I need a new bike... not "would like" a new bike, I NEED a new bike. I have for 4 years, but don't have the time or energy to research what to get. I'm hoping the collective brains of Chainlink will help point me in the right direction, based on the following parameters:
1. I commute 7 miles OT, year round, to the loop from Northcenter.
2. I've been riding a POS mountain bike on said commute for 5 years. It can be my winter bike if needed.
3. I haul my 7yo on a trail a bike 3.5 miles in the morning (so I need to have fenders)
4. I have secure bike parking, so I feel comfortable spending up to $1k.
5. I like deals, so usually wait for the end of the season then get busy and miss all the sales.
I've always thought I would get a cyclocross bike and just add fenders and racks. But I don't know what's a good, quality brand to look for. Any suggestions? Even better, any particularly good end-of-season sales?