing out that wider tires won't ensure my safety. I had no idea. I thought the fat tire manufacturer's guarantee that you will never get into an accident, and if you do take a tumble you can take them to court.
    Got an REI nearby? Their Safari model comes stock with trekking bars.

    Not sure about what guarantee that you're referring to. I run on 26 x 1.5 rubber, which loosely translates into 38 in road/hybrid sizing width wise. Did not prevent me from going over the bars today on a new route- first set of RR tracks that's ever done that to me . When I hear the term 'fat bike', I'm thinking something along the lines of the Pugsley, Mukluk, and now the Moonlander. I wouldn't want to do a century on a Moonlander, but I'm pretty sure it'll roll over anything as long as you can maintain momentum and balance.
    Last edited by no1mad; 08-22-12 at 04:35 PM. Reason: added a link
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
    Ride what and in what manner pleases you. Those that mind don't matter, and those that matter don't mind. srsly.
    Community guidelines

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    Quote Originally Posted by cheap_skate View Post
    It would be great if the bike is able to easily and safely carry a baby/child seat if needed.
    You may want to reconsider using a baby/child seat. Just imagine what could have happened if your child was in the seat when your bicycle fell over. For a safer alternative consider a trailer. At least the trailer will stay upright if you fall over.

  22. #22
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    If you ask a bike shop for advice tell them you are looking to do Randonneuring. Those bikes will usually be set up with slightly wider tires and a more upright posture because they are intended for endurance riding.

    I know this isn't the most popular brand, but I recently got a Raleigh Port Townsend, and have really enjoyed it so far.

    townsend.jpg
    We have met the enemy and they is us.

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    I would take a long hard look at a Schwinn LeTour from Bikes Direct. I just purchased the LeTour Sport and really love it. Really great ride and very clean frame. Won't break the bank and very easy on the eye. http://bikesdirect.com/products/schw...r_sport_xi.htm Another option is the LeTour Legacy which substitutes a compact crankset...http://bikesdirect.com/products/schw..._legacy_xi.htm

    Last edited by jrporter; 08-22-12 at 07:51 PM.

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    Thanks for the suggestion. I don't plan to do the child thing often if at all, and if I do will be going very very slow.

    Quote Originally Posted by ARider2 View Post
    You may want to reconsider using a baby/child seat. Just imagine what could have happened if your child was in the seat when your bicycle fell over. For a safer alternative consider a trailer. At least the trailer will stay upright if you fall over.

  25. #25
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    I will try that. Bike looks nice, definitely something I am considering also.
    Quote Originally Posted by steve0257 View Post
    If you ask a bike shop for advice tell them you are looking to do Randonneuring. Those bikes will usually be set up with slightly wider tires and a more upright posture because they are intended for endurance riding.

    I know this isn't the most popular brand, but I recently got a Raleigh Port Townsend, and have really enjoyed it so far.

    townsend.jpg

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