We're getting ready!
Test Trip With New Bikes

Two very exciting things happened today. It all started when I walked into the office and there was a large ChainReactionCycles box on my desk. I opened it up and lo and behold, our Brooks B17 saddles were inside!

The rest of the morning was sorta “ho hum” until I took off at lunchtime to visit Different Bikes. A little background:
Having done a ton of research online about which bikes we should use to tour, I had it narrowed down to the Kona Sutra, the Raleigh Sojourn, and the Marioni Turismo. Then came a process of elimintation:
Marioni Pros: Custom Colour, Light, option for carbon touring fork, Parts spec from Deore to Ultegra/Campy, Avid BB7 disc brakes
Marioni Cons: $1900 MSRP on the low end, because every frame is custom we couldn’t order one in and try it before we buy it
Raleigh Pros: $1200 MSRP, even had one of last years on sale for $800, Brooks Saddle, Moustache handlebars
Raleigh Cons: No front rack, cheap parts, disc brakes were Avid BB5s, heavy
Kona Pros: $1500 MSRP, solid Shimano parts spec, front & rear racks and fenders, avid BB7 disc brakes
Kona Cons: Heavy
The guys at Different Bikes (www.differentbikes.com) were kind enough to order in a pair for us, and then last Sunday Amanda and I went on a 10k test ride. We really liked the package that the Kona Sutra offers. The MSRP is $1500, and the bike is fully outfitted to head out on tour. Just add panniers, and away we go.
Andy @ Different Bikes gives my Sutra the once over.
The bikes seemed to do everything that a 2-wheeled people-powered machine should do, so we bit the bullet and I picked them up today! 
We have some Arkel GT-54 touring panniers on order @ Cambie Cycles (www.cambiecycles.com) and still need to buy a sleeping bag – other than that I think all of the equipment is ready to pack. We’ve also planned to do a shake-down ride from Vancouver to Seattle (235km) in May in order to catch a Mariners/Yankees baseball game. We’re still undecided on whether to do it in one day, or split it into two days so that we can try out our camping gear as well.
We're getting ready!
Test Trip With New Bikes