Hi all. I am early 40's, 6'1" and 260lb. Until recently I had never gone on a real ride. I have a 2005 Schwinn MTB from a generic big box that I used to putter around at 2MPH while the kids learned to ride. Recently remarried, and my wife likes to ride (she has a Cannondale hybrid). We decided this was something that we would do together. A couple weeks ago we rode 50 miles during a week-long vacation. Yesterday we did 15 miles at 11-12MPH.
I am now ready to buy a road bike and start riding regularly. Our subdivision is large and low traffic - probably 8 miles without overlapping. We also have three very nice bike paths - one is 1 mile from the house and the path is approx 10 miles, and then the other two are long (30-50 miles) and an easy drive from the house. I don't feel comfortable on the road yet, so I plan to stick to the paths for the time being. I envision a good ride being 30 miles at 14-15 MPH, and I think that this is within my wife's capability also.
I started shopping today. I would like to spend $500-1000 for the bike. I guess the first thing I need to decide is flat bar vs. dropped. I test rode in store and the drop bar does feel odd, but I guess you get used to it. I'm wondering if it is overkill for my first bike and if I should start with something more familiar and plan to upgrade in 2-3 years if I continue to improve.
LBS #1 recommended Specialized Sirrus Sport and Secteur Sport Compact. I asked about my weight and was told no special equipment, even wheels. They also sold Giant but suggested that the longer wheelbase Specialized would be more comfortable for me and therefore didn't show any Giants.
LBS #2 recommeded the Fuji Roubaix 2.0 for drop bar and Scattante FR-330 for flat bar. He suggested HD wheels (Mavic) but only after I rode for a while and wore out the original wheels.
I have a couple more places to go to see Trek and Cannondale. I don't have great feelings about the advice from either place yet. I think that I liked the Specialized bikes better, but not entirely sure why.
Comments greatly appreciated. Spending a lot of time reading here trying to glean all of the great advice for parts and gear specially tailored to my size.