OK, so I finally solved the riddle - what bike would be perfect for my bike commuting needs? And while it hasn't solved every issue (like I can't tow the bike trailer with it, and it's not a minimalist, single-speed hipster steed), this bike has solved many of them in a truly environmentally sound way - since it's one of the two bikes I already own!!
I know that the bike world can be consumed with the need for the new (well maybe that's more about me...), the need for the super-specific fit between bike technology and bike use, the need to not just be heard, but seen... But isn't not buying anything the truest form of minimalism?
So here's how I commute now. On this - my road bike.
It's been waiting for me patiently all week, pining for the time to free up for that weekend ride to Palos Verdes, kept from the pedestrian chores of errands and my cruise to work like some hothouse flower. Finally I just went, "Crap, I LOVE riding that bike. I should ride it everyday! Why in God's name would I leave that bike at home?"
Now admittedly, I'm not going to leave this bike parked outside some bar for hours while I pound back Jeagers with visual effects data-crunchers from DD and their data-crunching girlfriends (actually anyone that knows me knows I'm exactly 100% more likely to be in bed by 8:30 watching the Daily Show with my lovely wife...). Yes, this bike needs a little love. But my commute isn't filled with hardcore curb-jumping or wheel-tacoing potholes. If it can handle the weekend road-miles it can certainly handle a couple miles through West LA to work. Right?
Obviously, when the confluence of desire and dollars meet somewhere down the line in a lusty surge of materialism, I will succumb. I'm human, after all. But until then you'll see me, waiting for the light to change at Olympic & Centinela, in pin-stripes and wing-tips, clipped in to a logo-encrusted road machine, with my laptop on my back (and a pack of Action Wipes waiting for me next to the Avid...)