As a boy and teen I had visions of getting on my bike and taking off into the wild blue yonder. Growing up in a family of modest means, I never had a really nice bike. I second hand single speed Schwinn Heavy Duty saw action as my road bike, my commuter and my offroad bike. I would ride that bike to the Schwinn shop in town and drool over the Schwinn Le Tours. There were a group of a half dozen or so in our neighborhood that had no idea what was on TV during the summer. We dreamed of and talked of taking a 5 day ride to my best friend's grandmothers to spend a couple weeks of our summer vacation. In the end, our parent's worries kept that vision from coming to fruition. As I grew older the realities of college, parenthood and my chosen profession kept me from being able to break away for a protracted tour.
Bicycling in one form or another has been a part of my life for most of my adult years. Somewhere in the back of my mind the seed of wanderlust had lay dormant for many years. I recently started visiting the touring forum here and posted a few questions to help get me started. I studied the websites of all the major manufacturers. I had several on my short list. I demoed some of the few available bikes I felt like would make a suitable touring platform and ended up with a Specialized Globe City.
Here it is adorned in its touring garb.
In its factory form it comes with a generator hub and front and rear lights and a very stout rear rack. I have added auxiliary led flashers. I have also added old school bull horn bar ends and heavy foam grips. I put on some Crank Brother's Smarty pedals. I bought Narshbar Waterproof panniers front and back and a Nashbar front rack. Pictured on the back rack is a TexSport waterproof bag that contains my tent and sleep roll. I added a Cateye Mity 8 as well. In all I have less than a grand in the bike (Nashbar coupons and returns are a good thing)
There is room for an upgrade on the rims as these are only 32 hole, but as my plans for now call for tours of 4-10 days in duration and loads that won't be teribly heavy, I think they'll suffice in the short run.
I have a few questions.
Would I benefit from having a good mechanic go over the wheels real good with a spoke tensionometer or is it one of those "if it ain't broke" kind of things.
Are most of you going clipless, clips and toe straps or plain platform for your touring pedals? Seems that a cleat failure could create a real problem on tour. Plain platform pedals can be found anywhere.
Is there anything else I should consider?
Thanks to all who have taken time to answer my questions so far.