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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
Not sure why that is amazing. I met lots of folks who were on long tours that they started as non cyclists especially on the Trans America. My two companions on the TA had almost no miles under their belt at the start and one was never a cyclist previous to the TA. They both did great. Being young and in generally good shape helps but even being older of somewhat sedentary doesn't mean someone can't start a coast to coast trip if they either train a bit of take it easy for the first 10 days to 2 weeks.Read my second posting. As to my first one, yes, what you describe can be done and has been done but that still doesn't make it a good idea.
One difference is in your example, your non-cycling companions had you as a guide to both bike choice and riding. Based strictly on the OP, these guys have absolutely no knowledge of bikes and anything related. I'm sure they can and will learn but, at first blush, it really did sound like a poorly thought out idea.
If we were to get used bikes, how old is too old. I have seen a ton of bikes from the 80s and early 90s on ebay and craigslist for $200-400. At what point would we have to upgrade too many parts/components that it would no longer be worth it. I guess I'm asking would an older bike's components work well or would we basically have to build a new bike?
I looked more into hybrids(thanks zzzz for the link) and they seem like they could work. If we were to go that route would the wheels work? I noticed that they have 32 spokes whereas most touring bikes have 36+ spokes. I don't want to be constantly changing spokes along the ride. Also would the upright seating position make it that much more difficult because of the wind? Are there any other pros/cons about hybrids?
It looks like I would have to change the gearing of a cyclocross bike whereas a hybrid should be ok where it is at. How much would it cost to make that change?
I plan a cross-country bike trip with a couple friends. We are planning on going from Savanna to San Francisco this summer. This trip is going to be a charity ride.
We do not have bikes. Because this is a fundraiser and we are college students we do not have a lot of money to spend on bikes. We are trying to not spend over $800 on a bike but preferably less. Do you have any tips for getting a good bike in our price range? What would you recommend for a cheap touring bike, or would you recommend that we try a different type of bike. Could we get a hybrid or mountain bike to work well for this trip? We also heard that you could take a normal road bike if you pulled a trailer. Is that true? We could probably get a nice used road bike for cheap.
If a couple of the guys were to get mountain bikes while the others had touring or road bikes would the mountain bikes be able to keep up? Would it take a lot more work to stay with them or with smooth tires could they ride with the road bikes just fine?
That said, have you ever ridden a bike with modern chainrings? The improvement is shifting, particularly under load, is amazing.
There are huge commercial pressures to upgrade and buy the best, most expensive, newest, etc. In the past I have gotten caught up in that a little. I almost always regret it and have learned to make do with what I have, ergo the touring on whatever bike I have and making it work.
Round trip ticket is cheaper than buying two single way tickets.Although this used to be true in a big way, my experience of recent years is that it is no longer true.
Are they all this way, or do they vary based upon (length/ride leader/group)?All ACA guided tours have fixed start and finish dates, but the intermediate stops are usually tentative (except where accommodations have been booked in advance). Many people book their flight home before the trip starts so they need to be sure to get there on time. See http://www.adventurecycling.org/guided-tours/compare-tours/
When touring solo or with friends, some people also plan a fixed finish date. Others like to keep things open until they get all the way to the end. Still others wait to plan their transportation home for when they get close to the end.
Generally on long tours, there is plenty of opportunity to make up time if needed, so it's not very hard to hit the finish date unless some emergency comes up in the final days.
Why own extra tires? Tires are expensive, unlikely to fail unexpectedly, and can be purchased quickly. I'm looking forward to hearing why others think it's important to keep all these tires around for so long that rubber degradation is an issue.