My commuter bike:
Built like a tank, my KHS Urban-X is the ideal all-round commuter bike for the treacherous pot-holed streets of Atlanta. I think it cost me $375 in early 2007, and came fully kitted out with rack, fenders and a kickstand. Since then I’ve added campus pedals (clipless on one side, fine for regular shoes on the other), a Brooks saddle (the best saddle ever), new grips (but only because the last ones wore out) and, as you can see, an extremely dorky giant reflective triangle on the back of my rack pack. I use the rack pack for clothes and my Breezer ‘biz pannier’ for everything from books to papers to my laptop. I also go for dual front-light overkill and the world’s sturdiest (yet heavy and rattly) lock. I’ve taken the quick releases off of the wheels, replacing them with hex-key skewers, and the rather pricy saddle is also padlocked on with a wee lock. Not enough to deter the determined thief with a set of tools, but good enough to thwart opportunistic pilferers while the bike is locked up outside all day. In short, it ain’t light or even particularly pretty, but it takes me on my 15 mile daily commute with comfort, utility and baddassitude.
My road bike:
For leisure riding I ride a 2007 Giant OCR-3. This was about $650 in early spring 2008. Giant’s entry level road bike, the OCR-3 is perfect for me: I tend to do a maximum of 25 or 30 miles at a time, though this bike would be absolutely fine for much, much longer rides. Light, fast and sturdy, it’s survived a wrist-breaking spill on some wet train tracks and having its front wheel crunched by a minivan (obviously the wheel itself was a write-off, but the forks were just fine). I haven’t made any modifications, except for replacing worn-out bar tape, and the addition of a much swankier front wheel courtesy of the dude who ran me over.