I do not have a rideable bike, and have been doing some shopping. I'm mostly concerned about fit and comfort. I had major pelvic floor surgery in November including 2 screws in my sacrum , and leaning forward for any length of time puts painful pressure on my urethra. So the townies look appealling to me, but I get the feeling they are not too popular with serious cyclists.
3 weeks ago I would have said "I won't ever be a serious cyclist." But since then I've: shopped on ebay, shopped otherwise on the net, stopped at the local bike shop (not too helpful), decided I need to be wiser before buying, found bike forums, browsed on-line mags, checked out 11 books from the library, read 5 so far. Now I'm really excited (fantasies of week long bike trips through the countryside ), and I think cycling looks perfect for somebody who is recovering from surgery and lengthy non-activity (very little since July 2004). But the pelvic issues...
OK. I need a bike. Physical: female 35 years old, 5'2" 130 lb, 10 lbs overweight (though that's not a true picture of how out of shape I am, because at 120 lb I had a lot of muscle, which I lack right now, though I am naturally rather toned and muscular compared to most people. I have worked at a gym, danced professionally (no, not as a stripper), worked as an archaeological field tech, done land surveying and various exercise activities (but not cycling). I have excellent endurance, but can't sprint (exercise induced asthma).
commute: 4 days a week, just under 10 miles one way on the bike trail, 5 miles one way on regular roads that are not bicycle friendly. Mostly flat (this is northeast Indiana!)
Needs: commuting, but if I could use the same bike for my week long tour next summer that would be great. Otherwise, recreational around the neighborhood (read: not interested in mountain biking, I'm a backpacker).
I'm not real comfortable on a bike yet, so a low top bar, low clearance would be a bonus.
basket or other means of carrying books for 1 class, a few groceries
my broken bike has 21 gears that never worked right. Cheap Dick's bike, but do I need that many? I look at all those cogs, chain rings, and see potential problems.
So I'm throwing my life history and goals out in the wind, hoping somebody will be interested enough to respond.