It's time to admit it: I'm a bit of a bike geek.
So a good deal of late night research time has been going into what would be best bike for the BikeLoud tour. One bike keeps leaping to the top of the list: Surly's Long Haul Trucker (the LHT). Here's a typical review from an adventure blogger:
"If you want to know what I think of my Long Haul Trucker than consider this: we travel all over the world and when people ask me what I miss most from home I always answer “my bike”, then Kathleen proceeds to roll her eyes…
So, If you are in the market for a new touring bike then take a look at the legendary Surly Long Haul Trucker. This bad boy was built for the sole purpose of carrying you and all your goodies comfortably and efficiently. The bike sets the standards for what a touring bike should be, affordable, reliable, and most of all, a blast to ride."
Cyclists are really passionate about this bike. What makes the LHT so good? Allow me to geek out a bit:
1. The LHT has a really long wheel base and a low bottom bracket. What does this mean? Stability at high speed with heavy loads. That's really important. You don't want a bike that starts shaking during 40MPH descents because it's not built for the task. The LHT will stick to the road like glue.
2. Got to love the low gearing. The LHT comes with the lowest gears available, which will allow the crew to spin up those steep mountain grades in a seated position, all day long if needed.
3. It's a steel frame. There's a saying in the cycling world: Steel is Real. A high quality steel frame soaks up the bumps in the road, is a pleasure to ride, and with proper care and feeding it will last forever. It's the standard, and the LHT's got it.
4. It comes with 26" 36 spoke wheels. Again, a bit of a bike geek detail, but 26" wheels are slightly smaller than a typical road bike wheel (700C). This makes them stronger and less likely to break spokes. Don't want to be stuck on the side of the road fixing a broken spoke, day after day? Go with a 26" 36 spoke wheel. They are also more readily available in remote areas if replacement is needed.
5. It's got bar end shifters. Bar end shifters are super reliable. This eliminates a big mechanical risk on the road.
So the bottom line is the Long Haul Trucker is the choice for this adventure, as it will provide the safest, most reliable ride for the scouts.