I'm looking for a new bike. I ride mostly short distances (i.e. <5 miles), but often several times a day. It is mostly flat where I live (Oakland, CA) and I ride year round which means some rain but no snow.
I almost never drive; I ride my bike to school, to the grocery store and everywhere else I go from day to day. This means that I often need to carry quite a bit of weight and bulk on local trips (bag of groceries, heavy books, etc.). On my current bike, which is an old beater that's falling apart, I have a rack on the back with a milk crate strapped to it with bungee cords. Low-tech, but gets the job done.
Everything I've written so far would suggest a commuter bike like the Jamis Coda, Trek Sirrus or Cannondale Bad Boy would be a good option for me. However, what I haven't said yet is that 1) I hate being in an upright position when I ride, and 2) I like to go fast and have fun when I ride. I've ridden the bikes listed above and I just can't stand their geometry. They're no fun at all.
I guess I'm looking for more of a "cyclocross" bike than a commuter.
Today I went to my local shop and rode a Rocky Mountain Boroughs, and a Langster. I absolutely fell in love with the RM Boroughs. Fast, handles like a dream, great geometry and beautiful simplicity. This only problem with this bike for me is that it's impossible to put a rack on it and I don't know if I can fit everything I need to carry in one backpack. The Langster felt pretty good too; it can accommodate a rack, and it has a one-speed option whereas the Boroughs does not. But I didn't like the geometry, it wasn't nearly as tight as the RM, and I hate the look of it.
With all of this in mind, what bike would you recommend for me? $800 is the general range... could do a little more if I was convinced the extra expense is worthwhile, but definitely no more than $1k.