I sure couldn’t have done Gear Up Florida with out my sturdy Specialized Sequoia Elite. I purchased it from Spokes Etc. I went to the store and talked to the manager and explained Gear Up Florida to him. Mark and the rest of the staff were a big help. They did a great job explaining the gear and making great recommendations of what I would need for the type of trip I was taking. When I finally decided on what bike I would get they didn’t have my size. Fortunately Spokes Etc. has four locations in the Northern Virginia area and a huge warehouse. They were able to ship the right size bike to the store the next day, talk about great service.
The Specialized Sequoia Elite is made out of an aluminum frame, which is durable, does not rust, and affordable. The fork and seat post are made of carbon with Zertz inserts, designed to dampen vibrations. It has a Shimano 105 rear derailleur and a Tiagra front derailleur. I’m really glad it had Shimano 105 in the rear derailleur because I used the rear derailleur the most. In fact for the first three days I used the middle cog the whole time. I never used the granny gear the whole trip, none of the hills in Florida are big enough.
The Sequoia is a little bit more unique than your typical road bike in that it has a more upright position. This makes it more comfortable for longer rides. The seating position in most other road bikes forces you to lower your back. This decreases wind resistance for more speed, but can also increase fatigue on longer rides. I decided comfort was more important for Gear Up Florida, with its long days and high mileage. I didn’t get a flat the whole trip, a pretty impressive feat. Maybe it’s because I have all-terrain tires. They are just a little thicker than regular road tires. I am really satisfied about my purchase and hope to continue biking. The bike came with lifetime warranty against manufactures defects and one year of free tune-ups.
I also got Specialized off-road clipless pedals and cleats. Clipless pedals allow you to clip your cleats to your pedals; this increases efficiency through a direct transfer of energy, a rigid shoe surface, and the ability to pull up on the pedal as well as push down. I guess they are called off-road because you can walk around on them when you are off your bike. They were light, comfortable, easy to attach and detach, and were quite stylish.
Other stuff I had to get were a helmet, cycling gloves, frame pump, patch kit, water bottles, saddle bag, extra tubes, chamois (cycling shorts), and a cycling computer. Spokes Etc. gave me a great cd-rom that they made called 66 tips. It goes over everything you need to know about biking. I especially found the video that showed how to change a flat very helpful.