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NOOB Planning a "BIG TRIP" "NEED HELP!"

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NOOB Planning a "BIG TRIP" "NEED HELP!"

Old 03-10-08, 04:24 PM
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NOOB Planning a "BIG TRIP" "NEED HELP!"

Hello Everyone. Just found this website or forums. I have been looking for as much information as I could get.

I do not have alot of Exp on Touring but my friends and I are planning a very big trip.

We are planing to go to Europe.

We are planning to 5 months but would like to stay 7.

We want to bike about 3500Km - 6500Km.

We are going for sure one way or another but what we are looking to find out is:



1. What is the cheapest amount that we can spend on a fully finished Touring bike, without sacrificing any quality. (Panniers, spare tires, 2-4 extra tubes tools for Bike only and some on or however many of each you would need?

2. What would be better for Touring for the money and for the Exp... A touring road bike or a Recumbent...

3. If I set my personal budget to $1000 could I get a recumbent Touring bike... or Road Touring bike?

4. Is there anyone that Lives in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada that would want to hang out that knows alot about Biking and or could help me learning alot more about Bikes and prices and building my own and so on.


We Should be leaving In May sometime and coming back to September'ish.

There will be three of us all above 20 myself being 23.

Thank you in advance for any help offered.
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Old 03-10-08, 04:33 PM
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How many kilometers have you logged on a recumbent? Do you feel comfortable riding one? Have you packed a recumbent or an upright bicycle in a bicycle box before? Are you familiar with the regulations regarding transporting cycles on a plane.

These are a few of the things you may want to think about as you prepare.
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Old 03-10-08, 04:40 PM
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Starting questions (I'm sure there will be a couple of others):

Do you have a list of expected clothing, tools, parts, gear? This all weighs something that you have to carry.
Do you have all of your overseas requirements complete (passports, immunizations, contact info, emergency numbers etc)
Have you started ramping up your daily mileage to match your touring mileage so your body does not get the shock of a lifetime in Europe? If your daily mileage is up to snuff, can you get the bike fully loaded so you can practice riding with the bike loaded?
Purchase the bike relatively soon so you can "break-in' the bike. Three months is not a lot of time to make sure a bike fully fitted and comfortable.
Have you estimated your budget for food, lodging etc?
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Old 03-10-08, 04:50 PM
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You can also start with the newbies guide to touring:

https://www.bikeforums.net/touring/180433-newbie-s-guide-touring-bikes.html
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Old 03-10-08, 05:56 PM
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I seriously doubt you can get a good-quality recumbent for $1000. It's also not really necessary unless you have back issues.

I think 6500km in 5 months is VERY doable for a bunch of 20 year olds. By my calculations, if you're riding 20 days a month, that's around 40 miles a day. No problem.

I agree with elfich that you ought to start training now, and take it slow at the start of the tour. If you go from zero miles on the bike per week to 150 (which is a mere 30 miles per day for 5 days), you are likely to get some overuse injuries. Ideally you'd want to increase your mileage no more than 10% per week.

Since there are several of you, you may consider having one person (perhaps the strongest rider?) get a trailer, which can hold a pretty good volume of Stuff.

As to that Stuff. If you're buying all new:

Surly LHT or REI Randonee: $950 or REI Safari: $850
Tent: $125-150
Down sleeping bag: $150
Sleeping pad: $90
cooking supplies: $50
rear panniers: $50 (cheap pair) or $150-200 (Ortlieb waterproof)
handlebar bag: $50
spare tires, tubes, bike supplies: $100
nice saddle: $100
2 pair bike shorts: $150

$1650-1950 for the bike & camping gear. I'm sure you can get some of it used, although I would definitely buy the sleeping bag and spare parts new.

Definitely get bike shorts, and don't skimp. Other clothing is less important IMO, although base layers are really helpful.

Plus you might be facing transportation fees. Airlines usually charge $100 each way if you take a bike on the plane.

