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  1. #1
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    The fault lies between the commuting and touring forums!

    Late last year I was invited to do a tour of Yellowstone National Park in July 07. I obtained my wife’s blessing to go and started the planning stages. I reviewed my options; hmmm….. I own a full carbon fiber road bike and a fully suspended mountain bike. I quickly ruled out the fully suspended mountain bike as being too inefficient for touring. The road bike needed a triple to make it work. Investigation revealed the cost of changing out to a triple was almost ½ the cost of a new bike. I really didn’t want to spend that much money and have so little to show for it. So the question arose-what about a new bike?

    So the research began. I discovered BF and read almost the entire touring section going back to the beginning. I looked at the choices for a new bike and found I really didn’t like the bikes in the $600 range with the reason differing from bike to bike. Urgle!

    What about a used bike? Because I’m a bit hard to fit correctly, and I lack the confidence to make a good fit choice on a used bike, I ruled out purchasing a used bike. This put me in the realm of spending a significant sum of money. I really didn’t want to spend that much money on a bike that only saw use once or twice a year.

    I began to think seriously about not going on the Yellowstone tour. I became very sad over the thought. Weeks went by. I was sadder and sadder about the notion of not going on a tour. I returned to the touring section of BF again and again. I went to the Adventure Cycling site. I went to other cycling forum sites and read their touring section. I read large parts of machka’s, Ken Kifer’s and Bicycle Touring 101 sites. I read numerous blogs of folks who had done bike tours. I realized I really wanted to go on the tour, but just couldn’t justify the cost of a new bike dedicated to touring. I figured I’d only really use it once a year if all I used it for was touring.

    Then I started reading the commuting section. Wow, these folks are really nuts!!! They commute on their bikes in wind, rain, sleet, snow and the gloom of night. And a few of them work in offices, wearing coats and ties-just like I do. Maybe, just maybe, it would be possible to justify purchasing a new bike if I commuted?

    The commuting section is a lot bigger than the touring section. I only read back about 100 pages or so. Reading the posts on panniers showed lots of creative ways of packing. I tried out a Performance pannier, but my sport coats wouldn’t fit correctly in them without getting mushed and wrinkled. I read all the creative ways of leaving dress clothes at work, but decided it wouldn’t work for me. Then I found some folks who commuted using something from twowheelgear.com that had a way to pack up a coat and tie in a pannier.

    I had found a way to commute by bike to an office that required a coat and tie! I could justify purchasing a new bike designed for touring, but would be often used to commute! Halleluiah! Then came the decision-which bike?

    My prior readings had pointed me to two bikes, either the Surly Long Haul Trucker or the Trek 520. The Trek came in a really ugly green and The Surly had a color options I liked, so I tentatively decided on the LHT. I had my lbs spec one up and when going over the choices, I discovered the LHT in my frame size dictated 26” wheels. I really disliked 26 inchers and looked at the Crosschek, but didn’t like the geometry. Somewhere along the line, I found out the 2007 Trek was no longer green, but a most acceptable black color.

    So now my bank account is much smaller, but I got the Trek and will start commuting in a week or two.

    ITS ALL YOUR FAULT!!!


    Thank you.

  2. #2
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    I'm taking the Rhynolites off my LHT and mounting knobbies on them to toss onto my Trek 520 to go mountain biking with the guys from the bike shop as I type this, to show them, once again, how a real 'old skooler' rides any old thing...

    you'll like the Trek 520. kudos to you, enjoy your new ride!
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  3. #3
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    You should have just bought a Beckman touring bike with 26" wheels and all the packs and racks for about 6K. Well of course there are lots of working environments, but In the stuffy one I used work within, with tailored suits shirts and ridiculously expensive ties, Comuting by bike set my career back about 10 years. So the cost of a really expensive bike would have been trivial compared to the cost of riding one to work. About the day I retired they went to casual day every day. Though I gather that didn't really survive all that long.

  4. #4
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    why buy a beckman for 6,000 dollars with 26" wheels? The OP didn't WANT 26" wheels, peter.

    Enjoy the new bike, Oldmtngoat! The Trek 520 is a VERY versatile bike in my experience.... you should have a great time touring, commuting and everyday riding on it.

    Again, ENJOY~
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    Last edited by Bekologist; 01-27-07 at 05:39 PM.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  5. #5
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Enjoy the new bike. If you are now going to commute to work on it regularly the health benefit will quickly out strip any $$$ you invested to buy it. I love bike touring, but commuting is going to be the thing that revolutionizes your life if you haven't been doing it up till now,

    Congrats.
    safe riding - Vik
    VikApproved

  6. #6
    Senior Member pmseattle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist
    why buy a beckman for 6,000 dollars with 26" wheels? The OP didn't WANT 26" wheels, peter.

    Enjoy the new bike, Oldmtngoat! The Trek 520 is a VERY versatile bike in my experience.... you should have a great time touring, commuting and everyday riding on it.

    Again, ENJOY~
    Is that picture the washout on the Mountain Loop Highway?

  7. #7
    jcm
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    Obviously, Beko is very talented at Cut-n-Paste!

    OP:
    You did good. There's some great choices out there and the 520 is one of them. You'd have done well with a rigid old school MTB with skinnier road tires, too, but you were concerned about finding a used bike that fit...

  8. #8
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    yep, that's the Mtn Loop washout. Good eyes, PM Seattle!


