|Surly Pacer (photo used with permission from Surly.)|
|Long Haul Trucker (photo used with permission from Surly)|
|A Velo-Orange Polyvalent, built to completion|
with a lot of V-O branded components.
(photo used with permission from V-O)
|Soma San Marcos -- available as a frame set, but shown|
here as a complete bike. (photo used with permission from Soma)
|Sam Hilbourne (photo used with permission from Rivendell)|
|A nice AHH example, outstanding in its field|
(used with permission from owner Mel Hughes)
All the bikes I've mentioned here would be much more versatile than many of the road bikes out there today that take too much of their design influence from racing bikes. The Surly Pacer is probably the "sportiest" bike I've listed, and it's still miles more versatile than most carbon-fiber wunderbikes on the showroom floors. Most of the bikes I've mentioned will take pretty large volume tires (a huge boon for comfort) and can fit fenders easily. All of them are built from chrome-moly steel which is tough, safe, durable, and repairable. They should all be good for a lifetime of riding.
Of all the bikes I've highlighted here, the Surly bikes may be the easiest to find at a local bike shop as they have a pretty extensive dealer network, and because QBP supplies so many shops around the country. Soma bicycles don't have as large of a dealer network so it's possible they might not have a dealer in everyone's area -- but their online web store is easy to use. Velo-Orange has a growing dealer network, and everything they sell is also available from their website -- I've ordered a lot from V-O over the years and their packing and shipping are first rate. Rivendell does have dealers scattered around the country, though not many -- but their website sales and over-the-phone customer service are tops.
It's possible that someone might want one of the bikes or brands I've mentioned, but not have a dealer in their area. If that person isn't confident in their ability to order the "right" bike/frame/components for their needs, and because I strongly value supporting local bicycle dealers, I'd suggest asking a favorite dealer if they'd be willing and/or able to help with or handle the order, even if they aren't regularly a dealer of that brand (it can't hurt to ask) -- and be willing and ready to pay for their assistance -- it will be worthwhile.