If I could have all of the bikes I wanted, and I had the space to store them, and I had the time to ride them, this is what I would have:
1. The bike I have now. An LHT set up for fast touring that could be set up for extended touring with the addition of proper racks and a few other trinkets. The 37c Paselas are puffy enough to work well on gravel trails yet have low enough rolling resistance to run perfectly fine on pavement, and are perfect for rougher pavement. Other changes I might consider would be a high quality dynometer/light set up rather than the Cygolite, and either a sprung saddle or seatpost. The downside of this setup is that its heavy as far as bikes go, but whose in a hurry anyway? The only possible alternate would be the frame the LHT is based on, the Atlantis.
2. A rougher road/trail/workbike. I think this bike would also be based on an LHT frame, but it would have even bigger tires (44-45), but probably with a smoother tread than typical 29ers- almost as if the bike were a beach cruiser. It would definitely have a sprung saddle, most likely a Brooks Flyer, Albatross bars for an upright stance, and barcons. Oh; and big fenders and a rear rack. I picked Surly because its steel; and the LHT over the Cross Check and Monkey because of the long chainstays and low bottom bracket. If there were other frames of similar characteristics and geometry, I’d be game. If this were strictly a dirt machine I might think differently, but I’m not into cross racing, so my compromise includes the ability to haul stuff – thus the long stays. This bike would be perfect on rougher fire roads, and a great townie bike for making a run to the store. This bike comes close, although its much nicer than I envision, I’d have a full range of gearing, and I’d skip the front rack/basket for now:
3. An Xtracycle. I think there would be a lot of overlap between this one and the rough road LHT, but I don’t care. I want one anyway, and this is my blog. I might even spring for a Stokemonkey, because I’d need it to haul any amount of stuff up the hills around our place. Anyway, the purpose would be to replace a car on shorter trips that I spend running errands or going hither and there. I could see heading over to the park with any number of things, going to soccer practice with my bag of balls and cones, making a grocery run, going on an overnight camping trip, etc… It doesn’t really matter to me what frame the bike would be based on, but obviously something rugged to handle the weight:
4. Finally, I think something a little lighter, a little faster, just to satisfy those silly urges I get when I think that I am younger than I actually am, and even faster than I used to be (the older we get, the better we were). I’m not sure about the setup, other than I’m not into brifters. Most likely a Litespeed; or if I want to keep with the Surly theme, a Pacer.