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Easiest and cheapest change is to replace the 28T chainring with a 24T. It's a bigger % change than going from a 32 to a 34T rear cog and much less expensive than changing the cassette.I agree.
Are you sure you don't already have a long cage rear derailleur? Almost all bikes with triple cranks come with them and your current gearing would be very limited if your rear derailleur is now a short cage.I agree here too. It seems unlikely that you have an 11-32 and a triple and do not have a long cage RD already.
Check out the Transam route on this site. Also google the DOT website in each of the states you will travel through. Many offer free road maps and some have state bicycle maps and routes.I would second that. the TransAmerica is a great route and the maps have a wealth of information including lots of free places to camp, contact info for libraries, post offices, stores, bike shops, motels, hostels, camp grounds, police, and so on. Well worth the price. You can buy the maps and just start riding with zero route planning or research on facilities.
I'm in the midst of upgrading my bike for a TA tour. I did consider buying a new one, but it was far too expensive. I've gotten to the point of looking at my gearing, and from the few thousand miles I've put on it on day trips I think I need some lower gearing. It's an 8 speed, and currently I'm running 28-38-48 up front and 11-12-14-16-18-21-26-32 on the rear. I was thinking of Sheldon Brown's custom cassette:13-15-17-19-21-23-26-34. Has anyone used these before? Does the combination work well for you? Should I also perhaps find a smaller front sprocket? Would it be worth it to upgrade my derailleur to a long cage version? I realize vastly different solutions work well for different people, but I was just wondering what everyone thinks about this topic.There are personal variables, like your preferred speed and cadence, what you weigh, and how much you will be carrying. Some folks like super low or rather high gearing and some get by on less extreme combinations. Three of us did the TA on bikes that came with 30/42/52T paired up with and 11-32. We all replaced the crank with one that was 46-36-26. One of us put a 24 on in place of the 26 before the start and another did the same in Missoula. I did the Whole TA with the 46-36-26 and the 11-32.
although the weight is a bit high, I suspect that more weight on the front would be better to counter balance any weight from a trailer. i now own two trailers one is a burley nomad, which im not concerned with, and the other is a bob yak which ive read in other forums that it takes weight off the front of the bike when fully loaded and makes it more difficult to steer on soft ground so instead of taking weight off I actually want to add as much weight as possible to the front of the bike so the surly rack should work well.It is high in two ways. First it is double the weight of most lowriders and second the weight is up high. I can see wanting a rack top for light bulky items, but you are using a trailer so you should have an abundance of space for bulky stuff.
im going with the surly rack, thanks again for the help touristaIf you are at all weight conscious, check the weight of the Surly before buying. I think it is something like 2-1/2 pounds. If that doesn't bother you disregard this.
We are in the planning stages of doing an across the US - West 2 East ride to raise money for polio for the Rotary. Being new to riding we want to avoid hills :-)One of the three Adventure Cycling routes is what I would recommend. The Trans America is great. The climbs in the west are long but not very steep. My two companions had almost no miles under their belts and just started off with shorter days in the first couple weeks. They did fine.