Greetings from Seattle
I had a rough start to my 2012 summer, with a motor vehicle accident that busted my collarbone in 2 places, collapsed lung, and broke a bunch of ribs. After a few months of recovery, and some time to think about what is really important in life, I've decided to get into cycle touring.
I've always loved bikes. I was raised on Freestyle BMX in the '80s, and moved on to road bikes and single speeds in the early 2000s. I bought a Casseroll in 2007 with the intent of doing some longer rides and light touring. The geometry is great - like a Caddy, but I had trouble getting the bike comfy ~ I have a broken back and some disc issues, so it's been tricky getting a more upright/flat lumbar position.
Last week, I took the Salsa to the shop (Plug: Hello Bicycle on Beacon.) Sam helped me gear it much lower. He replaced the 12-24t cassette with 12-36t + MTB RD to help me spin up some hills. It's made it much easier on my back, since there is less power/muscle/leverage involved in schlepping myself up some of the steeps in the area. They set me up with a stubby stem that moved the handlebars back toward the seat by about 3 cm and up a bit. Big difference - I can comfortably use the drops again. Under $250 turned the bike from a Cadillac feel into more of a Mac Truck. I'm up high and geared low.
I've been riding 10-20 miles / day the last few days, enjoying some of our great regional trails, and regaining some stamina. My goal is to ride a century this year, and do a bit of bikepacking.
This site has been a great resource for getting myself geared up... and geared down. Thanks!