I'm a total bike newbie and only 3 months shy of my 50th birthdy (I just received my first AARP mailing!). I have not been on a bike for over 20 years. I'm in pretty good shape and very active. I'm 5'10" and about 170 which is currently 5 lbs. over my normal weight. I was recently introduced to a number of bike trails in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio/Erie Canal Trails) and I'm interested in riding the trails for fitness and fun.
I visited a local bike shop and they were suggesting either the Trek 7.3 or Trek 7300. Thye are priced about the same ($600). I'm willing to spend this much for a good bike, however I want to make sure that this type of bike would be good for the surfaces I will be riding. They are paved / crushed stone and in pretty good shape. Am I heading in the right direction? Can I get by with a $300 bike? Thanks in advance for any suggestions.