Hey all, been postponing this thread for too long. 'Ere goes.
So I'm in the latter stages of planning and preparing for a cross-country tour. I'll be starting in Austin, Texas and leaving for Santa Fe, New Mexico within the next 15 days. From Santa Fe I'll turn to Tuscon, Arizona, at which point an assessment of funds will be made and the rest of the trip planned. I've got a few questions concerning my route (for example, should I head west from Austin and cut up through the mountains to Santa Fe or head north initially and cut west around lubbock?). Before I go and post a huge thread I'm wondering if this is the appropriate forum to consult. Should that discussion go in the regional forums? I also have a few questions about my bicycle and the supplies I'll be taking with me. I think this is the right forum for that so I'll go ahead with those.
I'm still finishing my bicycle, but so far this is how it's shaping up:
I started out with a late 80's (roughly dated by the presence of U-brake bosses underneath the chainstays) Nishiki Cascade mountain frame, no fork. Its measurements are 60cm top tube (c-c), 50cm seat tube (c-c), and 42mm chainstays (c-d). I'm 6'1 with a pubic bone hight of 86cm and wear a size 10.5 shoe. Since then I've acquired the following (starred items came from my other bikes or the Austin Yellow Bike Project):
*Nameless, cheap fork. No suspension. Cantilever bosses and double eyelets. Brings it to a 110.5mm wheelbase.
*Random Shimano cantilevers
Dia-compe 990 U-brake
Shimano barcons -- they were advertised 7-speed, but the part number (SL-B550) suggests 8-speed
*Nice wide, deep “anatomic” drop handlebars
Sugino XD300 cranks 26/36/46
Kalloy 25.8mm seatpost
*Some old Lyotard quill pedals, or cheap Wellgo SPDs
Topeak rear rack with that handy slide-and-clip mechanism
Rivendell Nitto Big Front Rack
Arkel T-42 panniers
*Ritchey Logic saddle
*32-spoked asymmetrical bontrager corvair rim with a shimano C201 freehub
*36-spoked Weinmann 519(?) with a Shimano HB-RM40
*Nameless 28/24/21/18/15/13/11 cassette (seems to be really nice though)
*Deore rear derailer
Topeak MTX trunk bag (without the fold-out panniers)
I acquired the Rivendell Nitto rack because I plan on forming my front panniers out of chloroplast and shaping them into some type of fairing. All of those triangles should provide enough lashing points and strength to support it. However, the rack isn't really fitting “properly” on my nameless fork (blades are too wide). I've sort of made it work, but I'm considering picking up a Surly Long Haul Trucker fork.
Anyone actually used one of the Solio solar chargers? I was considering setting up a solar panel until I found this. I'm not going to be using a laptop, but it would be very convenient to keep the phone and mp3 player charged. I'm just about certain I'll skimp on other things to get this. Anyone have exceptionally negative or positive experiences with it? I figure I won't have a lack of sunshine where I'm riding...
Also, I was thinking about converting an old palm pilot to use as a trip computer, as described in this link. Anyone done this?
I'm still making a decision about the saddle: Brooks Flyer, B17, or save my money? Also still figuring out the lights, the fenders (SKS P50, perhaps?), and whether or not I want to keep the drops. I'm toying with the idea of putting some moustache bars on it because I tend to have lower back pain in drops on extended rides. Maybe I'll pick up some “aero” handlebar extensions to rest on. I need to figure out the handlebars before I figure out the stem.
I scour the archives most of the time but I need to bounce some ideas around. Thanks!