I'm not an experienced cyclist and I haven't owned a bike since I was in high school. That was in the early to mid '70s and things have changed a lot since then. I'm almost 50 and I'm 6'1" and I weigh 267.
My goal is to combine my new low carb low fat diet with exercise to lose weight and improve my strength and overall fitness. I am not interested in winning any races, but I'd like to participate in some longish rides when I get in better shape (day rides, not touring). Also, I live only 6 miles from where I work and I can shower and change at work, so a future goal of commuting to/from work might evolve. But my primary goal remains to lose weight and become more fit.
I'm heading to a couple of local bike shops on Monday to look at the bikes and hopefully find someone who's more of a bike expert than a salesperson. I know I'm going to be bewildered by all the choices, so I want to go armed with a little knowledge.
I'll be riding mostly on pavement. Offroad riding interests me conceptually, but I see that coming later on when I'm more fit. So I think a road bike is what I should be looking at, but I'm a bit intimidated by the leaned over riding position. It looks uncomfortable and I'm afraid my back and arms won't be able to take it. I've been looking at hybrids on web sites, and they seem like they'd be more comfortable because the seating position is more upright. But I've heard that they aren't optimum (whatever that means) for pure road use, and I wonder if they are suitable for a weight loss training regimen?
Finally, being somewhat heavy, I don't want to end up with a bike that is not up to the punishment of a 267 pound rider. I want something well built that won't fall apart on me.
What characteristics should I be looking for in a bike that is suited to my goals? For example, hybrid or road bike? Steel or aluminum frame? I live in mostly flat country, how many gears do I need?
I want to buy a bike that will suit me for at least five years. I'd rather spend a bit more and get something that'll last than buy something I'll be dissatisfied with in a couple of years. My budget is about $1300 for the bike itself or a bit more if the bang was worth the buck, not counting helmet and accessories.
I know the salespeople will be eager(!) to assist me when I go to the bike store, but I figure the more information I'm armed with before I walk in the door, the better off I'll be.
I'll appreciate any advice you can give me.