Guys. I recently discovered this forum and am totally intrigued at the Randonneuring concept. I'm working back into cycling after marriage, kids, career changes and relocation put me out of serious cycling for the past few years. Now I'm finally working my way back into shape and trying to lose 40 lbs with a combination of running, rowing, and mountain biking. But I want to get back on the road.
On my last move from Alaska to Texas I kept the Cannondale F2000 mountain bike and sold the Cannondale R800 road bike, which was a little too racer boy for my tastes. But I did a lot of long training rides on it. Now I'm riding the mountain bike around here with semi-slicks on and wishing I had a more appropriate road bike for fitness and long distance cycling. I had thought about training for a marathon as a way of getting back into my old shape. But now I'm thinking Randonneuring sounds much more down my alley.
I'm 46 and I've been riding since I was a kid so you'd think I would know exactly what I want by now. But bikes have changed so much since I last shopped seriously so I'm at a bit of a loss.
Back in HS I owned a Peugeot PX-10 and Raleigh Professional. I did some Cat3 and Junior racing in Oregon and a lot of long tours through eastern Oregon with my dad on those bikes with racks and fenders strapped on. In college I did some recreational riding and one insane tour with two friends. Rode that Raleigh Pro from South Bend IN to the Florida Keys to attend a summer marine biology course doing the 1800 miles in 14 days, stealth camping all the way because that was all the time we had and we had even less money. Also did various other long tours like the Pacific coast from Seattle to LA. All on a somewhat inappropriately geared full Campy Record road bike loaded down with panniers.
In the 90s I did a 1000 mile tour on a Bridgestone MB0 mountain bike with slicks and then marriage and relocation to Juneau (limited roads) put me out of the serious biking and into boating. And I spent much of the 80s and 90s bike commuting somewhat serious distances in Portland and Seattle.
Now here I am in Central Texas with 3 decades of riding experience and really not much clue about what kind of bike to get next. I've got one local shop in Waco that sells mostly Specialized and Cannondale. Of all the bike they stock, the cross bikes, specifically the Specialized Tricross looks to be the closest thing to what I *think* I want. A relatively light and high performance bike that will be fun to ride for the primary purpose of weekday and weekend fitness riding and the occasional century with the objective of working up to some serious Randonneur rides over the next year. My wife isn't into bike touring and we have 3 young girls so my long distance touring days are probably over for the time being. So I don't need a load bearing bike. But I do want the option of putting on racks, handlebar bags, fenders perhaps (not really needed in Texas but I don't plan to always ride here) and so on.
Am I going to be happy with a cross bike converted over to road use? My local shop is pretty small and they don't have anything else that comes close. My budget is probably in the $2 grand ballpark which I think should buy me quite a nice bike appropriate to my needs. Am I going to be happy with something like the Tricross Comp? Our should I look past the Specialized and Cannondales at my LBS and go the internet/mail order route?
Basically I just want a modern version of my old Raleigh Pro that I sold in 1986 when I joined the Peace Corps. A lightweight comfortable road bike that can still take larger tires, fenders, racks, and that sort of thing.