I feel like I graduated from being a Nube at bicycling only to find myself a Nube at touring.
Last year was great - I rode 2000 miles on a Schwinn hybrid. I am doing all road riding, but some roads are hardpack + a little gravel. I ride most days. When the weather is bad I ride rollers about half an hour. When the weather is OK or good, I ride about an hour on work days, plus a longer trip on the weekend -- 30 to 50 miles, depending on how much time I have.
I decided I am interested in touring. I will start riding longer as the weather improves and maybe look for a 2-day or 3-day "credit card" trip this summer. After quite a bit of research and reading (including these forums), I decided I will buy a Trek 520. I like the component set, I love the bar-end shifters, and the bike rides well for me.
I have a dealer who will help me with my bike, but like many dealers he's more into road and mountain bikes than touring. I don't need to set up my bike perfectly right now, but there are a couple of things I want to get right from the first. It's OK to spend a little money, so long as I won't have to spend it again later for making a lame-brain decision.
Fenders: I want full fenders that will leave plenty of room for wide tires. Do you-all have a recommendation?
Tires: I currently have 26 x 1.5 inch wide tires with a road tread, and I like them a lot. Plus the Trek feels a little harsh, which I attribute to it's relatively narrow tires. I want puncture resistant tires, but nothing extreme. It looks to me like I should be able to fit 38s on the 520 with fenders. Is this reasonable, or am I looking for trouble every time something brushes up against the fenders? Many folks say good things about Continental Ultra Gatorskin, but they don't come very wide. What would be a good tire?
Lights: I don't ride at night, but I won't ride without flashers front and rear. It's easy to install an inexpensive flasher on the Trek's rear rack, but I can't imagine what a good front light setup might be, considering I may well want to put a front bag on the handlebars later on. I also like to keep the handlebars as clean and clutter-free as possible. I started to look at a couple of sites, but the options seem pretty overwhelming at the moment. Can somebody point me in a good direction?
Saddle: Normally I wouldn't worry about this right away, except that I rode the Trek and found the saddle to be pretty bad. The B17 seems to be the hands-down choice. I was thinking of the Champion Flyer, which I believe is a B17 on a single rail with a spring. Did I get that right? What are the advantages / disadvantages of the B17 -vs- the Champion?
I believe everything else can wait until I get more experience. Thanks in advance for any advice you care to give.