Help request for new commuter.
My name is Ron and 3 months ago it had been 25+ years since I rode a bike. I passed 500 miles this week. I am the kind of guy who taught himself how to wrench on bikes when I was a kid, so please forgive the fact that I know very little jargon. My commute is 30 miles round trip and I can ride 3 days straight, or 4 days with a one day break on Wed. I am hoping you all can help me with some issues.
1. My bike cost about 1/5th of what most bikes on this board go for. It is a Diamondback Edgewood comfort/hybrid. It has a suspension fork that seems to be made for my 8 year old daughter, I am 6-1 and trying desperately to get under 200 pounds (the bike has helped with about 25 already!) So a new fork would be nice. My issue is that the bike has a 1 1/8 inch threaded steerer (may be the wrong jargon) and I can't find a rigid fork to fit anywhere. Anyone know of a source?
2. I use a U lock mounted to the vertical bar that the seat post goes in. It is a quality lock but the U does have some play when locked and it occasionally bumps my knee. Any way to tame it? I have decreased my time from 1 1/2 hour to 1 hour 8 minutes (I'll be below an hour soon!) and the faster I ride the more this is an issue.
3. I am relativly sure I am out of luck on this one. The bike has a revited 3 ring chain ring and a 7 speed free wheel. At this point I am basically using it as a fixed speed bike, thier is 1 hill each way where I have to shift to "1" on the rear. My local bike shop says $100.00 to swap in an 8 speed cassette with a taller top gear. That's almost 50% of the cost of the bike, anyone have a less expensive solution?
Thank you all in advance, I know this is wordy but I truly want to improve. I have fit a rack and CoPilot child seat and my youngest daughter loves riding. I have been looking at a method of exercise that I enjoyed enough to make a lifestyle for years and bicycling is definitely it for me. I am planning on fitting a SETMA rack and then all my grocery store runs will be on bike.