I am doing a volunteer program called Katimavik which ends June 8th, 2005 in which I travel around the country working as a full time volunteer. I will be in Vancouver BC when the program ends and the cycling trip I am planning is a 733 mile or 1180km trip from where I will finish the program in Vancouver, through the mountains, to my home in Edmonton Alberta. This will be my first long distance cycling trip and I am starting to be a little intimidated by the magnitude of what I want to undertake. It isn’t exactly a very good starter trip. However, doing this trip is is very important to me.
I will be buying my bike in Vancouver and I need a bike that will get me through the steep grades in the mountains while loaded for solo touring. I would also like the bike to be adaptable for commuting and doing bike tours across the prairies at a later date. I don’t have a lot of money. I am looking for a starter bike that is sturdy and reliable. I need something that will get me places and last but it doesn’t need to be super light or the easiest ride. At the moment my price range for the bike is somewhere around $1400.
I would like to use front and back panniers for the trip. I am also planning on purchasing an two or three person backpacker tent. I don’t plan on bringing a stove and I am thinking relying on cold food that is easy to pack for meals.
I will have between two and three months to train (explore Vancouver) before the trip. I also plan to take a cycle repair course before I begin and possibly a course on bear safety. My first priority will be to pick up a bike so I can start training.
I am looking for any kind of advice that will help me with my trip. Type of touring bike, tips about the route, good books on the region, good books for solo touring/cycling, what kind of things to look out for to make sure my bike is correct for my body type, what to look out for when shopping for a bike, could a second hand touring bike be a good idea, suggestions for saving money on bike and gear etc. I will have more specific questions as my research progresses. Any advice/information you can give would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks a lot!