I've been lurking around reading these forums for ages and haven't really posted before. Due to some medical issues and of course, also through my own fault, I am currently 5'10" and just under 300lbs. Two years ago, I was 150lbs and I'm doing my best to get down again, at least to 200lbs and we'll see from there. I haven't really ridden since my early 20's (35 now) but I remember that I loved it. I want to start riding again for the fun of it and also for the benefit of exercise. Basically, what I end up getting will be my "car" since I don't have a car now and rely on public transportation in San Francisco. I envision using it to run errands, commute to work (five miles each way, two very steep hills), and for weekend rides along the coast or in the GG Park...more as I get more in shape. I guess I'm afraid that at my weight I'm going to break what I end up buying. From what I can tell from reading here though, it sounds like I could go with Steel or Aluminum for the frame and be ok as long as I make sure I have strong wheels. I am considering the following bikes which appeal to me the most. I can get any of them for $1500 or less, and that's all I want to spend for now. Could any of you give me your opinion on the below choices? Any model I should avoid? Anything stand out as the best choice?
Raleigh Superbe Roadster
Raleigh Alley Way
Globe Live 3
Civia Loring with SRAM i-9
Build up my own (Surly LHT or Rivendell Sam Hillborne or Betty Foy...along those lines)
I'm basically leaning towards a different model above each day ! I can see how this can be addictive! I should note that I am currently riding a bit on an old Trek 8500 in great shape that I picked up from a coworker, but no matter the adjustments I make, it's just not the right size for me.