I found these forums recently when I was doing some research on why the spokes on my back wheel kept on breaking, and what I could do about it. (Short answer, I'm buying a new back wheel. Long answer, I've got a particularly cheap bike, and this is the second spoke which has broken in the space of a couple of weeks. If it wasn't one of the spokes behind the gears (the rear block?) I would have tried to replace it myself, but I neither have nor want to buy the tools required to fix this particular problem. Well, not this year, anyways. I do plan on eventually having everything I need to build a bike from scratch, but I think I'm going to wait until I've moved into a house. With a garage.)
So, I suppose this is the part of the message where I say something about myself and my gear.
I'm 32, and live in midtown Toronto (Yonge and Davisville) with my wife and 2-year old daughter. I got my current bike five years ago (and it was a last-year's-model sale when I got it), but only started commuting with it to my programming job at King and University in the spring of last year. I forget whether I started commuting to save the $20/week that the TTC was charging me, or whether it was for health reasons, but either way I know that now I much prefer to ride than to take transit. We'll see whether I still prefer riding in the middle of winter.
My bike is a Trek MountainTrek 800. It's both cheap and stupidly heavy, and with the knobbly tires it's probably completely unsuited for the commuter riding I'm using it for. (My sole justification is that I ride for about .2 of a km on the Belt Line during my daily commute, so I need the mountain bike and knobbly tires for that gravel/wood chip surface, right? Uh-huh.) On the other hand, I don't particularly want to go faster than I currently do (50km/h max, 22-24km/h average), and riding a bike that weighs almost as much as I do (210 pounds) certainly gives me more exercise than I would get on a nice, pretty, new, light, carbon-fiber composite frame. These are the things I tell myself as I wheeze up the Poplar Plains Road hill.
Hmm... What else... I have a shiny new helmet which I always wear. (I got it as part of a Bike Week special deal.) I stop at every stop sign I come across. Yes, even the ones at the bottom of large hills. And I've been in one accident. With a cop.