OK. Here's what I tell most people in your situation. Go down to a used bike shop and look for a "hardtail mountain bike." This is simply a mountain bike without any shocks (suspension). You should be able to find a decent one (I see a lot of 80s and 90s Specialized Hard Rocks and the likes) for around $150. From there, I would invest in a good Kryptonite U lock (Kryptonite is the brand, U is the shape). Make sure to ask the shop if it is a flat key lock (the cylinder key locks can be opened with a bic pen). If you still have some money, get some new tires with less tread. These'll help you go faster on roads. Get to know the people at this store and they'll help you with any troubles you might run into down the road. Enjoy!
Originally Posted by CardiacKid
I explained that he could never pay me enough cash for the amount of work I had put into that bike and the only way to compensate me for it was to ride the hell out of it.
A good condition, used bike is the best solution.
Avoid any suspension. Avoid something that is worn out.
Get something the correct size: a few inches of standover clearance and comfortable reach for the handlebars.
Make sure that the frame has small threaded eyelets for a luggage rack and fenders so you can carry stuff and ride on wet roads.
Road racing bikes (with high gears and thin tyres) are best avoided for short-range commuting. Look for a flat bar hybrid style, a non suspension MTB, or an old touring bike. Pretty much any style of bike will do the job. I rode this distance for years using an ancient 3 speed.
Accessories that make life easier include:
pump/spare inner tube/repair kit
Michael pretty much said it all, but if you want a new bike, I think you'd be best off going to a bike shop and telling them you want an inexpensive bike that fits you and you'll be happier than with any other solution.
That's because you'll get a bike that's suited to your needs, and one that will be properly adusted. Most department store bikes and some used bikes can come with small problems in wheel, brake and gear alignment.
As stated before, it'll cost you more like 250 dollars.
2004 Raleigh Talus, 2001 Motobecane Vent Noir (Custom build for heavy riders)
$150 can get you a well-used hardtail mountain bike, it may have a suspension fork though....in which case you should at least see if it feels solid. Avoid anything that has a rear suspension at this price, as it will most likely be junk.
A suspension fork should give *slightly* when you get on the bike...slightly is as in no more than 3/4 inch. It should also feel smooth and not springy if you push down on the handlebars.
Also look at the bike overall, there should not be any dents on it, and the wheels should not be warped, no major rust, etc. Chains and gears will rust depending on owner care.
My old diamondback outlook was sold for $150...and it was a great bike with lots of life left when I sold it. So if you have time to find a bargain, you can try used.
Pretty much the cheapest new bike shop bike you can get is around $200.