I'm currently riding a 15-20 year old mountain bike that weighs about as much as you'd expect. It works - I've had it safety checked and everything is in order - but it doesn't actually belong to me. A co-worker's wife is loaning it to me for the summer so I can train for a triathlon. A new bike just wasn't in the budget. Before then, I'd been riding stationary bikes at the gym!
That said, my 30th birthday is 9/25 this year and I want to get a decent bike. I do NOT want to stick with mountain bikes (I'm never anywhere I need one) but I'm not comfortable with a road bike yet. I'm too big (5'5", 270) and too much of a klutz at this point to not freak out at the skinny tires. I'm also sticking with platform pedals or toe clips for now - no clipless pedals till I stop falling all the dang time.
The bike will mostly be ridden in a park or on streets with triathlons thrown in every few months. Most of the ground will be paved, though I do hit gravel or dirt from time to time.
I basically don't even know where to start looking and what exactly to look for! I know I need sturdy wheels because of my weight and I've been told a 15-17" frame is best for my height. I'm not exceptionally long legged, if if matters - I've got a long (and round) torso! I'm "apple" shaped - I carry most of my weight around the middle, as opposed to in my rear or thighs.
Help please? Even just pointing me in the right direction would be lovely. Thank you!