    Restating the obvious, 520 is a very versatile bike, oldmtngoat. Enjoy it!
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    Last edited by Bekologist; 01-28-07 at 12:21 AM.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  9. #9
    Senior Member pmseattle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist
    yep, that's the Mtn Loop washout. Good eyes, PM Seattle!


    Restating the obvious, 520 is a very versatile bike, oldmtngoat. Enjoy it!
    What tires are you using on the gravel/dirt roads? I have Top Touring on my bike but they make me nervous on the rough stuff. I also rode the Mt. Loop last summer, by the way. Went in via Granite Falls/Verlot both times, and out through Darrington/Arlington the first time. The second time I went north from Darrington to N. Cascades Highway, Mt. Vernon and the Skagit flats. Skagit County has some of the nicest roads for bicycling in western Washington. Snohomish County is nerve-wracking.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by vik
    Enjoy the new bike. If you are now going to commute to work on it regularly the health benefit will quickly out strip any $$$ you invested to buy it. I love bike touring, but commuting is going to be the thing that revolutionizes your life if you haven't been doing it up till now,

    Congrats.
    Thanks for the encouragement. I estimate my gas savings will be about $20 week, so it will take a while to recoup the investment!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist
    Restating the obvious, 520 is a very versatile bike, oldmtngoat. Enjoy it!
    Thanks for the note. I rode it today and had a blast.

  12. #12
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    The 520 is kinda heavy, rides smooth and has tried and true components that will last longer than anyother factory built bike. Some folks don't like the gearing or stock wheels, but these are easy to change if ride awhile and want to make a change.

    The coolest thing about your new bike are those *old school* bar-end shifters-- they won't break down and it's easy to switch out different size cranks/chainrings without messing too much with the shifting.

    Good choice-- you're going to love it.

  13. #13
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    For the Northwesterners in here, I just rode Galbraith up by Bellingham today on the Trek 520.

    Rode "the Luge", "Evolution", some other trails I'm not sure the name of, but from the top on down. Rippin' up technical mountain bike single track on the 520. Still on the road triple stock gearing too.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 01-28-07 at 10:44 PM.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  14. #14
    Senior Member pmseattle's Avatar
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    You were riding Galbraith Mtn. on your 520 ?! Yikes. I used to take Amtrak up there for the day (it´s only a few miles from the station). The worst part was getting on the train back to Seattle at night with my bike and I both being filthy. The driveside chainstay cracked on my hardtail and now I don´t have a mountain bike. I have never even thought of riding single track on a road bike.

  15. #15
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    "why buy a beckman for 6,000 dollars with 26" wheels? The OP didn't WANT 26" wheels, peter."

    It's official! Irony is lost on Beko!

  16. #16
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    peterpan , your post had no irony in it. maybe you regret not buying a Beckman, peter.....

    Do you mind, I'm a Trek 520 owner posting to the Original Poster about Trek 520s and how versatile a bike it is.

    PMseattle, check your PMs.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  17. #17
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    I find myself wanting a 520, even though I am out of the touring stage of life for awhile.

    Based on Bek's experiences, they just seem like a very versatile ride.

    -D

  18. #18
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldmtngoat
    Thanks for the encouragement. I estimate my gas savings will be about $20 week, so it will take a while to recoup the investment!
    Look here for a more realistic picture of your savings when you commute by bicycle instead of a car. Do the calculation with a car and then with your bicycle mileage deducted. You'll be suprised.

    By the way, you won't really save any money because you'll end up paying about 10 times as much on bicycle junk but...hey...riding is more fun
    Stuart Black
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldmtngoat

    My prior readings had pointed me to two bikes, either the Surly Long Haul Trucker or the Trek 520. The Trek came in a really ugly green..........Somewhere along the line, I found out the 2007 Trek was no longer green, but a most acceptable black color.

    SIZE]
    Man...and I really like that "ugly" green color and bought my 2006 520 instead of a 2007 partly to avoid that tiresome, plain black.
    Other forms of transportation grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart. - Iris Murdoch

  20. #20
    jcm
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    Quote Originally Posted by derath
    I find myself wanting a 520, even though I am out of the touring stage of life for awhile.

    Based on Bek's experiences, they just seem like a very versatile ride.

    -D
    derath:
    Spot on.

    pmseattle:
    ahem... the 520 is not a road bike. It is a refined mountain bike

  21. #21
    jcm
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    Beko:
    Did you pick up that redneck mudflap in Verlot? I didn't know they did bikes up there. Just chainsaws. I'll be doing the Skagit this sunday: Sedro Wooley loop to Rockport. About 85 miles r/t.

    I agree with the guy who commented on Skagit roads vs Snohomish. It's getting pretty scary around here. So much construction of Fabulous New Homes In The Low $500xxx's. And, they are tweny-five mile out.

  22. #22
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcm
    pmseattle:
    ahem... the 520 is not a road bike. It is a refined mountain bike
    Ahem, yourself! The 520 is indeed a road bike in the proudest of tradition. Go read this month's Adventure Cyclist magazine for a wonderful article on how we tourists used to be the drivers for technology...not the racers. To return to those days...sigh
    Stuart Black
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  23. #23
    jcm
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute
    Ahem, yourself! The 520 is indeed a road bike in the proudest of tradition. Go read this month's Adventure Cyclist magazine for a wonderful article on how we tourists used to be the drivers for technology...not the racers. To return to those days...sigh
    Okay, okay, OKAY! I do tend to smoke alot of roadies on my 520...

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcm
    So much construction of Fabulous New Homes In The Low $500xxx's. And, they are tweny-five mile out.

    Man, housing is so different out there vs. here

    -D

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