For a 5 month trip with a few pals, I'd get for each person: 2 spare tubes, 2 patch kits, 1 spare tire, some extra spokes. If none of you guys currently own bikes, I'd at least try to make sure that all your bikes have the same tire size (either 26" or 700c) so you can all use each other's tire / wheel replacements.

Have fun....
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Old 03-10-08, 07:32 PM
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Wow thanks everyone for all this information. The working out thing is a good idea for them formyself I run and train everyday. I am in good shape but never the less build for a totally different purpose. If you might have some good ork outs that will help for biking that would be great.

Ok well here is some more details on what I have looked into...

Sorry my post was short and left many things out I was not sure that I would get any reply's so I did not take the time nor effort to really put where we stand now and so on... SO here we go...

We all have no bikes as of now.

I have biked before but nothing really worth comparing to this trip. It was all in one week and it was from Kitchener, Ontario to London, Ontario and Back which should be under 300Km and also from Kitchener, Ontario to St. Catharines, Ontario. Which again is in and or around 300 Km. That was last summer.

To Machka All three of us have never even sat on a real touring Recumbent. We went to some local bike shops but they had nothing close. So really just going off what I have been reading and that is that yes although they are biggest harder to turn, can sometimes be harder to see on the road and it is no easy feet to get up any real hills they are alot more comfortable to sit in and have a higher on the flat average speed by a good amount and you will spend more time looking up and at everything around you as apossed to the ground infront of you.

Everything above like I have said have been things that I have read and NOT from my own personal Exp...

This is why I asked which might be better.

The idea alone of sitting in a more comfortable seat and being able to see more that is around you and being faster on the flats and down hilll seems very apealing to myself. I am hoping or leening towards or wanting to get a recumbent but I am 50% in terms of what is really going to happen.

Also to Machka...

I have been or feel like the one out of all of us doing teh homework but rfom the few weeks I have been reading up and looking for more information I have not been able to find anything about The cost of bringing a bike on a plane with us and or having the bike shipped via USP, FedX or any shipping company. I was thinking about call but I get I have just been putting that question off for now until I see what type of bike that I will be working with and some measurements.

To Elfich...
Here is a small list of things that we will be bringing with us just for anything and not only for biking.

Cut off Pants/ or tare away pants
Long Johns/ underpants
Socks not sure of how many pares was thinking about 10 pars
Underware about the same 10 of them once again not sure.
Deodorant three sticks not sure of how many.
Camra With 2 or 3 mem stick 2 GB each Not sure
Tooth Brush
Sun Screen
Sun Glasses
Lock/ Bike Lock A Rope style lock not a stiff of U shaped one. <Combo lock as well so you can not lose the Key>
Razors or Shaver of some sort.
Inflatable Neck Rest For bad or uncomfortable areas.
A Swiss army knife of some sort of all purpose knive.
A small self powered flash light
A compass
Watch Countdown timer and Chron... Required Heart rate would be nice.
Rain Suit
First aid Kit with everything in it.
Some Vitamins For times we will be sort on our fresh veggies. lol.
Insect repellent
Foot patch kits Like first aid but mainly for foot Blisters and such.
Alot of plastic bags for wet things and dirty things.
Rubber Bands
Soap And a very seal proof hard container
Shampoo
Two pairs of shoes 1 all terrain shoes and 2 something like sanddles or something water proof
Maps of all the areas
Canadian Flags and patches shirts and stuff To trade and sell and let people know who we are and where we are from.
Small rope and string
Small rock climbing clips 5 or so.
a good HAT
Tent
Sleeping bag

also I am going to check out that starters guild right now. Bit long and I have been reading for many hours a day so I have been alittle bit lazy. I will stop slacking.. PLus it is nice when answears come to you once in a while without you having to ask the questions Haha.

//Stuff for bikes:
Small bag size or attack to bike size air pump for tires
a spare peddle
spare tire
some extra tubes 2ish Not sure
Spare chain
1 or so extra hand grips
pare of biking gloves
Sports goggles unlike sun glasses to stop wind and dirt and mud, raid from getting in the eyes on bad days and for dirt road areas
Extra break pads


Not sure what the weight of all this is at this point but an extra bike rack or something to fix a bike rack in case one breaks.

Humm if there are other things please feel free to add them and I will put it on my to buy list.. PS I have most of these things already. <Been buying them as we go>

To Bacciagalupe
The working out part I think is a very good idea. would you happen to have a few type of work outs to try for a couple of 20 year olds lol.

I would think maybe a recumbent bike at the gym leg squats and running... if you got some I would love to know them to try them out.

Having the same bikes has been our plan from the start so that we can all share and carrie in all much less stuff and be able to help each other.

The bike shorts is a great idea for sure thank you for that, just finished reading that when getting a regular Road touring bike and not a recumbent you can get the shorts to help make the seating more livable.

Hummm thats it for now... One other thing is we are looking to make some new friends...

People that are into being outside and that might be up for biking next summer across canada or in the USA.

We have facebook and MSN so if you have alot interest and or Exp feel free to add me I would love to talk...

My MSN and Email is:
Xp-chi@hotmail.com

and my face book name is:
Keith Widdop

Thank you all again all this information has been great.
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Old 03-10-08, 07:45 PM
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Riding a recumbent is an interesting experience if you've never done it before. I've managed up to about 20 kms on two different ones, building up to that over several tries, and it still felt weird. If you are going to go with a recumbent (and one day I'd like to get one myself), I'd recommend getting ahold of one NOW and start practicing ... it takes more practice than an upright bicycle. Also, you still need to make all sorts of adjustments to get the fit right, just like you do with an upright bicycle. I had knee pain with the first recumbent I tried because it wasn't set up just right. And, your butt will still be sore if you spend several hours on one. Try sitting in a recumbent-like position on your bed, propped up with pillows, all nice and comfortable. Stay there for 2 or 3 hours in that same position. How do you feel? Randonneurs who ride recumbents complain about "recumbent butt". Now I'm not saying they aren't comfortable and aren't the way to go ... I'm just saying that they aren't necessarily as comfortable as you are imagining.

Here's your information regarding costs of travelling with a bicycle:
https://www.ibike.org/encouragement/travel/bagregs.htm
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Old 03-10-08, 08:26 PM
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figure out the weather in the places you are going to so you can save on clothing and emergency gear.
remember also you can get a lot of stuff in europe esp holland, germany area for cheap.
start of with rear panniers only and then if you need more crap, add it there.
from may to september, im almost certain you can tour with just 2 panniers in the back, and not even big ones.

just get wet. why worry about the rain in europe in may - sep.

don't think too much, just go.
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Old 03-10-08, 09:06 PM
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Where are you starting in Europe? Might be cheaper to buy the bike there, depending on what you decide on eg. if you're flying into Germany and planning on touring on a mid-priced flat bar bike the transport costs would be a significant percentage of the cost of the bike. On the other hand you want to know you'll be comfortable after a couple of hundred km in the saddle, so taking your own bike (or at least being very, very sure of sizing and saddle choices) is what most people would do - but if you're buying new anyway, at least do some research on what's available.

In addition to the tips / tricks and newbies guide, look at the Bike for Africa thread on there forums, Tzuo Han Law's journal on crazyguyonabike.com, any other stuff on Europe on crazyguyonabike, kenkifer.com, biketouring101. Have a browse through other threads here, if you click on the "replies" column you'll get the most active threads listed first. Lonely Planet thorn tree forum is also good.

Sure recumbents have some good points, and Europe is the place to be in terms of being close to the major manufacturers (esp Germany and the Netherlands). Trikes are a nice easy ride, but slow uphill and expensive. My gut feeling would be to avoid a bent unless you can test ride first (eg. hire for a weekend and do an overnight trip). Faster on the flats (maybe) and downhills (definitely) and slower on the uphills (definitely) means slower overall because you lose more time uphill than you gain downhill. We're talking a touring recumbent here, not a fully faired lowracer.

