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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 03-30-14, 04:25 PM   #1
nvr2busy2ride
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Good commuter and family bke

I'm looking for a good bike to double as a commuter and weekend rider with the family (child seat will be on the back or front.) I have a short commute (3 miles) but need to take BART (the SF bay commuter train) so I'm looking for a bike that does not have wide handlebars and is not too heavy or long. I would love a vintage road bike but worry about the stability with the baby on back. I would like to find something (new or used) for <$500. It doesn't need to be fancy, I have my nicer road bike for that already. I was thinking a touring bike may fit the bill nicely but was wondering if anyone had any suggestions.
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Old 03-30-14, 11:16 PM   #2
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Lots of options you can consider. If you want new it would most likely be a hybrid at that price. Used you might have more options, but my experience in the bay area is that everyone wants way too much money for a used bike, especially when you consider what you can find new right now.

Sounds like you want a bike that has attachments for a rack as that may be needed for a child seat.

Touring bike would be nice and stable, but it also might be long, a possible negative for BART.

Don't worry to much about handlebar, you can swap out for a narrower one if needed. If you go with a flat bar you might even be able to cut it down, though I would suggest findng a bike you like and seeing if the handlebar length is an issue before you do anything about it.

You might consider seeing if any of the REI Novaro brand bike work, as they ahve a 20% off coupon right now.

If commute into San Francisco, consider Public Bikes. They have a big sale on the 2013 bikes right now (in store only) as they are moving from two locations to 1 bigger one. You can get a few models for under $500 right now. Might work well for a short commute like that.
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Old 03-31-14, 06:08 AM   #3
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Everybody's gonna suggest their own bikes so I might as well start. I use a Giant Escape 2, which is urban "city" machine quite capable of everything you describe. It works for commuting/shopping/car-lite transportation, sits tall, and is quite stable. I got mine for a trade about 2 years ago, but the price for these critters falls in your range. It's aluminum, so it may be a bit harsh on bumpy roads; it has a triple for your hills. I'm a satisfied owner. Pic:
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Old 03-31-14, 07:50 AM   #4
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Go to the Bike Kitchen in San Francisco and get more personal and accurate recommendations.
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Old 03-31-14, 07:56 AM   #5
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My Dahon Espresso (similar to Matrix, too) worked well with a Topeak kiddie seat up until the boys hit 40 lbs or so. And it folds!
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Old 03-31-14, 01:05 PM   #6
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Last time I was down there BART in rush hour let no Biles on and you had to catch

a Cal Trans trailer-van combination to get across the bay bridge.

now the popular choice is folding bikes with little wheels , those are permitted during peak hours.
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Old 03-31-14, 07:06 PM   #7
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Last time I was down there BART in rush hour let no Biles on and you had to catch

a Cal Trans trailer-van combination to get across the bay bridge.

now the popular choice is folding bikes with little wheels , those are permitted during peak hours.
I thought last year, BART finally opened up to rush hour cyclist.


But a folder is still the best option for BART. Maybe OP should figure out how to put the child seat on the road bike or trade it in for something that will work.
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Old 03-31-14, 07:08 PM   #8
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As always solution is N+1 baby ..
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Old 03-31-14, 10:28 PM   #9
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As always solution is N+1 baby ..
Actually, his solution sounds closer to N+2.
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Old 04-01-14, 06:59 PM   #10
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For both of these my preference would be an upright. It's more comfortable and makes conversation a lot easier. I'm also a fan of keeping kids in front which also makes conversation a lot easier with them than if they're behind staring at your rump and they enjoy the ride a whole lot more in front. Both of the following can be done with front shields to cut the wind in winter.

For older kids something like this:



And for younger a Bobike Mini:
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Old 04-01-14, 07:45 PM   #11
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^ Dutch parents use child seats like those; they might be a good option.

I just wanted to say that my parents used to cart me around on their vintage Raleigh Sport bikes (made in the 1940s or 1950s) that they'd bought from a thrift store, with a child seat that looked like this. They told me that I didn't fall from it, I think, because there was a safety strap.

Vtg Leco Bicycle Child Seat Carrier Made in England Green Plaid Metal Frame | eBay

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Old 04-01-14, 08:21 PM   #12
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^ Dutch parents use child seats like those; they might be a good option.

I just wanted to say that my parents used to cart me around on their vintage Raleigh Sport bikes (made in the 1940s or 1950s) that they'd bought from a thrift store, with a child seat that looked like this. They told me that I didn't fall from it, I think, because there was a safety strap.

Vtg Leco Bicycle Child Seat Carrier Made in England Green Plaid Metal Frame | eBay
That's almost exactly the seat my Mom toted me around on.
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