I have been back into biking for about 2 years after a MAJOR accident (me vs. car- car won) and a 20 year refrain from biking. Two years ago, I bought a Trek MultiTrack hybrid and LOVED it. I'd forgotten how much fun a bicycle was. About 6 months ago, I bought a Trek fitness bike to help accelerate the weight loss. Right now, I can push the hybrid (without bike shoes) 40 miles with minimal stop time and many friends tell em its time to get a "real road bike" and leave the beefier frames for commutes and short more intense rides.
This gives me 2 choices, racing or touring bike.
I'm leaning toward touring for a slightly longer wheel base as I'm a pretty big guy, even with the weight off (I'll NEVER drop out of the CLYDESDALE class).
My question is: What should I look for in a good touring bike under $1000? If you have a specific brand/model, that's fine, I'd like to hear it. If you simply have a set of features I should definitely get or something I should definitely avoid, that's fine too. There's lots of thinking through to be done, my problem is, I don't even know north from south when it comes to this bike type and how they perform.