With your new gear, try to get light and compact gear (although it has to be durable enough to survive the trip). eg. do a search on lightweight or ultralight backpacking or bikepacking to get some ideas. Again some stuff may be best bought over there; eg there's a UK company called Montane that makes some of the best lightweight rain gear in the world (although May-Sept around the Mediterranean shouldn't see too much call for rain gear, a nylon cheapie road cycling top may be enough). It's also fun to bring back some hardcore gear and be able to say to your mates, Oh, I bought this tent in the UK, or these Ortliebs were on special at the factory outlet in Germany, or I bought this backpack in Greece from a NZ guy on his way back home, or whatever.

Hey don't forget phrase books for the Mediterranean countries (everyone in Northern Europe seems to speak English though). Easy to buy 2nd hand as you go. Buy the Lonely Planet Greek phrasebook new, my dad wrote it
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Old 03-10-08, 09:27 PM
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Suggest you go here: www.crazyguyonabike.com and inhale every tour experience you can.
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Old 03-11-08, 12:11 AM
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If money is an issue, then forget about recumbents. They are major dosh, and normal bikes are just fine.

My must have list includes:

- Brooks saddle (comfy backside)
- Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires (no flats)
- Tubus racks (rock solid)
- Ortlieb Waterproof panniers
- Showers Pass Elite Rain Jacket (the Rain Gods are powerful in Europe)
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Old 03-11-08, 12:31 AM
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"My must have list includes:

- Brooks saddle (comfy backside)
- Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires (no flats)
- Tubus racks (rock solid)
- Ortlieb Waterproof panniers
- Showers Pass Elite Rain Jacket (the Rain Gods are powerful in Europe) "

...there goes the budget...
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Old 03-11-08, 06:56 AM
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I agree with Bacciagalupe's advice for the most part.

Some cheaper alternatives might be fine though.

I would add the Windsor touring and Fuji touring to the excellent choices he mentioned for bikes. Three of us used Windsor Touring bike ($599 including shipping) coast to coast last summer on the TransAmerica and were quite happy with them. If money is tight (or even if it isn't) they are a good option. You will want lower gearing, We added a Sugino XD600 crank for $80 to get lower gearing. We loved the STI shifters. They are so much nicer than barcons IMO. I consider them a huge plus.

If money is tight... We found that using a 4 man tent for 3 of us we minimized camping fees since some places charged per tent. We used a 9 pound monster, but shared among three people that wasn't too bad. It could be a disaster if you don't get along well though.

I used a synthetic 32 degree sleeping bag from Slumberjack that was fine and cost about $80. I would avoid the one with the funny zippered vent at the feet like my Super Guide has or plan on wearing wool socks at night. The superguide was OK as long as I wore the warm socks on cool nights. It seemed like a good idea but was a cold spot. If I could do it over I might have picked a 20 degree model depending on when you will be going.

We liked the waterproof panniers from Nashbar or Performance very well and they are WAY LESS expensive that Ortleibs etc.

We didn't upgrade saddles and were happy with the decision.

I tried various shorts and found the cheaper ones I tried lacking. Pearl Izumi Ultrasensor shorts worked out great for me, they wick moisture away well and dry quickly. They are even OK when damp. Sometimes I washed them out and put them right back on and they were OK. YMMV but I thought they were way better than others that I had tried.
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Old 03-11-08, 06:57 AM
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i havent read this entire thread, but you should be able to find a used recumbent suitable for touring for under $1,000. That might not get you everything you need but it should get you the bike.

you might try looking into picking up a used BikeE. They arent exactly the best touring bike but you can get a decent used (they dotn make them anymore) functional one for as cheap as $250. You can set them up with a rear rack the run panniers, or you can tow a bob trailer. If you can find a BikeE you could definitely buy it and get it set up for touring for less than $1000. Will it be the best quality touring bike? no, but it will probably get the job done. THey have two 20" tires, support fenders, etc etc.

I got my swb uss Vision r40 used in 2003-ish for $500. It's had a lot of upgrades and been on a LOT of touring miles since then, but I could have toured on it as it was. It's now lwb and I'm in the process of setting it up above seat steering.

