Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Taylor, MI
Bikes: 2008 Trek 2.1 WSD, 2010 Specialized Dolce Sport, 2010 Trek FX 7.5, 2010 Raleigh One Way
There are many good bike brands available and the $200 to $500 range will get you a decent comfort or hybrid bike. First find a bike shop near you and ask them what they recommend with your goals and budget. Ride a lot of bikes and visit several shops if you can. The folks at the bike shop should listen to what you say, respect your budget, and ensure that a bike fits you. If you don't like the shop, go to another. Since you will be starting a relationship with this bike shop, you will need to feel comfortable with asking them all your questions and trust them to work on your new if needed. I would not recommend buying a vintage Schwinn for a beginner because it is heavy and you don't know what problems may come up....besides, shopping for a new bike is a blast. I stared with a Trek Navigator 2.0 (no longer made but pretty much the same as the current Trek Shift 2 WSD). It is a great bike and still gets many miles put on it each year even though I now have a few other bikes too. Good luck with your search. Find what fits and what puts a smile on your face!!!
2011 Trek Madone 5.2 WSD
2009 Trek 2.1 WSD