I'd like to do a light tour this summer: from South Bend, IN to Erie, PA. This will be about 400 fairly easy miles, and I plan to do it in about 4 days. I plan to travel light, and may even stay in hotels along the way.
I've got two bikes, both of which would need a little modification to make the trip:
1) CX bike built up around a custom frame made by Rick Hunter (Santa Cruz, CA). It has road cranks (39/53) and a mountain cluster (up to a 34). I use this purely as a "pleasure" bike. I have two sets of wheels: one for pure road riding and one for CX riding.
Pros: Good gear range for a ride like this.
Cons: It has fender mounts, but the seat stays do not have braze-ons for a rack. I've heard that there are racks that mount nicely without braze-ons (e.g. with clamps or using the cantilever brake bosses). Currently no fenders. No lights (not a big deal... this ride will almost certainly be all in daylight)
2) Surly CrossCheck built up as a single speed commuter (fixed/free)
Pros: Rack, fenders and lights (dynohub) are already installed
Cons: only two gears (and that involves flipping the wheel around).
Options I'm considering:
1) The most straightforward solution would be to buy a good rack for the CX bike that mounts to the brake bosses and install fenders. Since I don't tour regularly, it wouldn't be too big of a deal to remove the rack and fenders after the tour... and I could always reinstall them for a future tour. Cost: ~$150 or less.
2) However, part of me likes the idea of using the Surly, and is considering building up a separate internally-geared rear wheel (using the "red band" Nexus 8 hub from Shimano). Although this wouldn't be a good choice for heavy touring, I'm sure it would be fine for what I have in mind, and it would give my commuter more versatility. I've ruled out adding deraileur-based gears to the Surly. Cost: ~$300
3) Stop worrying so much: either just hop on the CX bike with a change of underwear and a credit card or pack up the Surly and get by with only one gear.
Sorry this was so long, but I'd appreciate any advice you can provide. Although option 1) seems to make the most sense, I'm somehow more drawn towards options 2) and 3)