Hi everyone, I greatly appreciate any advice you can provide. I will be doing my first supported long-distance trip (for one week) in a few weeks and I have concluded that my trusty commuter hybrid with the milk crate strapped to the back is not going to cut it.
I am therefore looking at touring bikes and I would really LOVE to get something specifically designed for a female body. I am 5'3", 125 lbs and (apparently) have a short torso. So far I have tried the Specialized Sequoia, the Jamis Aurora and the Surly LHT but none of them prompted a "yes this is it!" moment. (Maybe I should give the Surly another chance but the bar-end shifters just seemed too awkwardly placed. It seems like it would always take twice as long to shift having to move your hands from the top to the bottom of the handlebars - do you get used to this?)
I am thinking about a Terry but I would have to special order one since there are no shops in DC that carry them. Do the ladies out there have any other recommendations? I'm looking to keep it under $1500, and something that could occasionally take panniers, etc. but most of the time would not. Looking forward from just this trip, I basically want something faster and lighter than my hybrid for weekend road rides, but more comfortable than a racing bike.