I've been living in London for 4 odd months now (arrived 18th September last year), and have tardily (for I have already spent around £390) come to the conclusion that public transportation is self-mutilation in this city.
As such I have to purchase a bike ASAP. As you can see, from the dough I've already thrown around with transport, I could have bought an expensive bike.
However ATM my finances aren't exactly in the happy zone so I've set myself the £100 limit.
Why this thread then?
Well back in Lisbon where I last cycled I used a hybrid bike that allowed me to travel in the city asphalt and the rural sand/light off-piste terrain.
Here in London I've noticed people use single-speed road bikes a lot, due to the general evenness of the turf (not many ups-and-downs, to be sure).
I used my mate's road bike with thin tires a few times last term and ended up popping his front tire because those thin wheels are really quite fragile, and any crack you go over on the strässe means they will go kaput.
On the other hand I reached soaring speeds with this thin-and-large-wheeled bicycle of his I'm pretty sure I haven't attained since my tour down the south of Portugal in Summer 2009 (c. 310 km total length traversed, back in the days when I was fit).
Basically I want a bike that won't give me any hassle, and it seems the single-speed eliminates the gear-changing headaches I used to have, whilst the thin wheels supply faster riding.
I have been scooping around gumtree and ebay.co.uk but I'm not sure which is a solid brand to buy.
This dude is offering his old lightweight aluminium racing road bike with Campagnolo parts for £100 (http://www.gumtree.com/london/59/71545659.html
On the other hand Rutland Cycling is offering a brand-new Coyote Urban Single-speed Courier Bike for £150 (http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/COYOTE-URBAN-S...#ht_3573wt_905
Yet another man is peddling a one-year-old Viking Racer Bicycle for £139 (http://www.gumtree.com/london/98/71684098.html
Now I've read Viking is a cheap brand, and that Coyote fairs little better. I've also read second-hand bikes from higher-end makers such as Campagnolo are to be trusted.
So if I buy a second-hand bike which is old but is of high quality (ie. Raleigh or Specialised) that I might have to change tires or substitute brakes for, or handle the rust on, this is still less of a chore than a new bike of lower quality?
I just want the least amount of stress possible. For my 100% substitution of public transport to be successful I need to have a reliable bike that I will use every single day of the week to commute to Zone 1 (I live in Zone 2, North London) without problems.
Any advice is welcome.