Newbie commuter here...have been mountain/road biking for a few years.
I am seriously thinking about getting into commuting on a regular basis (I already run short errands around town on the different bikes I own). I have this old Trek 820 that I would like to convert into a serious commuter.
1.) I don't really know where to start.
2.) I would like to upgrade the stem/handlebar situation, and I also don't like the grip shifters. I think I can "handle" that (wow, that was a terrible pun), but I need ideas on the perfect bar setup for commuting (I know this is mostly personal preference).
3.) I know I need a pair of semi-slicks as opposed to what is on there. I just got a new disc wheelset for my 03 Cannondale F400, and will probably put the non-disc wheels from the C-dale on this 820.
4.) What would you suggest for fenders/racks/panniers/etc.? This frame does not have braze-ons for any of the above...how would I go about attaching such things?
5.) My drive to work is approximately 18 miles one way. Most of this (15 miles or so) is on a major 4 lane U.S. Highway (65 mph speed limit). I can cut that off to approximately 12-13 miles on the major highway by going through a neighboring town. There is no way to cut it down any further, unless I take my F400 and go through the woods. I have to take the highway the rest of the way. About half of the ride on the highway has enough shoulder (3-4 feet) so that I would be out of the lane of traffic, but the other half has zero shoulder, so I would have to occupy a lane.
My question is...do any of you other commuters have a similar situation? Is what I am thinking about doing crazy? Insane? All of the above? I really, really want to try this, but I am worried about the highway situation. Most of the highway is straight, so there will be no surprises for a car speeding around a curve not seeing me in time.
I would only attempt doing this during the summer, when I have plenty of daylight both in the morning and at night. I work from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm dayshifts and 6:00 pm to 6:00 am nightshifts (I work a rotating weekly schedule).
Any help/input/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Even if this commute to work is not possible because of safety concerns, I will probably go ahead with the modifications on the 820, as I never ride it in its current state.