Thanks for the feedback and encouragement. I have the chance to mt bike where the trails aren't clear or don't exist, so falling isn't new. I am going to see what I can get through my local bike shop. Should be good fun.
Me again--just curious--trying to do this on the cheaper side to start--so, the choice is a 2008 Specialized Tri-cross (aluminum) with about 1,000 miles or a new Motobecane. The weights are about the same, I think. I am also presuming that I will need , at some point, to upgrade parts on either one. I have done some research and listened to you, so am leaning toward the Motobecane. Thanks again for the help.
As a side note, we got five inches of snow last night. Guess my winter riding will continue for awhile.
Yeah Kevin, I'd go with the motobecane... but that's me. I love steel and really dislike aluminum. The motobecane should be pretty to lighten up over time... a carbon fork would be a nice upgrade eventually and shave a lot of weight. Really, everything on it could be replaced with lighter components... but it's a great starting point, especially for the price. I should mention this... I put together three of these bikes, out of the box, and found that they all came with 130mm stems, regardless of the smaller sized bikes... way too long! I don't know why they came with such long stems, but it's not a big deal to replace with a proper size (100-110).
Here in Idaho we got hit with a foot of snow a couple weeks ago... I had already been lulled into the false idea that Spring was here. Kind of a slap in the face! But that snow has since melted off, and the non-winter bike riding continues! Have fun in the snow and keep me posted on the bike purchase.
My friend just got a Motobecane and he loves it. He had the same problem with the stem. It was ridiculously long. He's been commuting on it for a month now and it still rides great.
JT - I did that ride I mentioned above (Dalles 60) on the Nature Boy and loved it! The bike was very comfortable and handled perfectly on the descents and climbs. It was a casual, unsanctioned ride/race and I managed to finish 3rd and was the only one on a single speed. I can't wait for cross season. Thanks again. Cheers.