AS far as recumbent butt. well, I can't say i've ever experienced it. I've been on my recumbent for as much as 150 miles in one day , as much as 14 days straight, and I didnt notice anything. I've also done a fair amount of touring on upright bikes and own them as well. You cant even compare how your butt feels after a 100 mile day on a recumbent compared to an upright. It's just not the same thing. That is why I cant bring myself to tour on anything else.

Dissadvantages of the bent are that they can indeed be a pain to ship if you need to, and they are tricky as best in high volume trafficky areas.

For shipping:

They can fit in a regular bike box minus the seat. I've been on plains, trains, and of course in cars with my bent and although boxing it up can be done, expect to take most of the bike apart and expect to spend half a day setting it back up again when you get to your destination. Most airlines will charge you extra to bring a bike box, and most busses will only allow you one or two boxes before they charge you. With pannier or a BOB trailer, the bike, the seat, all that adds up. Only some trains allow bikes. There used to be one called the vermonter that went from nyc to montreal that you could throw youor bike on. it was great and we used it for a montreal to philadelphia tour, however the train no longer allows bikes...

in traffic,

you need mirrors since you cant stand up in the seat and turn around and see whats going on around you. you already look like a huge dork just because you're riding a recumbent, so you may as well add some bright colors and/or a flag to chances are better people will see you.

gotta run but I'll try to chime in with more info in a bit..
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Old 03-11-08, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by xiaodidi
"My must have list includes:

- Brooks saddle (comfy backside)
- Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires (no flats)
- Tubus racks (rock solid)
- Ortlieb Waterproof panniers
- Showers Pass Elite Rain Jacket (the Rain Gods are powerful in Europe) "

...there goes the budget...
Just to provide a different perspective on these. Skip all of these if the budget is tight at all. I am sure it is all nice stuff, but you don't *need* it.

Brooks saddle - Many love them. I wasn't crazy about mine. It was just OK, nothing magical.

Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tires - very puncture resistant, very heavy. I consider them highly recommended in the US west where there are goat head thorns, other places. I would wear out the stock tires first and then decide what to replace them with if you aren't in thorn country.

Tubus Racks - Very nice, but so are the Blackburn EX-1 rear rack and the front Blackburn Lowrider clones from places like Nashbar or Performance. They are very sturdy and will last a lifetime. If you want the finest and have unlimited budget go for the Tubus, but don't feel bad using cheaper racks.

Ortleib - Again very nice. Again far from necessary. The cheap Waterproof models From Performance or Nashbar work fine for me and seem to still be like new after a 4244 mile trip.

Showers Pass Jacket - I hear great things about this one, but... I have never found the need for premium rain gear and like a cheap coated nylon raincoat and pants that pack tiny and weigh little. I resign myself to the fact that I will be wet from either rain or sweat and live with it. Breathable fabric never seems to pass moisture as fast as I sweat and I have always found it to be colder that non-breathable fabric.
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Old 03-11-08, 07:59 AM
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I also haven't read this whole thread, but it looks like you are eliciting a lot of great advice.

For the Recumbent, I wouldn't do that unless you have a back / other physical issue that makes a diamond-frame (regular) bike painful to ride. The speed you gain down hill & flat you will lose on the uphills, and if you buy a cheap one it could be really really heavy.

Also, for shipping overseas, I investigated that for an Australia trip a few years ago, and it was WAY less expensive to take the bike on the plane. Plane rules are changing right now, but are different PER AIRLINE, so the way to figure it out is to try to figure out exactly what ticket you are buying and then go to the airlines' web site and look for their particular baggage rules for the particular class of flight (international).

A few years ago, most airlines were FREE to carry a bike across the ocean, but cost up to $100 per direction (not flight leg) domestically. This is all changing right now, so get your ticket early, investigate the airline's policy, and print it out and take it with you to the airport in case it changes in the mean time.

Also look into what size a recumbent bike packs to, and if the airline charges are different for it. Some airlines also have oversize & overweight regulations, so you have to figure out how big your box is going to be and how much it will weigh. You'll have to find some recumbent riders to ask about that one.

