A small intro
I'm Shep, living in the sunny and rain free region of Northern Ireland. A place of outstanding natural beauty + amazing off-road bike tracks. About a year ago i wrote off my motor. Because of shyloc style insurance agents i was unable to replace my car. When i was younger i used to cycle everywhere on an old raleigh 18 speed mountain bike but stopped when i got my license. So with no car i went and bought a trek 3500 21" mountain bike (no suspension + V brakes). Because i was mostly concerned with getting to work and back the no suspension wasn't a problem, but recently i have been doing some forest and mountain work and the rigid frame is killing me off-road. As a result of cycling to work everyday for almost a year (excusing sleeping in or snow) i have really caught the bug. Mostly because the extra fitness is helping me with my other hobbies and general awareness in everyday life. I have some questions that i will trail through this forum to find the right place to ask, and i hope they will be honestly answered.
The first thing to say is that we have now got a cycle to work programm in conjunction with Halfords. The result is that if i order a bike up to a value of £1000 pounds, the government will subsidise the payment. Meaning - i pay back the value before i get taxed, so all bike come with a immediate 25% discount. I have around £400 quid to spend on a bike, Halfords have told me i can go to Evanscycles.com and pick a bike. I have my heart set on hydraulic disc brakes and good front suspension, i don't like the idea of rear suspension.
Does anybody have some constructive criticism or input to help me make a really good long term choice for both on and off - road everyday cycling?