My first post here, and its of the typical "newbie looking for advice" type.
I'm looking for a weekend tourer to be used for short weekday evening rides on residential (suburban) streets and on rails-to-trails paths on weekends. Some of the paths in my area are asphalt, but most are crushed limestone. One such is the Root River trail in SE Minnesota. I also live within a 1-1/2 hr drive (by car) of the granddaddy of all rails-to-trails projects, the Elroy-Sparta trail in Wisconsin. This provides direct connection to three other trails.
About the engine: 40-something, 200# couch potato who recognizes need for exercise, but must identify least painful, most enjoyable method for obtaining it. I enjoy camping, and am definitely interested in bicycle camping, hauling what I need for a complete weekend on the bike. Married, and at this point the wife has little to no interest in biking, though she does enjoy camping (we've tented and now own a small hybrid camper). Most of my early adventures will thus most likely be single, probably meeting my wife at predetermined stops along the trail. My hope is that I can convince her to try biking, maybe on a trike.
So, I've been scouring the net comparing various configurations and models. Setting a realistic budget of $1000, and stating a preference for LWB or CLWB, please provide feedback on the following (or offer other suggestions):
Burley Koosah/Sand Point. Anybody using the rear rack with panniers with this? (I won't pay $125 for the 3rd party underseat pannier rack). How is the balance with this setup? Are the optional seat struts suggested?
EZ 1 Lite. Does anybody have any experience with the under seat pannier racks and rear rack for this bike? What bags do you use, and what is the ground clearance under the bags? Suitable for "loaded" weekend touring?
Cycle Genius LTX. Same general questions as above.
Trikes: I would consider a trike, but am concerned about rolling resistance on the limestone trail surface. Weight is another issue. In my price range, what about the following:
EZ 3 USX (65 lbs ?!). Has anybody given this a full review yet?
EZ Tadpole. This may be just out of my reach price-wise. Does anyone have these yet?
I will definitely consider buying used if another (better) bike/trike was available.
Thanks for sharing your wisdom.