Yesterday I finally made it out to Mt. Airy, with my Long Haul Trucker, to talk to Larry and the other guys out there about building it up into a loaded touring rig. This has been a goal for more years than I can remember, roughly five at this point, and I've actually had the frame for almost two full years, just sitting on the floor of my apartment and then down in my basement gathering dust.
I first got interested in putting together a touring bike when my buddy Slav (from RMS) was planning a California coast tour with his wife. I was bike commuting from Concord to Alameda at the time, and we started doing some longish rides on the weekends around the Oakland Hills. They had recently purchased a pair of Bianchi Volpes and I was riding my 10 year old Trek 930. After they got back and I heard about the trip I wanted to do one of my own.
Initially I started looking at converting the Trek to tour on. For short tours it would have been fine but the top tube was a little short to be comfortable for the long haul, so I also started looking around at other bikes. For reasons I can't fully explain, something about the Trucker appealed to me the first time I saw one. After lusting for a few years, and hearing that Surly was changing the paint color, I was able to track one down in my size in the great "Gang Green" original color. Getting it built up was held off by being broke, and then being a broke student.
Yesterday was mainly talking parts, giving Larry an idea about what I wanted to go with. Some of the things (gearing, hubs/rims) I had a good idea about what I wanted both from Slav's experiences and looking at other touring bike specs online. Other things are pretty open at this point, which is something that makes me glad I trust the shop. The last thing I decided to add to the bike are a set of S&S couplers, which will make it easy to take it apart for travel. Since I can think of many different places within the US that I would love to go, being able to break the bike in half and carry it without penalty on a plane or train seemed like a good call.
As soon as there is something to post pics of I will do, but as of now the fork is at Mt. Airy and the frame is being packed for shipment to Bilenky Cycle Works in Philly to get cut and have the couplers added on.
pics: Helmet - Slav Dugenny, bike - Bilenky Cycle Works