I have been wanting to do a bike tour of New Zealand for about fifteen years and as I turn 50 this year I realized that if I don't get on it soon I may never do it. My wife is from New Zealand and we had a four week trip planned in April and May of this year, so I set aside two weeks for a bike tour of the South Island. As I started work on the plans including my gear list and my route, I quickly realized that my cyclocross bike would require quite a few modifications to handle the gear and the hills.
Therefore I started to look at other options. Rental was a viable option but not cheap and I have mixed experiences getting a rental bike setup to my satisfaction. This is going to be a fairly long bike trip (for me anyway) so I started started looking at buying a bike. Earlier considerations were the Cannondale T2 and The Surly Long Haul Trucker or the Disk Trucker as they are touring bikes with a good reputation at a reasonable price. A third choice was the Salsa Vaya which is more suited to light to medium touring weights but would be more versatile and could see more use between tours. Both the Long Haul Trucker and the Vaya can be purchased with S&S couplers which allow the frame to be split so the bike can fit into an airline sized suitcase without any extra fees. The ability to carry the bike in a backpack appealed to me as I have taken a bike on vacation before but found it more expensive to fly and a bit of an inconvenience to fit in taxis and rentals cars. I had a desire for disk brakes but Surly did not offer the S&S couplers on the Disk Trucker. After much research I decided to go with the Vaya Travel.
I picked the new bike up on Friday and have started further refinements to get it ready for the trip including breaking in the leather saddle. Special thanks to Todd and Alex at Western Cycle for getting everything ordered and putting it together for me. As you can see from the picture below, we still have a lot of snow so having been riding the new bike indoors on a trainer so far.