Next summer a couple of friends and myself are going to take a cross country trip from portland maine to portland oregon. We are all fairly new to cycling and have never done any touring. I have been checking this site frequently and am amazed at the amount of knowledge and resource that are available here and know that I will be using alot of your advice over the next year as I begin to plan out our trip. My problem is where to start. Mainly with a bike. Last summer I bought a cheap walmart (i know i know, i'm embarassed by that fact) road bike, mainly because i wasnt sure how long my cycling enthusiasm would last and i didnt want to blow too much money at the start. So I'm definitely looking for a new bike, and would like to get one fairly soon.
I've considered three main options: (1) buy a new bike (probably fuji since that is what our lbs sells) (2) look for a used bike on craigs list and ebay, (3) or build my bike from scratch.
The trip is going to cost a lot of money with being on the road for 3 months (we're taking our time and enjoying the trip) so i'm looking for something cheap, but i dont want to sacrifice quality. The idea of building my own bike is appealing to me, although i'm not overly mechanically inclined. Does that save you money? While I said if I'd get a new bike I'd get a Fuji, I'm not overly impressed with our lbs so i wouldnt be upset if i didnt use that one. So any suggestions on another qualified touring bike of resonable price would help. Any other random advice for our trip would be great too. Thanks for the help you've been for me already and I'm looking forward to gleaning from your experience over the next year.