Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Seattle, Washington, USA
Bikes: 2014 Pivot Mach 5.7 MTB, 2009 Chris Boedeker custom, 1988 Tommasini Prestige, 2007 Bill Davidson custom; 1988 Specialized Stumpjumper
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A couple of things --
-- You can find out a lot just by looking at the forums here; go back through the archives and look at threads on first bikes, getting fit, etc.
-- Two other excellent resources for touring at the Adventure Cycling Association and www.crazyguyonabike.com
. Lots of good info.
- IMHO, the best bike for getting around campus might not necessarily be the best bike for your tour. I'm thinking mainly about theft / places where you can store your bike. My son and I just went through the process of picking a bike for him to take to college (he starts next year) and after visiting lots of colleges w/him the last year my impression is that "nice" bikes stick out like a sore thumb on campus; most bikes on campuses that I visited aren't that nice. In other words, the $800 to $1000 bike you want for your 2,000 mile trip is likely a little more expensive than the bike you want to have around campus.
If I were advising you (as I've advised him...) I'd look at a good used steel road bike for around campus and getting fit...if you then want to do some more serious riding (like the trip you mentioned), upgrade to a touring-suitable bike a couple of months before you trip, giving you plenty of time to get used to the bike and iron out any bugs in advance.
Also, just FYI, the way Bikeforums is organized, you'll find better information for your long trip in the "Touring" sub-forum. This "Long Distance" forum tends to be the home of folks who are doing long-distance cycling events -- like Century rides, multi-day endurance events, etc.