I've finally started commuting. Normally I car share with a friend (always trying to help the environment), but he has gone on holiday for 2 weeks leaving me with the prospect of the bus or to get off my lazy arse and actually cycle in with my friends old hardtail mtb. I decided the latter.
Hasn't been the best week to start, with 3 out of 5 days being mainly wet, but the showers in the office are good and my clothing tends to dry out by the end of the day.
I'm from Cardiff in the UK (hello fellow Cardiff commuters) and my commutes look like this on the way and this on the way home, giving me quite a good work out and nice warm fuzzy feeling when i get home (probably my legs tingling from the shock of exercise). Despite the wet weather i am enjoying it and I am getting to work faster than I would on the bus, though not in the car.
I don't think i'll be commuting during the winter (sorry call me a fair weather cyclist or whatever, i'll call myself sensible), stopping probably in September/October.
The company I work for has just signed up to the cycle scheme (you get about 30% of the price of a bike and you pay for it through your monthly wage so it ends up being something like £15 a month for 18months) so i'm planning on taking advantage of that. So i've been looking for a bike for my ride and to suit me generally. I'm considering a Hybrid or a MTB (with rigid fork or lockouts) as I don't think a road bike or a cyclocross bike would suit my wants and needs.
There's a few that have caught my eye from the Kona Dew (and Dew Plus) to the Specialized Hardrock or Globe Vienna 3.
Is there anything anyone would really recommend I look at in the <£350ish range?
Also from reading the forums here it seems you always recommend a test ride. How do you go about a test ride, as riding up and down the pavement outside a shop can be a bit different from the terrains and routes i'll be encountering on my work rides.