I am actually just a noob. I've been bike riding for several years as a main source of transportation. But have only taken to smaller competitions in the last year and a half. I will also be doing my first bike tour in Eastern Europe this Fall.
I just purchased a vintage Trek Elance Touring Bike. I'm in love with it. The vendor was extremely helpful in getting the bike to my distinct location, so I'm very happy to have the bike.
I was originally thinking about loading it up with Saddle Bags (Panniers), but I think I'm going to just use a one piece double rear pannier and a small/medium back pack so that I can have mobility when I get into towns and stuff. anyone have any experience or thoughts on this? I don't want to be encumbered by a massive amount of bags when I decide to head off on foot.
Also does anyone have any ideas on good brakes? I need something affordable. I'm looking at the Shimano Tiagra, which can be purchased for around $80. However, I've heard that Ultegra are top of the line and they sell for around $120. Any inputs?
One piece double rear pannier may sound like it's easier to carry off the bike, but in reality it's not. It's a very awkward piece of luggage. Good single panniers have shoulder straps so you'll have your hands free. It's still not going to be comfortable, you'll probably have quite a bit of gear to carry, but it'll be a lot easier than trying to haul the single piece bag.
Re: brakes, is there something wrong with your current brakes?
To err is human. To moo is bovine.
Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?
Thank you for the advice. I will definitely look into panniers with shoulder straps, and I could maybe find a way to hitch them onto my backpack. Good thinking.
As for the brakes, I believe they are Dia Compe 500. The more and more I think on it, the more I realize it's probably my lack of experience that has prompted me to buy new brakes as opposed to replacing the pads. But as of right now, they don't really stop the bike in dry weather.