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!!!