Recommendations Requested


As you my faithful readers are acutely aware, I’m looking to acquire a different commuter bike.

I’ve oscillated between both ends of the spectrum – from “I HATE THIS BIKE!” to “Maybe I’m coming at it all wrong! The bike is fine, it’s just my attitude and perception!” And there is truth to both statements – the bike is a solid bike but is not built to be ridden the way I have been riding it. It’s for cruising bike paths. That’s what I bought the bike for too – to ride with my kids.

Then I developed a fever and the only prescription was MORE RIDING.

Photo credit: kgradiner (Flikr)

The bike has been a little over 790 miles in the past 16 months. She thankfully has tires with a bead that comes off easily so flat repair has been relatively quick. And she’s heavy so I feel pretty stable with my fully loaded pannier. But that heaviness is a killer on the uphill commute home – even with a triple.

I’ve been looking all over for a new ride to add to my stable – the primary use would be commuting and group riding whenever I didn’t feel like taking my carbon road ride out. I’m looking for relatively cheap (i.e., USED) but sturdy; takes fenders and a rack and wider tires for the few miles of off-road travel on the commute. Nothing flashy though – I will be taking her to downtown Philly regularly. Thinking a touring bike may be best?

(I won’t lie – the current bike is AWESOME on those dirt/gravel areas with her wide tires and heft.)

Everything I’ve seen that I think “wow, that’s cute!” ends up being just as heavy as I’m riding now. Let’s be clear – I’m not looking for an ultra-light bike! I want to be able to commute and not kill myself physically every time. Being able to pick it up and get it onto a train easily from a low platform, should I need to, is a bonus.

What would you recommend as a solid commuter bike for a hilly 15-16mi commute?

(You can also tell me I’m just a whiny person and to suck it up but that’s not very productive. I’m going to keep riding my current bike until a suitable replacement is found.)


Author: Laura

wife. mother. kick-ass girl. all mountain, all road adventurer by bike.

3 thoughts on “Recommendations Requested”

  1. Of course I’m going to tell you to get an old Raleigh. Or Bianchi. An old steel or combo steel/aluminum will get you there. Heavy enough to hold a load, light enough to take a hill. The gears are a bit wonky, though, so I’d worry about that a bit. My rear space isn’t big enough to take a modern groupo, hence leaving it intact (also, my wallet isn’t big enough, either.) I’ll tell you what my opinion is after riding the so-called Blue Bomber (named by the shop, not me) around to the grocery, etc.

    1. I found a totes adorbs Raleigh Sprite in yellow with all original in good condition but read the rear deraillieur is total crap. Checking out what it would cost to replace and save the original.

      Raleighs have come up a lot … definitely high on my list. Would love to hear your thoughts on Bebe (my shorthand for Blue Bomber). 🙂

  2. An old Cannondale, early 90’s – aluminum frame with a chromo fork. Light but rigid, will take wider tires. They’re fantastic bikes. I gave mine to my wife, a 1990 SR400.

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