You're talking about Barcelona and the NE corner of Spain. Might be different up there.
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What are rackless frame bags?
Northwest winds accompany high pressure and dry weather.
Southerly winds accompany storm systems and rain.
I will go the new chainring route and keep it simple. I didn't know I could get a 24 in 74 BCD. Thinking 50-36-24, that gives me a good spread of choices with my 34-12 cassette. It is just like my compact road cranks with the 24 for loaded hills, I like it.
I started looking for chainrings online and there aren't many places that have much selection, any suggestions.
A better bet would be the Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires. Q Tubes. With some of Schwalbe’s Doc Blue put in the tubes will have you almost flawless.
I am intrigued by the new 2x stuff, but I personally need lower gears that a 26/38 would provide.
...I'd suggest you postpone your cross country ride for a few years. Buy a road bike now. Ride it for a half dozen years. Ride 5,000-10,000 miles a year for the next half dozen years. Learn about bicycling. Then ride across the country....Thanks for writing this as you saved me a fair bit of typing. My first reaction on reading the OP was incredulity. These guys don't own bikes, don't know what type to buy, don't currently ride and don't say what, if any, charity they are trying to assist. Amazing.
Well it's a good thing that these two did not ask for your advice. Dave and Loretta, with no cycling experience, bought bikes and gear and have been traveling for several years now.
Dave -> http://www.tiredofit.ca/
Loretta -> http://www.skalatitude.com/p/about.html