As a result of coming to this forum, in my new quest to lose weight and begin to exercise, I was met with great encouragement! Not knowing ANYTHING AT ALL about bikes, I began to ask questions. Besides here, I did extensive research online. I saw the least expensive bikes, I saw the Rivindell bikes. And, what was in between. I was told to go to a few LBS and I did. I was told to take test rides, which I would not have known to ask for, and so I did. I tested cool road bikes (my amateur racer son was shocked but pleased) and I tested heavy touring bikes. I found there was a new category of bike called comfort, but soon ruled them out. I also briefly considered recumbents (comfort factor). And a few hybrids but early on realized I hated the handle bars on hybrids (although i knew i could change them) and didn't care for dropped bars.
I will use the bike for fitness every day, even in light rain, and recreational rides w/my husband and maybe, will begin to think about lite touring down the road. I live in a hilly area, so i was looking for good, low, gearing. Here's where chipcom comes in....I would probably never ever have heard about the Breezer bike if he had not thrown that into the equation for me. I looked at it, then forgot about it, then looked at it, in an effort to be open to everything.
So, yesterday, we took a ride, 2+ hours, to the only dealer around who had one in stock (see, they sell quick!) and bought it! It's a thing of beauty and function! I figure down the road if I want serious speed, then I get a road bike, as these are two different animals and i didn't think one bike could give me low gearing and go fast. For now, this is perfect! Thank you all and thanks chipcom!! You were right. This bike is a well kept secret for people like me. All the shops called it a commuting bike. But for someone just starting out again, and maybe living in a hilly area, it means the difference between getting cranky and walking up a hill or feeling confident in one's increasing abilities and riding up the hill. Plus, it will do touring too! So, fitness, recreation, touring, it does it all for someone like me.
Oh, it's the Breezer Liberty that I got! And what a great LBS it was too. Thanks all, again!