So, I got my new Trek 520 and was happy. I am actively daydreaming about the trip I will take to Northern Italy come this March, and am `gearing-up' with all the doodads that I should have. I immediately replaced the back rack with another brand, bought a front rack, changed the stem, changed the saddle, changed the rims, changed the tires, and bought a nice pump, repair kit, panniers and stuff. Mind you, I have never been on a tour before... not even a short one. Let me admit one more thing, I spent a week getting all that crap together without going on _a_single_ride_ on this bike, which happens to be the first road bike I have ever owned. So, in addition to that other gear, I bought the Crank Bros. Candy pedals and some Lake sandals, which i love. Finally, I decided to go on a 17 mile ride (my first ride on this bike ever; I haven't even done a short ditty around the neighborhood) to my sisters house. I enjoyed every minute of it, appreciating all the features this bike offers-- and on the return ride I get all the way home without incident until I get to my driveway. I do one short circle around the driveway as a victory lap, and then promptly fell over being unable to clip-out of the pedals. I scraped up my palms and elbows and pride, bent the shifter, and broke my fancy blinky light on the back rack.
The best part of the whole week of buying all my crap, was the last 15 minutes.
I think starting out buying all the things mentioned in these discussions is one of worst _first_ things you can do to your love of cycling and touring. My advice is to get a bike, ride it around, and maybe even fall down once in a while.
Just thought I'd share.
P.S. I love the trek 520.