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New bike?

Old 09-25-10, 11:11 AM
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New bike?

OK, so back in June my husband and I decided that next summer we're going to ride our bikes the length of Sweden (about 1800 km). We went bike shopping. We went to 3 stores and they all told us that what we wanted were hybrids.

I ended up getting this bike:
https://www.norco.com/archives/2009/?id=48ac6dd07735d

and I changed out the cassette to an 11-34 to get lower gearing. It's aluminum with straight bars, and I bought bar-ends for them.

Today I was at a bike shop and I saw (and test rode) a 2007 Opus Largo. Unfortunately I can't find a link to just this bike, but it's in this catalog:
https://www.opusbike.com/pdf/OpusCatal2007.pdf

It is a proper cromo touring bike with drop handlebars. It has brifters. It's only 8-speeds vs the 9-speeds of my current bike. They're willing to sell it to me for $750 which seems like a pretty good deal (that's about the same as I paid for the bike I have). But, I already have a bike. I would need to then sell this bike and hope to regain some of the money I paid for it. Or keep it as a commuter/town bike, I suppose... but that's pretty expensive.

Pros:
- Drop handlebars
- Steel
- Holes in the front fork for a rack

Cons:
- Need to sell current bike or eat the cost
- If I keep current bike need to buy all new accessories (rack, fenders, cages)
- Only 8 speeds vs 9 on the cassette

Oh wise tourers, what say you?
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Old 09-25-10, 11:36 AM
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how comfortable are you on what you have now on long rides?
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Old 09-25-10, 11:46 AM
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Ride what you have.
This 55 year old rode 2100 miles on his Next
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Old 09-25-10, 11:47 AM
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Dealers in NA order stripped down "touring bikes ", then the racks mudguards lights and so forth are aftermarket purchased.
many wont order decent racks in stock.
If I were Booking a Flight to Sweden, rather than semi direct , I'd drop by the Nearest Koga Dealer To the NL Airport , Or make arrangements for delivery to Stockholm

Already having pre ordered from the Koga Signature Program..
Its a customer driven parts pick from a menu Of good components, and Tubus Racks, including a custom orderd front one .
Or a similar Kind of arrangement with Thorn/SJS in Southern Britian, pre ordered bike
with VAT refund papers stamped and signed upon departure ..

Public transport is there on the surface is At the airport, Heathrow /Gatwick or AMS.

load up your panniers , hang them on the bike and ride off , North.

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Old 09-25-10, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by himespau
how comfortable are you on what you have now on long rides?
Well, I have some issues where my elbow hurts and some minor carpal tunnel (but I have a desk job so either of those could be from that as well... but it coincides pretty much with when I got the bike and started riding a lot). Nothing major. I am not fully happy with my saddle but I don't think that's the bike's fault. So far the farthest I've gone is 65km and I was done by the end. I can't say if a different bike would have made me less dead. I'm pretty out of shape, have been getting more into shape as I've been training. So far the bike has just over 1000km on it.
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Old 09-25-10, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
Dealers in NA order stripped down "touring bikes ", then the racks mudguards lights and so forth are aftermarket purchased.
many wont order decent racks in stock.
If I were Booking a Flight to Sweden, rather than semi direct , I'd drop by the Nearest Koga Dealer To the NL Airport , Or make arrangements for delivery to Stockholm
That seems like a nice idea, but I don't really feel comfortable setting off on a long tour on a bike I just purchased. I want to ride it around for at least a month or two beforehand so I'm familiar with it and can make whatever adjustments before I'm actually on tour. Plus, wouldn't it be a lot more expensive to buy it in Europe? I thought prices over there were higher.
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Old 09-25-10, 12:45 PM
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The Opus looks perfect to me. You might want a different saddle and bars. No way to know without riding it. Too bad the photo shows the bars set up the old-fashioned racer way. Can't really tell about lever reach from that. My guess is that they won't quite be comfortable for touring. Here's a good thread on bars:
https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ich-handlebars
Those FSA bars in the photo are set up right.

I would never, like never, ride a bike on a long tour on which I hadn't already done at least 60 mile rides, preferable done 1000 miles total and ridden on shorter tours fully loaded. Never! At the very least, you'll have to experiment with equipment and loading to know if what you propose to take is the right stuff or not.
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Old 09-25-10, 02:46 PM
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If the furthest you have ridden is 65km, I have to say that you probably aren't yet in a position to know whether the present bike works for you or not. Had I been advising you from the start, I'd certainly have suggested a tourer rather than a hybrid, but the priority is comfort. If with some more miles in you feel comfortable on the existing bike, no reason not to go with it.

