I commute 8-10 miles a day to and from work in Chicago.
I like to sit upright while riding.
I'm comfortable being the slowest person in the bike lane 10-14 mph average.
People say I carry a lot of weight when I ride. (i.e. lunch bag, change of clothes, work laptop).
Don't know how relevant this is but I work in the Loop so traffic is for real every single morning.
Sounds like you’ve got it pretty well zeroed in! For what it’s worth, I’ve never been sorry for installing a rack and buying Ortlieb pannier bags. No sweat in the summer and they’re totally waterproof.
A new bike! Did you already get it and are just outfiting it now, or are you spec'ing on out the whole thing?Will you get to transfer some of the accessories off your current bike in the pic, except maybe the fenders and water bottle rack? Filka's pannier choice is excellent, will you transfer the Brooks saddle as well? You're good with a pump, patch kit, and my favorite bike accessory, a cheap plastic hotel shower cap with a rubber band to keep the saddle dry? (or didn't you have a covered space at work to keep the whole rig dry?) Speaking of, I'm a fan of the front tire fender on a commuter bike. You're gonna get wet anyhow, but it keeps my pants (and bike) from picking up as much mud/grime. Bell and lights all good? (both using the same kind of batteries so you're not carrying both for back-up?) Fun project.
I second most of what Brian said. If budget conscious consider a used bike. Years ago I bought a used Trek 7100 hybrid and put thousands of miles on it. I recently "upgraded" to a 1985 Miyata 210 and am happy with it so far. I found the lake front's wind slowed me WAY down with the hybrid's upright seating. I went used because I couldn't justify $1300+ for a new. bike (touring or gravel) that met my needs. I got the Miyata from a used. bike store for $250. It's a few pounds heavier than I'd like but otherwise is perfect.
I ended up getting my current bike repaired at my local bike shop.
Here's what their plans are at Uptown Bikes. They came highly recommended.
Here is a breakdown of the recommended work:
Winter Service Special (Complete Tune Up, Cleaning, New parts Installation): $125
Front and Rear Brake Pads: 2 pairs @ $9/pair
Front and Rear Brake Cables: 2 @ $6 each
Front and Rear Brake Housing: $6
Front and Rear Shift Cables: 2 @ $6 each
Front and Rear Shift Housing: $6
Rear tire: $62
Rear tube: $9
Rear Wheel: $100
Rim tape for rear wheel: $5
Small Parts Allowance: $5
Sound like a deal?
That's what the parts would cost. $125 for the expertise to set it all up is very good.
Lots of good advice has already been posted. it really doesn't matter what works for me but what works for you. I agree with the suggestions of Ortlieb panniers and a Brooks saddle. I use both but you may not like them. The most important thing you need for a commute to the loop is a good U-lock and cable combination. You must be able to lock both wheels and your frame to at least one point on a rack. There are plenty of threads about locking here. You have to find the balance between the desire, as Ketoguychicago puts it, to get a new bike and the caution that Kyle posits of getting a used one. Either bike has to be locked up securely. I had a bike stolen when I was fool enough to use a good lock with an inferior cable simply because the good cable was too heavy to me the morning I made the bad decision. That bike is long gone. When you lock up you want to be able to easily strip ALL of the stuff that can be pilfered, pumps, lights, computers, bottles, etc. and throw it in the pannier before you walk away from your rig.
Basics you want include fenders, lights, a water bottle, panniers and a rack. I know that people like to tote things on their backs and on a short trip that is ok. I used an xs Timbuk 2 bag to carry a lock and a couple of things to a CTA station that allows me to securely park inside the turnstyle right by the employee's booth. I only need my u-lock there. When I commute to the loop I always use panniers. Long trips with a heavy bag may score you cool points but I just don't get it and I also admit that is an old guy rant.
Your distance has you in between bike type choices. When I bought the FX 7.5 I thought I wanted a dutch style city bike and a guy at a shop explained to me that my commute is a little too far for such a bike. I think he was right in my a dutch style bike is perfect for a 5 mile commute and might still be good for yours. I like the fx because it is nimble enough for longer adventures and beastly enough to deal with the urban jungle. If you have cash to spend there some very cool and eye catching city bikes. You have to figure out if that is your thing and if you can afford it.
What kind of bike, what kind of seat, even what kind of panniers, lights etc.? That is up to your sense of style, practicality and budget. There are a lot of ways to do this.
Dav I agree with Dave. (and the new vs. used thing, I actually have 4 bikes acquired used) Mostly I'm just excited when anyone gets a bike that's new to them!
Yup. It takes us all back to being a kid and getting that shiny new bike!
My first bike was a Schwinn, bought from a guy named.... wait for it.... David!
For commuting, I really like my Topeak Trunk Bag, with the corresponding rear rack, of course. When I have a lot to haul, the expandable rear panniers on either side are very convenient, and its nice to be able to fold them up and zip them in when not necessary to keep the bag with a trim profile. I can easily carry a case of beer in cans (half case in either side) when using the panniers. Plus, if you have more than one bike in the stable, you can use the bag on multiple commuters. Very easy on and off, it doesn't seem like a big deal, but I hate wasting time affixing things to a rack. You get used to the capacity of the Trunk Bag once you pack it a few times. Whenever I feel like capacity is an issue, a backpack suffices nicely, but generally I like to keep gear off my back, especially in the warmer months.
Yep, the back-back thing I'm less of a fan of now versus a few years back The more weight I can put right on the frame and the less on my spine and, er, saddle, the happier I am and balance better too. Smoother ride as well.
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