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Old 02-03-12, 06:09 AM
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You want to do urban utility riding, getting from A to B, running errands, maybe doing shopping on a bike.
You need a bike with sufficiently low gears for your terrain and threaded eyelets to accept a rear luggage rack and fenders.
Bikes should weight as much as they need to but no more. Front suspension is not needed and adds weight and maintenance.
A non suspension hybrid or "fitness style" flat bar bike is ideal. Look for a triple chainset with low gears. My own city bike uses 8 speed hub gears but the hills in SF may be too steep for the gear range of this clean, easy to use system.
Disk brakes maintain their performance in all conditions so are good for wet winter riding.
Wider tyres give better protection than narrower tyres over rough, potholed streets, esp when carrying a load. Hybrid 32-35mm tyres are fine for everyday use. Narrower tyres are better for long commutes on the open road. Dont skimp on tyres, get a reliable set with good puncture protection.

Dont underspend. Figure out what the alternative to cycling would cost over say, 5 years.
Budget for bike, luggage rack, fenders, lock, lighting, helmet, waterproofs, repair kit.
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