Long story short - I've owned a Cannondale CAAD 10 road bike for a year. I do not race or use it for any real road riding purposes. I was also recently injured falling off the bike (fell of steep curb, lost stability and flew into the pavement), and I feel I could have avoided my accident or at least it wouldn't have been as bad if I was on a less responsive/twitchy race bike and something more sturdy with thicker tires and a more upright riding position. I am looking to make a switch to suit my riding needs (casual rides between 5-50 miles with the option to do an occasional century or two, riding on greenways, uneven paths, NYC roads full of bumps, potholes and obstacles like pedestrians and cars that want to kill you) and to be safer as well. I have considered the following:
1. Road bike that is more relaxed geometry/endurance/comfort oriented with thicker tires (as opposed to race-oriented/aggressive) - like Specialized Secteur/Roubaix, Somafab bikes
2. Cyclocross - Specialized Tricross
3. Touring bikes like Surly LHT, Cross-check, Jamis Aurora, Somafab bikes
4. Hybrid/city/urban - Specialized Sirrus, Trek FX 7.3/7.4, 7.5,
5. Lightish Hardtail mountain bike - Montague Paratrooper, Specialized Rockhopper
I am also curious about steel frames, but have never owned one before. Although I'm not against flat bars, my problem with them in the past has been numb hands from keeping my hands in the same position the entire time. It would be great if the bike is able to easily and safely carry a baby/child seat if needed.
I am strongly leaning towards 3 and 4 at this point. The Surly bikes (or something similar like Soma or another brand that makes steel bikes cheaper) or Hybrids like the Sirrus seem to fit the bill. Budget about $500-$1000. Any suggestions where to start and what brands/models to look at? Would love to hear from people similar to me who have switched from aggressive racing road bikes to something with a more relaxed geometry.