Hey there. I'm new here and looking to get a bike to help me lose weight and get in shape. I've lost close to 100 pounds over the last few years, but I'm still around 330. I'm bored with riding exercise bikes in the gym, so I'd like to get out on the bike paths and greenways in my area. I started reading through some of the threads in this forum and I've gotten a lot of great info (thanks, btw). From what I can gather, I think a comfort bike with 36 spoke wheels should be the ticket. Maybe something in the Trek Navigator or Giant Sedona lines.
So today, I ventured out to the local bike shop for the first time to see what they had to offer. I explained my plans to the guy and right away he steers me away from the comfort bikes and towards mountain bikes. He suggested either a Cannondale for $800 or a Specialized for $1000, both fine bikes I'm sure but more than I had planned on spending. In addition, he said I would need custom built wheels for $400, a new fork, handlebars, and a new crankset. All told about $1600-$1800. When I told him that I had only planned to spend $500, maybe $600, he said I would "destroy" anything in that price range.
So, was this guy right? Am I kidding myself by thinking I can get an off-the shelf bike in my price range that would stand up to my big butt? If not, where should I put my money to get the best bang for my upgrade dollar?