I'm looking for a bike to commute to work and would love some suggestions. My commute will be 7 miles each way, with 150 feet of ascent on the morning trip. (If there are any locals: I live in Malden, MA near the Malden Center T station and commute to the Financial District in Boston). The roads are not the best where I live, with quite a lot of potholes. I'm about 5'5" and weights 140 lbs. My stand over height is about 30". I usually carry 10 to 15 lbs, and would like to put my luggage in some rear panniers. I would also want to put on some fenders. My budget is $600 - $1200. The bike would be stored indoor both at home and at work; theft (hopefully!) should not be a problem.
I rode a bike a lot when I was a kid, but hasn't rode one for the last 15 years; I'm also totally new to road riding. I plan to learn how to service my bike in the future, and am currently undecided on whether to buy from a LBS or online.
Some ideas I have from reading the forum:
Janis Satellite: There's a 51 cm the EMS can ship to a local store. But I'm not sure if this can fit a pannier, or if it's too "roady" for some of the punishing roads I have around here.
Big thanks for any suggestions!