Help with chainring for CC rider!
I am currently riding across america and am new to road riding and touring. I bought a used 2003 Novara Rondonee assuming it had a good touring setup. I heard about cassettes and switched my 12-28 with a 11-32. But now that I'm out I'm realizing that I still need lower gearing. I have a 52-42-30, I can't believe they sell them that way!! My gf has the same setup and just purchased a 26T chainring to switch out with her current 30T. I am wondering how easy it is to do this. The bike shop in Bakercity OR thinks it'll be ok. I am not going to hit another bike shop until Missoula, MT and am wondering if I should switch my 30 with a 26, (we heard a 24 would give us shifting problems, any other opinions on a 24-42-52 shifting well?)? I would like to eventually get rid of my 50T since I don't use it. My question is can I just buy 48-36-24 or 46-36-26 chainrings individually and switch each of them or do I have to get a mtn bike crank set, or do I need a crank set with a new bottom bracket too?? I am hoping I can just get three new chainrings piece meal, instead of a full set, and I definatly don't want to buy a new BB too. Anyways, someone help me out. I am on the transAm, so I would need to buy a crank remover, order it, and send it general delivery to some town in ID before I cross the bitterroots. Thanks, I hope I get quick responses because I will check this tommorrow night and order something quick before more hills kill me.