And yes, prices in Europe are generally higher.
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Old 09-25-10, 02:51 PM
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You know, for cheaper than the hit you'd take in trying to sell your current bike, you could probably take it back to the shop and have them put drop bars on it. To me that seems to make more sense, but I'm sure there are lots of people who'd find flaws in my logic (and some that would just want you to buy two bikes, because that's how we roll here).
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Old 09-25-10, 03:46 PM
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If you have a comfortable setup on a bike at home, the Dimensions of that set up can be translated into a replacement bike
thru the use of standard units of measure .. saddle position and height , reach to the handlebars height of the handlebars ..
tape measure stuff..

and those can be transmitted over long distances .. My German wasn't any good .. but, a bit of metric speak
100 grams of this , a 100 grams of that and pointing to a bit of bread did a fine job of getting lunch together..



Adding , A number of Bike companies have Better equipped bikes for the European Market, than the ones they sell in the US.

in some countrys You cannot sell a stripped down touring bike , they have to have lights and so forth, practical things that are aftermarket add-ons over here..

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Old 09-25-10, 05:07 PM
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Instead of buying new accessories (fenders, rack, etc.) for the Opus, couldn't you just swap the parts from the hybrid over to the Opus?

The difference between an 8 speed cassette and a 9 speed cassette is simply not significant, IMO. What's important is the range of gear ratios, having a low enough bottom gear to get up whatever hills you expect to encounter and a high enough top gear to cruise comfortably on the flats or on gentle downgrades, maybe with a slight tailwind. Once you have an adequate range of gear ratios, a 9 speed cassette lets you fine tune your choice of "in between" gears a little more closely, but this is more important to a racer than to a tourist or commuter.

There might be better bikes available in Europe, but there's a lot to be said for starting a tour on a bike that you're familiar with.

I did one tour on straight bars with bar ends, and I'll never do it again. Even with bar ends, my wrists weren't as comfortable as they are on drop bars, and the range of hand and body positions with drop bars is much better than with straight bars.
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Old 09-29-10, 12:53 AM
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Well, I don't think that a new bike is really in order unless the Norco is not fitting you properly. There are some other concerns that I would address first.

As you pointed out, you're probably not in shape yet for this tour. And I don't think that having a new bike would make much of a difference in your being knackered at 65 kms unless of course your Norco does not fit you properly or you've been riding up and down Mt. Pleasant from St. Clair to Dundas for that 65 kms. I've ridden a hybrid for tens of thousands of kilometers and I've done 250+ kms rides down to Niagara from downtown Toronto. I've also done fully loaded touring with some days of over a hundred kms. My bike has had at best some bar ends, not perfect but more than adequate.

I would make sure that the bike is fitted to you properly first before considering whether or not to switch out. If it is fitted to you properly then I may consider drop bars but again I don't think that that is necessary. I think that your earlier modification of adding in lower gears was a good one. I think of Sweden as being hilly and lower gears would be a godsend.

If the bike is fitted properly to you then I would look into having a good saddle, proper shoes (touring shoes not racing shoes), bike shorts and gloves. A good saddle would make your butt a lot more comfortable, proper stiff-soled shoes make your pedalling more efficient and you can still use them to walk around the sights, and shorts and gloves to keep you comfortable and the gloves help save your hands in case of a crash.

Another concern is your ability to repair and maintain your bike. As i just pointed out in another threads, the TDSB runs bike repair courses in the fall and spring semesters. The fall semester ones just started but you can look into the spring ones. Great courses. The Toronto Outdoors Club has also run touring and repair courses in the past.

What sort of tour is this going to be? Will it be fully loaded self supported or credit card or what? What is your timeframe?

If you have anymore questions please feel free to ask!

Last edited by IronMac; 09-29-10 at 12:57 AM.
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Old 09-29-10, 06:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Spudd
Pros:
- Drop handlebars
- Steel
- Holes in the front fork for a rack

Cons:
- Need to sell current bike or eat the cost
- If I keep current bike need to buy all new accessories (rack, fenders, cages)
- Only 8 speeds vs 9 on the cassette

Oh wise tourers, what say you?
You can set up your Norco with a front rack, the question is how much gear are you carrying
it's irrelevant whether it's steel or aluminum if you're wiped out with one 65k ride, and if you're not it's still irrelevant for the trip you're doing. It would matter more whether the bike is broken in and the wheels were ok, checked over.
That the other bike has drop bars and steel doesn't automatically make it better for you. I prefer drop bars, some don't.

8 or 9 spds is irrelevant, most people are riding on bikes with monstrously high gears they can never use with power.
switching bikes around is expensive.
My $.02 is keep riding and pay attention to your methods of recovery. Check with the bike shop about your riding posture.
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Old 09-29-10, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by IronMac
Well, I don't think that a new bike is really in order unless the Norco is not fitting you properly. There are some other concerns that I would address first.

As you pointed out, you're probably not in shape yet for this tour.

I would make sure that the bike is fitted to you properly first before considering whether or not to switch out. If it is fitted to you properly then I may consider drop bars but again I don't think that that is necessary. I think that your earlier modification of adding in lower gears was a good one. I think of Sweden as being hilly and lower gears would be a godsend.

If the bike is fitted properly to you then I would look into having a good saddle, proper shoes (touring shoes not racing shoes), bike shorts and gloves. A good saddle would make your butt a lot more comfortable, proper stiff-soled shoes make your pedalling more efficient and you can still use them to walk around the sights, and shorts and gloves to keep you comfortable and the gloves help save your hands in case of a crash.

Another concern is your ability to repair and maintain your bike. As i just pointed out in another threads, the TDSB runs bike repair courses in the fall and spring semesters. The fall semester ones just started but you can look into the spring ones. Great courses. The Toronto Outdoors Club has also run touring and repair courses in the past.

What sort of tour is this going to be? Will it be fully loaded self supported or credit card or what? What is your timeframe?

If you have anymore questions please feel free to ask!
For fit, I went to Hello Velo and got a fitting on my hybrid, which did help but I still have to say I don't feel 100% comfortable on it. The saddle has been an ordeal - I've tried like 5 different ones so far. But I think the bars is the real issue.. the elbow pain and carpal tunnel point to that.

Do you know where in Toronto to get touring shoes? I already have bike shorts and gloves and the saddle I have now is the best I've tried so far although I wouldn't say it's a 100% success.

I do definitely plan to take a bike repair class in the spring. I've been learning some basics at home from a book but I will definitely feel more comfortable having taken a class so that's in the cards for sure.

The tour will be 50/50 self supported and credit card. The plan is to bring the tent/sleeping bag and plan to use it somewhere between 50-75% of the time, with the remainder being in hotels. I don't plan to cook meals so there won't be a stove/cookware. But still fairly fully loaded. We plan to take slightly under a month to do the 1800km. Exact plans haven't been made yet but I think an average of about 70km/day with a few rest days thrown in there will be more or less what we'll do. I'll be taking a month off work, but we have to fly there, fly back, and get back to Stockholm from northern Sweden as part of that month. So probably like 27 days of biking time.

It seems like the consensus here is I should keep what I have, but I have to be honest, I really have a craving for the new bike! I think I'll test ride it again this weekend and see how it does. Hopefully they'll let me take it out for at least half an hour or so, so I can really get a good feel for it.
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Old 09-29-10, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Spudd
The saddle has been an ordeal - I've tried like 5 different ones so far. But I think the bars is the real issue.. the elbow pain and carpal tunnel point to that.


The tour will be 50/50 self supported and credit card. The plan is to bring the tent/sleeping bag and plan to use it somewhere between 50-75% of the time, with the remainder being in hotels. I don't plan to cook meals so there won't be a stove/cookware. But still fairly fully loaded.
It seems like the consensus here is I should keep what I have, but I have to be honest, I really have a craving for the new bike! I think I'll test ride it again this weekend and see how it does. Hopefully they'll let me take it out for at least half an hour or so, so I can really get a good feel for it.

It should be pretty clear cut to you whether drop bars or your existing bars are preferable when you do bike demos. Personally I think straight bars with grips far apart is one of the worst positions for long term comfort but the distress is in the hands, not elbows/forearms for me. How you move and hold your posture the other 95% of the time you aren't riding makes a big difference. Learning to put more weight onto your arms with them flexed will go a long way to reducing stress on your butt, but it'll shift it to your back, arms and neck which will require some conditioning. When you plan out the year to come think of each month of riding providing a new plateau of fitness/comfort to build on and each three month season a plateau to build on. Think of three or four riding days and a long EASY day or three weeks and a long EASY week. Basically make sure you follow up any hard day with an easy day, not a no riding day. Your ability to ride miles in comfort comes from being able to recover on the bike. That easy recovery day ON THE BIKE is as important as the hard day.

ps. if you can afford the new bike get it but only after riding a few of them.
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Old 09-29-10, 02:07 PM
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I have also spent too much time sitting at a office PC. I can't ride with a straight bar (like on your bike) for more than an hour without arm pain. Drop bars are no good for me, because I also have a poorly neck - basically I'm a wreck of a person.

I added north road bars. They offer a more relaxed hand position, and the upright riding position lets me reduce the weight on my hands. Of course, that means more weight on my saddle, which is also a problem for you at the moment.



Other people here use touring bars aka butterfly bars. They offer a range of hand positions, so you're likely to be able to find a grip that suits you. The benefit of either of those bars would be that the cost of changing would be minimal. No new bike, no new shifters, brakes, etc that you would need with drops.

Basically, I just wanted to make the point that it is possible to find ways to tour, even with permanent wrist injuries. Best wishes.
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Old 09-29-10, 02:48 PM
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Spudd, as said in earlier replies, ride a few bikes. I'm sure I'm not the only person on BF that has tried to suffer through a few years with the wrong bike. That said, I also have been riding the same bike since 1989.

My current bike, an old MTB was slowly converted into the bike I love to ride today. I put an old Scott AT-4 Pro handlebar, 130mm x 10 deg stem, and an extended seatpost on it to help make it fit me better. I can comfortably ride this bike sun up to sun down without issues. I tell you this because the right bike is awesome. The wrong bike sucks. Ride several. You will know the bike you should have when you ride it. And if you choose not to spend the money on a new bike right now, your current bike can be converted to fit you.

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Old 09-29-10, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Spudd
For fit, I went to Hello Velo and got a fitting on my hybrid, which did help but I still have to say I don't feel 100% comfortable on it. The saddle has been an ordeal - I've tried like 5 different ones so far. But I think the bars is the real issue.. the elbow pain and carpal tunnel point to that.

Do you know where in Toronto to get touring shoes? I already have bike shorts and gloves and the saddle I have now is the best I've tried so far although I wouldn't say it's a 100% success.

I do definitely plan to take a bike repair class in the spring. I've been learning some basics at home from a book but I will definitely feel more comfortable having taken a class so that's in the cards for sure.

The tour will be 50/50 self supported and credit card. The plan is to bring the tent/sleeping bag and plan to use it somewhere between 50-75% of the time, with the remainder being in hotels. I don't plan to cook meals so there won't be a stove/cookware. But still fairly fully loaded. We plan to take slightly under a month to do the 1800km. Exact plans haven't been made yet but I think an average of about 70km/day with a few rest days thrown in there will be more or less what we'll do. I'll be taking a month off work, but we have to fly there, fly back, and get back to Stockholm from northern Sweden as part of that month. So probably like 27 days of biking time.

It seems like the consensus here is I should keep what I have, but I have to be honest, I really have a craving for the new bike! I think I'll test ride it again this weekend and see how it does. Hopefully they'll let me take it out for at least half an hour or so, so I can really get a good feel for it.
Ok, well, if your arms are really giving you problems then look into switching to drop bars or butterflys or some of the other ones people have suggested. I used bar ends on my straight bars but went with drop bars on my latest bike.

In Toronto, I got my last pair of touring shoes from MEC. You may want to ask on here in a separate thread or do some research as to the best ones. Mine are now so old (still fantastic) that the plastic is flaking off. Geeze...only seven years I think...

I don't know if anyone has mentioned it but you may want to check out Urbane Cycles in the downtown core if you're looking at a new bike. They've got their own in-house model but they also carry a couple of other dedicated touring bikes such as the Surly Long Haul Trucker. Trek has a store on Yonge St. just south of Eglinton on the east side and they should have their classic 520 model.

BTW, which saddle did you end up with? The Brooks line is what most people rave about but there is a significant break-in period. You may also want to look into saddles made by Terry specifically for women.

If you want to stick with your current saddle and it is still causing you pain, you may want to purchase a can of Bag Balm to deal with bruising and soreness. Lee Valley Tools on King St. has them in stock the last time I checked a couple of years back.

Last edited by IronMac; 09-29-10 at 08:03 PM.
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Old 09-30-10, 04:13 AM
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MTB shoes make great touring shoes if you're using clipless pedals.

Saddle position and overall body position are just as important as the shape of the saddle or the holes in the saddle. Have you tried a Brooks yet?

