In many ways, a bicycle set-up for touring represents the ideal commuter – strong, durable, comfortable, relatively upright, and dependable. But for those of us with U.S.-scale commutes (like my 10-mile ride into work with hills), the racked, bagged, sturdy touring bike can be overkill and less than satisfying riding home after a long day. Plus, I like to think that my 20-mile round trip commute stands as my fitness regimen, rendering trips to the gym or runs after work unnecessary (plus, more time at home with the kids).
That being said, at least one day a week, I find myself needing to slog in a bunch of stuff – clothes, books, grading, and my 15″ laptop. This is when a touring bike can be handy. But I pine for a commuter-version of my Ebisu randonneuse – light, quick, perhaps with only a porter rack to bring a computer bag and even a small grocery run on the way home.