I'm new to this forum and also relatively new to biking. I bought my first bike since childhood (a trek 820) about half a year ago. To make a long story short, I didn't think much about what kind of riding I would be doing (and how much I'd love it), and now I'm starting to look for a road bike. I want to start riding longer distances. I hope to be able to ride a century by the end of the year so that I could visit friends in New Orleans, which is nicely 100 miles down the ole mississipp'.
1) I want a durable frame, so I'm thinking steel. I'm not worried about ounces of weight; I don't intend to be racing (never been competitive with sports). I just want the bike to last and ride comfortably.
2) I would like it be as versatile as possible. I can really see myself doing a tour of sorts by next summer and I'd like to have the ability to add some racks and paniers and have the bike be able to handle the extra weight of all that as well.
From the many hours of just sifting through random google searches, I've come to like the Surly Crosscheck a lot. It seems to be what I'm looking for: just a really versatile bike. But I just wanted to know if there's anyone out there that was once in my position that could recommend anything better.
Thanks a lot. GO bike!