(note: this is a dated article that referred to a sale so the links stopped working. I updated them in April 2012, but they’ll surely change again someday)
I don’t really have an article for you today, but I stumbled across an interesting-looking sale at one of my preferred bike stores, Nashbar.com. They’ve got a free shipping deal on orders over $50, and some pretty sweet discounts on the end-of-summer ‘stash of bicycles. Looks like the sale only goes for about 2 days from the date of this article.
Here’s a link to their commuter bikes page, sorted from price low to high, in case you’re in the market.
Or if you want even easier advice, for a first-time bike owner who wants “just a good solid reliable bike for getting around the city and suburbs”, I’d recommend something like the GT Transeo.
I’ve bought 2 bikes from Nashbar in the past. They were both great – the only slight hitch is that they come to your house in a big box, and you have to put on the handlebars, wheels, and pedals to have it in riding shape. I found all the gears and brakes were already adjusted and working well.
I’ve also bought bikes from Craigslist – it is the more sociable and environmentally friendly way to go, and the bike will already be assembled. It just depends on your area. Here in the Boulder, Colorado area, high quality bikes and careful bicycle owners are very common – so the experience of buying used is very positive. In an area or state where biking is less popular, it might be frustrating to find a good used bike, or you might have to drive many miles to pick it up. In that case, ordering online and having it show up on your porch can be very nice.
Plus, with a new bike of reasonable quality, you generally get at least 2000 miles of luxurious trouble-free riding before anything even needs adjustment. My 2008 city bike from Nashbar (a K2 Astral 3.0 which cost me $299 during a similar sale) is still going strong and is in perfect shape, coming up on 2000 miles of city errands.