I've been very happy with my old three-speed over the last three years and it's still a fine bike for getting around Oxford, but I'm thinking about buying a new bike.
There are a few problems with my current bike:
* with steel wheel rims, the caliper brakes work very poorly when it's wet.
* the relatively high gearing makes hill-climbing difficult. I can just heave myself up Headington Hill, but it would be nice to be able to spin up a bit more comfortably.
* there have been occasional failures - my indicator spindle got stuck (locking me into 2nd gear), one of my brake cables broke, my shifter needed replacing, and so forth.
None of these are a real issue for commuting around Oxford, but:
* I've started going on recreational rides out of town. These haven't had hills I couldn't cope with, but it's been a real heave on a few occasions.
* I'm going to be using a baby seat or trailer at some point, and hauling a baby and trailer (or seat) will make the gearing a bigger problem.
The bicycle I'm thinking of buying is a Kettler, which is a reasonably respected German brand selling online into the UK. This would give me coaster brakes as well as the rim brakes and a significantly better gear range (with an 8-speed Shimano Nexus hub), plus a parking lock and dynamo lights as a bonus. Currently on sale at under £300, this won't break the bank or leave me (more than usually) paranoid about theft, but is a real bike, not a BSO.
Do my cycling friends have any comments on this, or any suggestions as to alternatives?