This is my brand new Courage travel/tour bike (by Aaron Hayes; www.ridecourage.com ). I gave Aaron a very thorough description of what I wanted and he went above and beyond to make everything happen. It's basically a touring bike with S & S Machine couplers, which allows me to check it in a special case as regular baggage. It will take knobby 35mm tires with fenders (and probably 40mm smooth tires without); I'm using 32mm Vittoria CX tires on it and there's plenty of clearance. Since it's a travel bike, I wanted it to be something easy to repair and find parts for. The rear spacing is 132.5mm, so it can take either a 130mm or 135mm rear wheel (the beefy wheels from my Trek commuter bike fit with ease). The whole bike is Shimano Ultegra (except for the brakes, which are Paul Touring Cantis, best cantis I've ever used, btw). I asked for the cables to be routed on the top tube just like my commuter and mountain bikes.

I wanted this bike to be something I could grow old with (I'm 47 and I've been riding seriously for nearly 30 years). I also have a Spectrum steel sport touring/race bike that's 20 years old and I considered having it fitted with S & S couplers but it won't take tires bigger than 27mm and that's without fenders. I adore that bike but I wanted a touring bike and it's just not cut out for loaded touring, so it made sense to get something new.

I went with the dove gray because I wanted this bike to have a refined, functionally rational and unadorned look. I've ridden it less than 100 miles but so far, handling is extremely confident and stable, and it goes where I want it to - on nearly any surface. No-hands riding is perfect and riding uphill out of the saddle produces no chain rub. I probably spent too much time thinking about the details of this bike, but I enjoyed every minute of it and I couldn't be happier with the results.

The studio shots were created by following the guidelines of Ray Dobbins (http://www.raydobbins.com), bicycle photographer extraordinaire.




Courage Travel/Tour - head on view

Courage Travel/Tour - coupler detail

Courage Travel/Tour - drive side view


Courage Travel/Tour - in the dunes
Courage Travel/Tour - side view

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