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  1. #1
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    Cross country road trip - Would this bike do it?

    So I'm a complete noob when it comes to cycling. But this spring summer I'm going to be having a couple months ( or longer if I desire ) off of work/school and I would really like to travel down to the US and see all the amazing things down there.

    I've decided I want to do it all on a bike to maintain my fitness level as I wouldn't be hitting the gym.

    I read alot of stories about cross country trips and to me it sounds like an adventure I'd enjoy. My only problem is cash. I don't have the $1000 to spend on a touring bike so I have come down to 2 options.

    There is a trek 520 in my area used for sale - they want $600 but I think I could get it for $400... it has no racks or panniers on it so I'm guessing that would be another $200 atleast?

    On the other hand.. the local Canadian Tire has this bike. http://www.canadiantire.ca/browse/pr...=1176488550376
    for $200 - As far as I can tell that seems like a pretty decent bike - Would I be able to travel across the country on it though?

    Any input is greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    Forever CLYDE ! cyberpep's Avatar
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    Hello Appleman, If you have riden the Trek 520 for a extended ride and the bike seems to fit you and it is in good shape then in my opition even a used 520 is better than any Canadian Tire bike. Crappy Tire sells millions of bikes at cheap prices for a reason. Honestly a good touring bike, which the 520 is, will be worth the $200-400 difference in price. Have a great adventure.
    2003 Giant Cypress R
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  3. #3
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyberpep
    Hello Appleman, If you have riden the Trek 520 for a extended ride and the bike seems to fit you and it is in good shape then in my opition even a used 520 is better than any Canadian Tire bike. Crappy Tire sells millions of bikes at cheap prices for a reason. Honestly a good touring bike, which the 520 is, will be worth the $200-400 difference in price. Have a great adventure.
    +1 The 520 is designed to carry stuff all day long and still get you where you are going with a minimum of pain (not pain free, just not the maximum )

    Now I'm a equipment junkie. I love high end stuff but that doesn't mean everyone has to. Although you do get what you pay for, you can get racks and bags for less than $200. For example, a regular Blackburn type rack will give you years of use for $40. There are lots of front racks available too. Carry your load in a 60 front/40 rear split because the bike handles better that way. MEC (your equivalent of REI) has these. Any of the racks listed would work well for even a long tour.

    For panniers I'd go with these for the front and these for the back. Pack heavy small stuff in the front (cooking gear, liquids and food) and bulky light weight stuff in the back (clothes, etc.). The panniers aren't going to be as good as Ortliebs or Arkels. They probably are going to be water resistant but you can get around that by putting all of your clothes in ziplock bags. I do that even with my Ortliebs because everything is organized.

    Get a good stove. An MSR whisperlite is kind of messy but it's a good rugged stove. I prefer propane but getting canisters in the middle of nowhere can be tricky. Lots of people like alcohol stoves but I'm not that patient. I want my water to boil in the morning so I can warm up with a cup of coffee and I don't want to wait 10 minutes for it to happen.

    For cook sets, you can get a marginal one for cheap but it will dent easily and probably not be teflon coated. Teflon is important because it will save you time and effort in clean up. My wife and I made up our own set 20 years ago by purchasing a teflon lined aluminum sauce pan (1 and/or 2 L) and a small frying pan. We removed the handles and the pot nested together nicely and the frying pan covers either pot and can be used as a plate. We used paper towels or rubber mats to keep them from rubbing together and rubbing off the coating. It's cheap. The pots are very durable (we still use them for car camping) and because the aluminum is heavy gauge, they retain their heat better and cook better too.

    Have fun and be resourceful and you can get on the road for a lot less than some old fat rich guy gets on the road for
    Last edited by cyccommute; 04-13-07 at 03:04 PM.
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  4. #4
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Agreed with Cyccocommute here, good advice!
    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute
    +1 The 520 is designed to carry stuff all day long and still get you where you are going with a minimum of pain (not pain free, just not the maximum )

    Now I'm a equipment junkie. I love high end stuff but that doesn't mean everyone has too. Although you do get what you pay for, you can get racks and bags for less than $200. For example, a regular Blackburn type rack will give you years of use for $40. There are lots of front racks available too. Carry your load in a 60 front/40 rear split because the bike handles better that way. MEC (your equivalent of REI) has these. Any of the racks listed would work well for even a long tour.

    For panniers I'd go with these for the front and these for the back. Pack heavy small stuff in the front (cooking gear, liquids and food) and bulky light weight stuff in the back (clothes, etc.). The panniers aren't going to be as good as Ortliebs or Arkels. They probably are going to be water resistant but you can get around that by putting all of your clothes in ziplock bags. I do that even with my Ortliebs because everything is organized.

    Get a good stove. An MSR whisperlite is kind of messy but it's a good rugged stove. I prefer propane but getting canisters in the middle of nowhere can be tricky. Lots of people like alcohol stoves but I'm not that patient. I want my water to boil in the morning so I can warm up with a cup of coffee and I don't want to wait 10 minutes for it to happen.

    For cook sets, you can get a marginal one for cheap but it will dent easily and probably not be teflon coated. Teflon is important because it will save you time and effort in clean up. My wife and I made up our own set 20 years ago by purchasing a teflon lined aluminum sauce pan (1 and/or 2 L) and a small frying pan. We removed the handles and the pot nested together nicely and the frying pan covers either pot and can be used as a plate. We used paper towels or rubber mats to keep them from rubbing together and rubbing off the coating. It's cheap. The pots are very durable (we still use them for car camping) and because the aluminum is heavy gauge, they retain their heat better and cook better too.

    Have fun and be resourceful and you can get on the road for a lot less than some old fat rich guy gets on the road for
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


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  5. #5
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    Thanks guys, I was out and about so I went and checked out the bike Canadian Tire had, and yeah it wasn't too good so I didn't want it. Hopfully I'll be able to pick up the trek bike - Thanks for the recommendation on the panniers I had no clue MEC carried that stuff, I'll be sure to pick those up!

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