Bike to Work Day Friday: How to choose a commuter bike

Friday is National Bike to Work Day and and it's probably no coincidence that Annie of Yay Bikes put out a Guide to Choosing a Commuter Bike this week:

First figure out your needs. 

Annie of Yay Bikes!
Annie of Yay Bikes!

I mean in every dimension.  How big is the city where you live?  Does it have bike lanes, and how prevalent are they?  What are the terrain and conditions (examples: hilly, flat, rains a lot, windy, freezes in winter, insanely hot in summer)?  How far away is the average commute, and how far are the majority of your errands?  Are you going to be taking recreational rides with this bike as well as utility cycling?  How far/often?

This stuff matters.  The REASON it matters is the type of bike that will work best for your needs changes based on all these factors and if you walk into a bike shop without a decent idea what you'll actually use the bike for, you're less likely to walk out with the right bike for you.

Read on, as Annie steps you through the considerations in choosing a frame, gears, brakes, ride position, lights, rack, and fenders--basically everything you need to think about when choosing a commuter bike!

National Bike Month