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.

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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. 

First, riding in Chicago you probably want steel. It absorbs more of the shock of potholes, bumps and such. Having larger tires helps with this too. It can slow you down, but it much more comfortable when riding upright.

Getting something that is designed to carry a rack in the back makes life a lot better when you can use panniers rather than a backpack, esp. if you can park in an enclosed area on both ends. If you ride a lot, expect to spend some $$ on fenders, a new seat, and a lights. They can either come with or you can get them added on; depends upon the model.

My short-list includes the following for commuting / pleasure riding in roughly descending order of price. Of course the most important thing is to try these and see what feels comfortable!

- Rivendell Atlantis
- Surly LHT with modified handlebars for upright riding
- Linus bikes
- Momentum / Biria (some of the Birias are like knock-off Linus bikes)
- Classic Schwinn, including a used one that was made a long time ago.

Good luck!

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
Chain: $18
Cassette: $36
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

Total: $445

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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