Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Dallas area, Texas
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My bike has bar-end shifters, but as far as I was aware, the advantage to them is lower cost.
What you should look for: Something fun to ride. I say this because just about any bike can be used for what you're describing. I've ridden centuries on my Worksman cruiser, for example. So if anything will work, go for something fun.
(By the way, I wouldn't expect lower-end steel bikes to be especially light, fenders or no.)
On the centuries, if you do charity rides, where they have rest stops every 10 miles, you don't need to tote much of anything along. If you're doing riding on your own, a rack comes in handy for assorted junk, including addtional water bottles in the hot and extra clothing in the cold.
"be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."