experienced rider looking for first comfort/errand bike
I've been riding for my whole life. I have a serious Felt road race bike and a Specialized stumpjumper mountain bike. Both do their jobs great. I also have a cheap hardware store beach cruiser that I converted to a 3 speed hub- horrible quality bike and I'm not happy with it.
My wife just bought an Electra Townie and wants to start riding everywhere. We're moving to Hawaii soon (thanks US Navy!)
I'd like to get a high quality bike to: cruise around, ride to the beach, ride everywhere around town, ride to the bars, go get meals, small shopping trips, etc. Everything is paved, most trips under 5 miles. I'll want a rear rack and a side bag to hold stuff. Oh, and almost all riding in flip flops and shorts. I do want a lot of gears, I've very picky about keeping my cadence the same.
Of course being a total gear head- I can't just ride a plain-jane commuter. So something I'll take pride in ownership and not look "sissy", and have high quality components and be light weight.
Any suggestions? I'm looking at the $500-1000 price range, but the lower end of that would be better.
I saw felt has a cafe 24, trek has the 7000 series bike path bikes. What else should I consider?
Take a look at the Simple City series at Gary Fisher. If the front basket is too "sissy", then you can slide over to their other urban hybrids (the 3-speed doesn't come with the basket, but I assumed you'd want 8 vs 3 gears) - tho' derailleurs vs internal hub is the big change for a bike that may see some blowing sand from time to time.
Another bike you can look at is the Novara Transfer @ REI. Another internal hub, w/ a rear rack and conventional frame style you're looking for.