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I went through this very same thing when I started looking into getting my tour bike. They all came with bar-end shifters and after road bike riding for years with STI's trying to adjust to bar-ends was not working. I like to tour on both paved roads and also unpaved Rail Trails and just couldn't get comfortable maintaining my line while shifting with bar-end. Even though my first road bike used down tube shifters. STI's are so much quicker and stable with two hands on the bar, when in gravel this is nice. I also like to have a mirror mounted on the end of my left bar end.At the risk of redundancy I'm going to again suggest the Gevanelle brifters. They are available in 9,10 and 11-speed versions and offer shifters compatible with both Shimano's Dyna-Sys MTB rear derailleurs as well as road rear derailleurs and both mechanical (caliper, disc and V) brakes and hydraulic disc brakes. All front shifting is friction so they work with nearly any crank and front derailleur. Low low gears are no problem and the cost is equal to or lower than most brifters.
The problem I ran into with STI's with a triple crank and low cassette gearing is that the newer Shimano parts won't work, as per bike shop. Apparently Shimano changed things around so STI's would no longer work with Mt. bike gearing/derailleurs which is what is used on touring bikes. After some research and convincing the bike mechanic I was able to change out the small chainring and front derailleur to get my gearing lower, though still not as low as I need or want.
So your decision comes down to what you need for gearing to suit you're riding needs. If you want STI's you won't get as low of gearing then if you go with bar-end. There is always the possibility of finding some used older shifting components and a good mechanic.
I am guessing back in 1976 many of the first cross country riders did not have super low gearing. They made it over the Sierras, Rockies, Appalachians.Yes but the great majority of those first Bikecentennial riders were young, fit and you never heard of how many of the worse hills they walked. The fact that someone got away with that equipment 40 years ago doesn't mean it was a good idea then or we should do it now.
Can you wait until September?.......5 or 6 weeks from mid-Sept to late-Oct would be really sweet if you could swing it.By mid to late October the weather in the Northeast can get pretty cold and unpleasant. Here in Pittsburgh we have had snow on more than one Halloween and 40º rain is common. I would try to start in early September at the latest.
It's not all wheat fields! There's also corn fields!
The 26" wheeled bikes are definitely easier to fit in S&S cases.+1 I've never had a tandem but i did own a 700c wheel Co-Motion S&S single bike. The wheels, even with 23 mm tires, were a press fit into the packing case and the tires had to be deflated. I highly recommend 650B or MTB 26" wheels with modest width tires as a very desirable option.
No need for the condescension. it hasn't happened to me but I did meet someone stuck at the side of the road who said he had that very problem. Perhaps I should have told him he was dreaming? I can see how ONE bolt can come loose and well fall out while the other one remains tight then the other one starts to work loose...I don't doubt that there are riders who are unperceptive (condescending?) enough not to notice a loose cleat until it falls off entirely and you are correct the thread engagement depth is quite small. However, assuming one bolt falls out first I would think that disengaging from that side would be difficult enough to notice. The now one-bolt cleat would tend to rotate in the shoe sole rather than unclip unless the pedal's retention spring is set very loose.
You would then get out your 3mm Allen wrench and tighten them.Details, details, it's a 4mm allen wrench. However, I agree with your thesis that any rider would notice a loose cleat well before it actually fell off the shoe.
For me, the highlight were the Cookie Lady's house.....I assume you are referring to June Curry from Alton VA. Unfortunately she died in 2012 so that's one highlight newer travelers won't have a chance to enjoy.
Just this summer got a chance to test ride the 42cm Surly Trucker (not too many stores seem to stock that tiny size) and finally, stand-over height was ok (still don't have the recommended 2" clearance) and the reach was great -- for the first time, I didn't feel like I would have to shorten the stem! So this is the bike for me.Well, standover clearance isn't as big a deal for women as it is for men so long as you can reach the ground flatfooted at all. It's also not as big a consideration for a road/touring bike as it is for an MTB or cyclocross bike.