|Mendo's commuter. She's car-free! Courtesy: mendocino04|
I chose my bike when I was bike commuting. So, for practicality it has full fenders, lights, a rack, seat bag filled with tools and spares and a patch kit, a bell, AND a kickstand. It's my only transportation; I've been car-free for over five years. I was laid off, but to stay in bike commuting shape I now ride the trails in my city - 15 miles a day. I've long since replaced the original tires with skinnier ones, replaced the back wheel after an accident, and I've learned how to do basic maintenance and to keep my drivetrain beautifully clean. I love my bike. I ride it year-round without complaint. I haul groceries with it. I run errands with it. It gets me where I need to go.
I bought it when I was bike-commuting in 2010 and added all the commuting necessities - rack, lights, etc. When I wore out the 700x40 tires that came on the bike I went smaller - 700x35, and now I'm faster. Other than the replaced wheel (from an accident) and the tires it's still got all its original equipment although some of it is getting pretty worn: handlebar grips, seat, etc. I also bought it because it's got an aluminum frame and even weighed down by accessories I can easily carry it upstairs to my apartment every day. I needed to consider carrying it when I considered frame geometry, etc.
Car-free isn't difficult when you get used to it. You tend to get creative with carrying loads, like two 12-packs of diet soda plus two full grocery bags! Good rain gear, good lights, and good accessories make it pretty easy. In case you're interested, I wrote about living car-free on my blog: