Monday, July 14, 2014

Buying a touring bike

Another hot weekend but I was able to get some good rides in. On Saturday I rode The Crema with my wife and youngest daughter. We got lucky with the heat and the temps and had a good ride. I really must try the prosciutto crepe - it looked lovely on Sabrina's plate. We had a strong tailwind on the way back which is always nice, especially when it gets warmer.
On Sunday I rode Back Bay with my eldest daughter. It was much hotter but I really enjoyed the Champagne Bakery which we hadn't been to for a while. Can you believe that on this 60 mile ride the bike paths were closed in four places! The Walnut trail has been closed for five years now. It was supposed to be reopened last January but now  they've delayed it until next November. I honestly don't think they even plan on giving it back.

There was a strong headwind for the last 8 miles and two detours off the bike path. Why is the bike path the go to place when they want to stage construction equipment? Felt like crap by the end of the ride. This is the first ride in years that I didn't overall enjoy. It felt like it was over 90 but it probably wasn't.
When my Serotta was stolen last year I bought a Trek 520 touring bike because I do a lot of touring and randonneuring. I actually rode it on Saturday for the first time in a month and I think the Brooks is finally broken in. I double wrapped the handlebars and it's much more comfortable now.
One of the things I like about the 520 is the ability to add wide tires, rack, fenders etc. There's a lot of riding I'd like to do that's on hard packed dirt or very rough pavement and 23mm tires with a Carradice bag isn't ideal because dirt is difficult to ride on with narrow tires and the roughness puts a lot of stress on the single bolt that holds the Carradice bag to the saddle. I've actually had one snap on the Galloping Goose trail on Vancouver Island.
I've decided that my next vacation (hopefully cycling from Aspen to Denver in CO) will be on my 520 - even though it's heavy and there are insane amounts of climbing.
Amber feels she is coming to the end of the useful life of her Trek TCT carbon bike. It has done very well but she has decided to replace it with a more general purpose bike that can also do some heavier touring and handle off-roading better.
She's really drawn to a Ti Touring bike such as the Lynskey Backroad but it's expensive. On the other hand it should be light, strong, and comfortable. The nice thing is there's a dealer nearby in Orange, about 5 miles from where we start our rides.

She is also considering a Trek 520 of her own and a Surly Long Haul Trucker. Most people seem to think the two bikes are very comparable which will probably give the Trek the advantage in her mind. We've always had tremendous luck with Trek bikes.
Some of the things Amber is looking forward to are...
  • Relaxed geometry means you can ride hands free to stretch your back out
  • More water bottle cages
  • Better climbing gears
  • Ability to add fenders, racks, and even a kick stand
  • Ability to ride rougher roads without cracking the frame
  • Repairable frame
  • The option of wider tires for off road fun
Some of the things Amber is not looking forward to...
  • Spending money
  • More weight
  • Saying good bye to her beloved Trek TCT