it is a new year and i need a new bike.
there's just no way around it. Of the 5 hand-me-down bikes i've been in possession of over the last decade, all of them have something askew.
The blue Trek is pretty much thrashed, I got the front changer hooked up to a shifter that looks like a charred finger, and I cannot stand riding the streets on 26" wheels. The lavender Schwinn Townie is a delight to ride but heavy, squeaky (I refuse to change the saddle as it is an original part, which I'm guessing goes back at least 25 years), and isn't equipped to hold panniers (though, I really do love the front basket). The Benotto frame was stripped over a year ago to outfit the Bridgestone, because the Bridgestone has rear mounts for a rack and the Benotto doesn't.
But as I've come to painfully discover - The Bridgestone frame is simply too small for me to have panniers on. That is to say, despite switching out 2 difference racks, and two different kinds of panniers, my heels keep hitting the latter no matter which way i put it together. So I need to get a new bike.
The problem is, i actually don't know that much about bikes. I just love riding them. I have a benotto, bridgestone, trek, and schwinn, and know that i don't like cannondales. But other than that, I'm pretty much at a loss when it comes to shopping for a new ride. I mean, clearly a more classic road frame with rear mounts and 700 wheels is what I'd prefer, maybe with townie handle bars, but what's a reliable and affordable make/model? I don't wanna read a book on the subject and Craigslist is overwhelming. Ugh. Dear internet-universe, what do you recommend?