So Dr. Darling and I have begun to make plans for our next cycling tour…and of course the topic of my needing a more appropriate (i.e. bigger) bike came up once again. The only difference this time is that we are actually in a position to do something about it.
My trusty Trek Antelope is now 15-years-old and has performed like a champ in all kinds of conditions…but it’s basically a small, heavy mountain bike-style frame with 26-inch wheels and only 21 gears…which sounds like alot until you’re trying to pedal yourself plus 40 lbs. of gear up a small mountain in southern Norway.
I really wanted another Trek…and I wanted a real touring rig…but just my luck that Trek’s touring models are not sold in Sweden. They are available in Denmark, but Trek dealers in Sweden are not be obligated to honor repairs or maintenance included in the warranty if the bike has been purchased in a different country. So even though it might be worth a trip to Copenhagen to buy the bike, it would be a pain in the ass to have to haul it over there for warranty service. Bleh!
So I resigned myself to a hybrid model (a bike that combines the features of a road bike and a mountain bike) and started looking at the 5 or so Trek models that we could get here. The one that Dr. Darling liked the best in terms of quality components (and she is the bike mechanic in the family so I do defer to her judgement in these matters) is the Trek 7500 FX…but we were both a little leary of the wheels that come with it. They are these fancy looking, paired-spoke numbers that look *really cool* but also appear entirely too delicate to handle fully-loaded touring.
But after a lot of research and talking to a variety of experts and a few owners of this particular bike (I sometimes wonder if Dr. Darling’s PhD. isn’t actually in consumer science instead of molecular biology), we decided to go ahead and order this bike even though we figured we’d end up replacing the wheelset before our late summer tour through southern Denmark and along the Baltic coast of Germany. Then this morning I got a reply to an e-mail I had sent to the head mechanic at Trek U.S. yesterday (gotta I love American customer service!) and he assured me that the Bontrager Selects that come standard on the bike could handle anything I would dish out on tour.
So, fears allayed, I am finally able to get excited about the fact that we pick this beauty up on Friday! (Try to imagine it with racks and fenders.)
Guess what I’m going to be doing this weekend?!