In reading quite a few blogs looking for advice / inspiration in preparation for this trip, I have come to realize that it is almost mandatory to write about the bike you are taking. After many hours of deliberation – and much to the consternation of cycle-touring purists – I decided on a Cannondale Synapse. That’s right – a fully carbon bike.
My first step was to go a talk to a couple of bike shops and, as expected, got different advice from each one I visited. I eventually narrowed it down to two Specialized bikes, the Secteur and the Tricross. Armed with this view I went down to Primera cycles in Poole and found that of the two bikes they would recommend the Secteur for the job – but that they had a full carbon equivalent of the Secteur on sale – the Synapse.
I understandably had several concerns: How durable would a full carbon frame be? How would I attach a rack to a bike with no braze-ons? In fact cannondale are so confident of their frames that they give you a lifetime warranty, and I was assured by the guys in the shop that carbon frames are indeed as durable as they are touted to be. As for attaching a frame to the bike I found an American company – Axiom – that make racks specifically for the purpose. The Axiom Streamliner DLX does not require braze-ons and is mounted 4cm behind the axle providing improved heel clearance for shorter chain-stays, it can also take up to 50kg meaning I could literally take the kitchen sink!
After nearly 1000 miles in training I have no complaints with the bike – it’s been brilliant. It is a cyclo-sportive bike and so has a more relaxed geometry than a road racer giving greater comfort for long days in the saddle. I am going to try and take as little kit as possible (I’ll post a kit list when I have all my stuff together) as I feel I will value the lighter load when climbing the Rockies, therefore I’m only going to use a rear rack and panniers.
You might be able to see in the picture that I’ve fitted clipless pedals. Although the learning curve was fairly steep, they are hugely efficient as they keep your foot in position and allow you to pull the pedal round on the upstroke.