I am sorry for my impatience--posting a question when I could perhaps find this information somewhere--but I have spent about 5 hours today online reading up on bikes and in bike forums--whereas I knew absolutely nothing before. And I guess I'm all worked up and excited about my decision to start commuting by bike.
My commute is about 4.5 miles commute (on pavement) and I do want the option to carry a certain amount of cargo with me -- after work I am a student and I also go to and from the gym, so I have some equipment and books that I will always carry with me.
I feel that, as a 5'1" woman I should definitely get a new bike as my size won't be so easy to fit, but I am not sure I can spend $600-$1000 right now for a new Breezer, or other commute-specific bike. We have small bike shops in my area (Pasadena, CA) but I am betting that they mostly have mountain bikes--I am not sure how easy it will be for me to buy a new commuter bike through a small shop. I am also a bit scared to buy online because making all of the measurements seems confusing and difficult.
Should I try to get a hybrid bike through a shop and then try to put a rack/mirror on it?
Or do you know of a somewhat inexpensive brand of a commuter bike that I should try to purchase online?
Again, sorry for the newbie questions. And thank you very much in advance!