I’ve always dreamed of riding a bicycle cross country. Upon reflection I wished I had done it after graduating from college and starting a full time job. It hasn’t happened yet but it will someday, hopefully sooner then latter. Yesterday I took a step towards making that more of a reality.
I finished building a bike that is capable of making the trip, a heavily modified 2013 Trek 520. A stock 520 is a great bike to make the trip but I wanted to add my own touch to it. This build uses the stock wheel set, frame, fork, headset, stem and seatpost. From there I made changes. I really wanted my shifting in the brake levers versus bar ends shifters which come stock so I used SRAM Red shifters that we had in stock. For braking I choose Avid Shorty Ultimate canti lever brakes. These brakes are really cool and feel great paired with the shifters. Needing a super low gear range I used a compact SRAM crankset that we had in stock along with a XX SRAM rear derailleur with an 11 – 36 cassette. A super low gear range. I added SKS fenders to keep me dry and mounted Ortlieb Classic Roller panniers to the rear rack that came stock with the bike. I also have a Topeak Tourguide front handlebar bag that I plan to install. I switched out the tires to some Bontrager H5 tires. These aren’t tires that I would ride cross country but they are going to be perfect for my first trip.
The first trip I have planned for the bike is to ride from Pittsburgh to DC using the GAP Trail (Great Allegheny Passage) and the C & O Canal. Another trip I hope to take in preparation is to ride the Great Lakes Seaway Trail. Some day I’ll be able to check the cross country ride off of my bucket list and yesterday was one of the first steps of making that a possibility.
Certainly I am looking forward to the first ride. What trips have you dreamed about taking with your bike? I’d love to hear from you.