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  1. #1
    Newbie
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    Greetings from Maryland

    Hello everyone!
    My name is Liz and I'm a senior at Saint Josephs University in Philadelphia. I was hoping to get some information from the biking experts. My story is this.... I've been mountain biking for a few years but after graduation (next May) I am planning on biking from Philadelphia to Texas with a few friends. I need some advice on a decent roadbike ...something a poor college student can handle, as well as roads to take and any other advice anyone may have. Thanks so much!
    Liz

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Welcome to BikeForums, lizkk. However, you've got me a little confused, being from Maryland myself. I could swear that Philadelphia is in Pennsylvania!!! I'm from Balto, originally, then moved to Cockeysville and Timonium as a kid and teen. I've been away for a while.

    You'll find plenty of biking experts here, as you would expect. As far as a decent road bike, you shoukd check eBay first ... lots of good stuff at good prices.

  3. #3
    Senior Member shaharidan's Avatar
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    Hiya Liz and welcome to the forums .
    if you dont get any advice on your questions here you may want to pop over to the touring section of the forum and post there you should get lots of help. you may also want to check into clubs in your area. heres a link to one in philadelphia for when your on campus http://www.phillybikeclub.org/ just do a google search for one in your area. there may be members who made trips similar to yours.
    adventure cycling has maps for traveling different parts of the country http://www.adv-cycling.org/ check out the bike routes section. you may be able to put your trip together using a combination of there atlantic coast route and southern cross country route.
    as far as bikes go it would be helpful to have more info. a rough estimate of your budget, and what kind of trip your planning. are you planning a loaded tour where you carry everything on your bike? will you be camping and cooking your own food, or staying in hotels and eating in resturaunts?
    and be sure to check out the touring section of these forums. just a read thru them can really wet your appatite for a tour, answer some of your questions and even raise some more
    good luck
    No matter how fast I'm going, I'm in no hurry.
    there are no bicycles in the valley, the only bicycle you find in the valley is the bicycle you ride down there.
    Ride in the front, this space is available to anyone that wishes to take it-jjmolyet

  4. #4
    Year-round cyclist
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    All great advice. What you need is not a typical "road bike", but a "touring bike". While it looks like a road bike, the touring bike has the following features:
    - a beefier rear triangle
    - longer chainstays (45-46 cm)
    - room for fenders and large tires (700x32, 700x37 with fenders), which also means cantilever brakes rather than sidepull brakes;
    - much lower gears than on the typical road bike and even lower gears than what manufacturers of touring bike provide.

    The bad news is that these bikes (Trek 520, Cannondale T series, one or 2 models by Bianchi, Volpe...) are not popular with bike shops, so you probably won't get too many good deals on them.

    The good news is that most of the "10-speed" bikes sold in the mid-1980s make better bikes for touring -- especially light touring --, so you might find your future bike amongst students selling their stuff at the end of the school year. The problems I see with a 1980 bike vs a modern touring bike are:

    - less frame rigidity: a problem if you weight 200-250 lb or if you carry the kitchen sink, probably not a problem if the weight you carry (yours and your stock) is less;

    - brakes: Until 1982-1984, most tourers had centrepull brakes. Great if you want to brake with a lot of brute force. After that, they had cantilever brakes, which feel closer to what you have on your mountain bike (1- or 2-finger braking);

    - 27" wheels. They disappeared at the end of the 1980s. As there still are quite a few new tires around, I would not dismiss a bike with 27" wheels , especially if there is room to lower the brake pads by 4 mm if and when you decide to switch to 700c. Buying 2 used but good 700c wheels later doesn't sound like a stupid expense.

    - low gears. Get a triple, unless you plan your trip along the coast. It's possible to change the drivetrain later and get the low gears you always dreamed of, but if you plan your Summer trip via the Blue Ridge, you need a low gear in the high teens or low 20s (i.e. 20 gear-inches, which means 24 front to 32 rear, for example); it's possible to tour with higher, especially when young, but I still recommend a low of 27 gear-inches maximum (same # of teeth front and rear).

    Regards,
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

  5. #5
    It tastes like burning! deliriou5's Avatar
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    hi liz... i went to school in baltimore (JHU) and live/work in philly.... lol.
    The only true knowledge is knowing that you know nothing - Socrates

    Back on the bike!!

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