Sweden get pretty sparsely populated north of Stockholm, it might not hurt to have a stove.
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Old 09-30-10, 06:46 AM
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My husband has a B17 and he let me use it on my bike for a day to see how I liked it. I found the sides were too flarey and the rivets dug into my butt. I tried the Terry Liberator X and it was too squishy. Now I'm on a Specialized Dolce (which is past its return period) and hoping it'll end up being okay. I've been doing minor adjustments and it wasn't too bad on the 40km ride we went on recently. If the Dolce ends up being no good I'll look into a Brooks Imperial, maybe the model that's wider than the B17. But I'm hoping I can deal with the Dolce.

You may have a point about the stove. When we do our detailed planning this winter we'll see.
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Old 09-30-10, 11:32 AM
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Most folks find drop bars improve back, butt, hand, and arm comfort. That's the reason they are almost universal among cyclists who ride long distances. Road bikes are what they are not because they are aping racers, but rather because they've been the subject of 100 years or so of development.

Aluminum vs. steel depends more on the frame design than the material. I have one aluminum bike that is no problem on double centuries, and another that rides so roughly that I don't like to ride it more than 40 miles. If you test ride different frames, make sure they have similar tires and the same tire pressures.

I have heard good things about the Dolce. My wife rides only Specialized Jett saddles. You will find that bike position, especially bar top height, will make a difference in which saddle is comfortable. Bar tops even with saddle top is probably the most common bar height one sees on LD bikes, though many riders use up to 3" below the saddle. Very few ride with bars above the saddle. For most that's uncomfortable on the back and butt. Yes, the Terry Liberator is too squishy. I see a lot of Terry Butterflys on female LD bikes, however.

It's sort of like how you dress for a ride: what's comfortable in the parking lot will be too warm on the ride. What seems most comfortable for the beginning distance rider will probably not be most comfortable for that person for long distances. I don't trust any of my sensations until after the 3rd hour. So as you go about figuring out what's comfortable, ramp up the distance. If it's good for 100k, it's probably OK. If not, not. Common complaints of new LD riders regardless of bike fit: sit bones hurt, neck hurts, arms hurt. Solution: ride more. Complaints of saddle friction sores or numbness do, however, not go away with distance, only with a different saddle.

A caution: you may or may not be aware of the idiosyncratic style of many BF posters. For example, I have not seen another touring bike set up like either of the two photos posted so far on this thread. The Litespeed rig on this page:
https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...out-West/page2
is more normative, though one sees more bikes with 4 panniers than with 2. But two is obviously totally doable and desirable. Most bikes have 2 or 3 bottles, rather than the Litespeed's single bottle, though one does see more tourers with stainless bottles than one might expect.
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Old 09-30-10, 01:08 PM
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If you haven't been to urbane you should certainly go, up the road from city tv. What I see happening to you is you are gradually learning there are better options out there than what you have at the moment. While a person can make do, they can also buy the best. My main concern for your current development is that a 750 bike isn't that fab, and you may also outgrow it. If you go to urbane you will have an opportunity to try out a lot of serious bikes, or at least look at them. For insance, with air travel in your future, have you looked at the BF New World Tourist? By the way, I am not suggesting a 4K bike or something. Urbane bikes are not all that expensive, but they have touring specific stuff from several manufacturers, and also make custom frames so they know the field.

My wife used to travel to a certain place, then she would go the the sally ann and get a cheap 3 speed, and go off on a three month tour. But I have her corrupted on high end gear now... The reality is that it is mostly the person, but then the good gear is also a lot more fun.

As a torontonian, I would suggest you never return to the stores that recomended hybrids! I got some lake touring sandals from MEC, but then later was only able to find the same shoes by ordering a few pairs from Nashbar in the states. There are good stores in Toronto like Urbane, but I still get the majority of my stuff from US online stores. Spicer and Rivendale are good as far as dealing with Canadians, I guess the same is true of Nashbar.

You should get a decent price for your hybrid on craigs. You have to be willing to give up a bit of money, but I would just say you got the wrong bike, and haven't used it but for a few hundred K. Don't be greedy since while you will loose a few hundred, you will get a new bike at this time of year for a few hundred off, if not more. Not as good as eating the whole end of season discount yourself, but reality wise most people end up paying for their education in cycling somehow. It is not likely there will be anything new next spring...

Last edited by NoReg; 09-30-10 at 01:13 PM.
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Old 10-04-10, 01:01 PM
  #23  
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Well, it's done. I bought the new bike.

Here she is just home from the shop:


And here she is after I installed her accessories and adjusted the seat:


I didn't notice that leaf on the back tire before I took the picture! LOL.
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