I've been looking around this forum for about a half hour and I think it is wonderful. I'm a teacher in Northern Italy working for the the U.S. Gov't. I commute about 8 miles a day and am interested in touring. I've done some touring with friends (including car ), but I'm setting up with gear to go self-contained. My big plan for this summer is to hop the train up to Hiedelburg and bike to Munich.
I ride a Scott treking bike. I know alot of you are probablly rolling your eyes wondering why I bought American in the holy land of bikes, but I honestly had a hard time finding a bike that I could outfit with racks, panniers, and fenders that would fit 6'3" me, AND the price was right, plus I LIKE IT.
I know, I'm too defensive.
I wouldn't mind meeting someone on line that has toured Germany, Austria, Northern Italy. Also, tell me about touring equipment I should avoid.