There are also places on Old Highway 10 that are an exercise in pothole dodging, but it is very pretty and peaceful back there. Because it is shorter, some people prefer to follow I-94 all the way across ND, but I really liked the back roads.
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I will change the cassette to 9 speed 11-34.Make sure your rear derailleur will handle it. I don't know how to do that, but somebody here does.
I plan to leave San Francisco in mid-June and arrive Sag Harbor, NY... well sometime in early August.That is a cross-country ride, but it's not the TransAm.
The bike I have has come with two spare spokes attached, so I guess that I can use those.Maybe, maybe not. Bikes almost always use at least two different length spokes, and sometimes three. The spokes that typically break are the drive side rear, and those cannot be changed unless you also bring something to remove the cassette with (e.g., the Stein Mini Cassette Lockring tool). If you get a FiberFix (about $10), you can temporarily replace a spoke anywhere with no tools. Those two spare spokes attached may come in handy, however, even if you don't have the tools to use them, if you happen to come to a bike shop that is out of spokes in your size.
Do people ever tend to bother with bike cleaners on tour?No. You should focus your thoughts on what not to take, rather than what to take. Bike cleaners are way up there on the "not" list. The fact that you would even consider it suggests that you have the wrong mindset about your equipment list. Try thinking, "what do I need to stay alive?"
Trek has produced the 520 for years. Comments have been weak rear rack and not low enough gearing.Old information never dies. Prior to 2009, the Trek 520 had road-bike components and was not ideally suited for touring despite being a touring bike. Starting with 2009, however, the Trek 520 has mountain-bike components and has as low gearing as any other touring bike.