Oh, and there are also a couple kinds of folding/take-apart bikes that can get packed really small and maybe not get a bike-charge at all. Look up "Bike Friday" and S&S Couplers, as long as you are buying a bike new. If I ever get a custom tour bike (unlikely) I'll get one of those.

Cheers, and have fun!
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Old 03-11-08, 08:07 AM
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As others have mentioned some of these already, usual touring bike suspects in the $1000 are:

Surly LHT (can buy online from jensonusa.com)
Trek 520
Novara Randonee/Safari
Cannondale tourer
Fuji Touring/Windsor Tourist (same bike pretty much, but you can go to bikesdirect.com to purchase a Windsor Tourist online and will leave you substantial change from a $1000).

For recumbents, it's a much harder matter. Though as a recumbent rider I don't think that they are that much more difficult to ride from a "regular" bike -just incredibly different -they do offer great advantages such as increased comfort and much better visibility, but at a premium cost. Someone suggested a used BikeE -I think that's an excellent suggestion. Concerning recumbents, one of my life's ambitions is to cycle across the states, and my first choice to do that would be a recumbent just to get the view. However, one issue that can come up is transportation; if you need to use airlines or trains regularly you might get some issues.

For these reasons and expense, my best recommendation would be for a "regular" touring bike. As to how much else you wish to spend, it really depends on what you consider necessary. E.g.

-Many people have toured with Nashbar touring panniers at around $70. Sounds like they are adequate but certainly not as good as more expensive but higher quality panniers such as Arkel.
-you might be fine with the stock saddle that comes with a bike. Others will expound the value of a Brooks saddle at $100.
-if you are camping, you obviously need a tent, mat and sleeping bag. Sure you could use a cheap tent from Walmart ($40?) or get an Agnes Seedhouse at a much greater cost but higher quality and lighter weight and pack size. Or you could get a cheap sleeping bag at $30 that will keep you just as warm as a $100 one, just that it might be twice the weight and twice the bulk.
-likewise, if you wish to use clipless pedals, some people tour fine on the $35 Nashbar mtb pedals.... or some people would swear by other pedals that costs twice as much.

You get the picture; it's very easy to add extra hundreds of dollars so easily. My best guess based on my own equipment would be to go the "middle" way of expense -not the best stuff, but good stuff nonetheless:

Surly LHT $900
Front and rear racks $100
Front bag $70
Rear and front panniers $160
Tent $150
Sleeping bag $100
stove $50
Pots and pans $30
Sleeping mat $50
Shorts $100 (3 pairs)
Tops $60 (3 coolmax)
Socks $40 (4 pairs)
Shoes $60 (relatively cheap pair)
Pedals $40 (Nashbar including shipping)
Gloves $25
Waterproof top $100
Cyclocomputer $30 (not necessary, but nice to have)
Pump $25
Spare tubes $10 (2)
Multitool $25

Total: ~$2125.00

Course, you might just go with front or rear panniers, so you could knock off ~$100, or you could add $100 for a Books saddle..... Or you might not have to cook, so knock off $80. I might have forgotten some stuff, but for someone with absolutely nothing, I think $2000 is a realistic figure for average quality stuff to kit yourself out for a tour completely. Again, you could easily reduce this price by $1000 by choosing a cheaper bike, not camping and/or cheaper stuff, etc. It's very subjective -and of course always use internet coupons and wait for sales.
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Old 03-11-08, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Widdop
3. If I set my personal budget to $1000 could I get a recumbent Touring bike... or Road Touring bike?
Recumbents are great touring bikes and can do away with a lot of the physical discomfort from long days in the saddle, but they are a totally different experience to ride and I'd recommend getting your bents at the start of the summer so you'll have lots of time to get comfortable with them.

You can get a bent for about $1000 that is suitable for touring. I'd recommend buying a slightly used bent so you get the most bang for your buck.

If you want to pursue the bent option head over to www.bentrideronline.com and ask your questions.

FWIW - I ride bents and upright "normal" bikes. I like them both and ride whichever makes the most sense for the ride at hand.
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