With a young family, commuting by bike is most often the only chance I have to get out on my bike these days so I feel very lucky to have such a picturesque daily route. Thanks to NCN route 43 that is mixture of canal towpath, converted former railway line route and river side track down the Swansea Valley, coming out to the sea front, crashing waves and the wonderful mumbles, I hardly encounter any traffic apart from the first quarter of a mile from my house and last half mile from sea front to the office. The Boardman Team CX has been pretty good as a commute and winter weekend bike. In October though the one of the gear levers (SRAM Apex) snapped and for 2 months I was stuck on the 16 tooth at the rear and interchanged between the 50 tooth and 34 tooth chain rings until I had a free weekend to overhaul and swap an old ultegra levers from on another bike plus a few new tiagra bits. But with the extra power from riding almost single speed everyday for a couple of months; I find I don't change gear as often I as I used to. I don't even use the small chainring any more, not even on short climbs.
Anyone considering taking up commuting in 2013, I would advise the following: invest in a supply of base layers (cheap ones from Aldi or Lidl are fine for commuting), shorts (i-team ones of course) and socks as your laundry will increase - the magazines never tell you this. I even invested in a tumble dryer this year as a result since we've not quite had the weather for frequent outside drying. My other bit of advice would be tyres: Conti Gator hardshells - not a single puncture in over a year on a pair of 28s. Have now put on a pair of 700x32 of the same version for winter commuting. Finally, if possible make the most of off road cycle routes, they are much more fun, relaxed and safe. It might add a bit to the distance, for example, my route is 9 miles each way but if I stuck to the most direct route on road, it would only be 7 miles.