I've been using my Specialized Allez Double for the past few days to commute to work. It's ~8.3 miles one way, slightly uphill on the way to work. Well I've discovered what everyone here knows: that a racing bike isn't really the best choice for a commute. Sweaty back from backpack, rough pavement, getting off to carry the bike over a puddle...all the stuff you read about.
The general consensus seems to be that a touring bike is a good choice for commuting. Steel frame, 28 or 32 tires, rack mounts, fenders all come to mind. However, I was a little surprised looking at some of the models that the prices hover around $1100 for this type of bike. And that's without the rack, fenders and all of the other stuff you need. I guess it seems strange that a racing bike with carbon fiber parts can be had for ~$700 whereas an "old-tech" steel bike costs substantially more. Bikes I've looked at include the Surly LHT, Jamis Aurora, Bianchi Volpe, Salsa Casseroll. Am I missing something here?
To get to the point, I seem to have 4 options:
1. Put a rack on the Allez. It'll be a bit weird and it'll solve only the backpack problem but it's the cheapest option.
2. Get the touring bike. This is obviously more expensive but if I'll be putting ~3000 miles on this thing per year, it could easily be worth it. The money isn't really a big problem for me financially but I don't want to make a foolish decision either.
3. Try to find a suitable good-condition used road bike at an LBS and modify that as needed. Perhaps even start with a frame and build something up. I really don't know how much that will end up costing since I've never built up or modified a bike significantly. Lack of experience also might make it difficult to choose the right parts.
4. Something else?
So, what would you do in my place? Any advice or suggestions are appreciated.