My wife and I are planning a tour across the country in 2010 and have just started preparing and getting every that we need. Most importantly we finally picked up our new 2009 Raleigh Sojourn's from the LBS along a with a metric butt ton of other stuff. This weekend was a test ride of the new bikes and it ended up being a test of our selves also =) We decided to go the ride the Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park, we stayed for two nights at the Lewis Mountain Campground.
We did two rides over two days, one from the campground to Big Meadows, and the second a 32 mile ride (round trip) to the highest point of the Skyline Drive, stopped and ate lunch at Skyland and then rode back for a total of 2031 ft of climbing, which you can see here (http://www.mapmyride.com/ride/united...n/484194530119).
The bikes treated us really nice, very stable solid feeling ride, and fast to. We got up to 34 mph on one downhill, probably could have done faster, but there is a speed limit Additionally we swapped out the smallest stock chain ring for a 26T to give us more climbing power, and boy am I glad that we did. We load up our rear panniers (Axiom LaSalle's) to give a good idea of what touring will be like, and used that low granny gear a decent amount up those hills. By the end we had to stop and take breaks off the bikes every so often, but we didn't walk up the hills or give up
Anyways I justed want to say hi and share our little weekend trip. I'll be around a lot more learning about everything. Below are some pictures of the ride, really awesome place to ride, no shoulders, but the speed limit is 35 and the wildlife is EVERYWHERE
Nice looking bikes and the Skyline is certainly a very good stamina test. I rode part of the Blue Ridge Parkway this summer and found I highly enjoyed that (great views, cool temperatures, enjoyable climbs, excellent cardiovascular exercise). Sounds like a very good test for you two.