Hi all!
It's been a while since I've posted, but I have been keeping up on reading now and again and am happy to see everyone still sharing ideas and stories here.

I'm in the market for a new bike (!). I have been road cycling for about 7 years on a Focus Corrente and I love it. Really appreciate the flat bar (had it rebuilt into a slightly angled bar, with bar ends) and more upright position due to low back challenges. I started commuting to work in the spring and fall - won't ride in the dark - and am thinking it's time to either a) get a 'better' bike for my road/exercise/distance bike and turn the Focus into my commuter, or b) get a lower-end bike for commuting and take the pannier racks off my Focus.

In looking at the newer flat-bar bikes and comparisons to drop-bar bikes, it sounds like geometry is changing with some drop-bar bikes to accommodate the non-racing riders, but I do like the wider grip of the flat bar as it makes me feel more in control, and I have pretty wide shoulders, too. Currently riding 28mm tires and they are suiting my needs, which include the occasional foray into the gravel roads of Forest Park. Love disc brakes for our often wet roads.

Would love to hear any advice, love/hate stories about bikes/brands/styles, or other insights that are out there.

Many Thanks!