The Compleat Bike and Equipment

This is what the ol' bike looked like at the start. A bit more ragged at the end, though!

It used to be so easy for me to tour. I'd hop on the ol' reliable workhorse, my Fuji s-12-s souped up with three chainrings, the third week each May. I'd ride two or three thousand miles, usually in the Alps, and after 3 months i'd head back home. A cable here, a chain there, a few flats, and BOOM! my trip was over. The bike simply didn't need repairs, and parts in Europe were easy to find.
Now, like running shoes, computer software, and gourmet coffee, the choices appear daunting and confusing. Stroll into your local bike shop and look at all the mountain and touring bikes and gadgets! But step back and take a breath...all that choice means you can get a better bike that you feel more comfortable with, and probably at a damn good price, too. Just follow a few basic roughie rules below and you'll be ok.

I cannot tell you what bike to get, any more than I can tell you what computer to buy, shoes to wear, or coffee to drink. Instead I will give you a few parameters and things to look for, and have these added/installed on the bike if they are not already present. The final decision on what bike you choose must be yours: your bike shop will help tailor you and your bike so that the frame size, among other things, is correct. Just keep in mind the following.

A few more helpful comments before I finish this section.