Join Date: Sep 2005
Bikes: Surly Big Dummy, Fuji World, 80ish Bianchi
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For your tour, you'll be a lot happier with the geometry of a touring bike like the Surly LHT or similar. Cross bikes are nice for short tours or longer credit card tours, but for a long, unsupported tour, you need a mule, not a quarter horse.
Canti brakes are also a better choice for unsupported tours...better chance of finding replacements/repairs on the road.
Test ride as many bikes as you can, from as many LBS as you can to determine which fits best. Sizes can be deceiving...one mfgr's 58 is another's 56, depending on whether they are measuring the top tube or seat tube and whether they are measuring T-C or C-C. At your side, I would expect you to fit a 56-58cm 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