Hello everyone. I'm a newbie - not just to the site but to bicycling. I'm a 51 year old female from the Philadelphia, PA area and will (hopefully) be cycling on bike paths and trails (D&R Canal Trail, Wissahickon Bike Trail and the Schuylkill River Trail) on weekends. I prefer to be more upright than bent over due to previous cervical spine surgery. I'm 5'2" with a regular sized torso and short legs.
I borrowed a 19" Trek 3700 last month and after a 13 mile ride on the D&R with a lunch stop halfway, I had major neck, left shoulder and arm pain with numbness/tingling in my left hand due to being on a frame that was too large for me plus the bent over position on a mountain bike.
I've tested several bikes. All were men's/unisex (not WSD) with a 15" frame: 2012 Trek 7300, 2012 Trek 8.2 DS, 2012 Cannondale Adventure 2, 2012 Fuji Absolute 2.0 and 2011 Fuji Crosstown 1.0. I had some left arm pain with numbness/tingling in my hand on the 7300 (big disappointment - it was my favorite). I was too bent over on the 8.2 even with a stem riser. The Adventure was nice but I didn't like the twist shifters, they felt awkward. I didn't like the way the Absolute felt beneath me - I was actually a bit nervous on it.
I felt the most upright on the Crosstown. But it's considered a comfort bike and I heard you can't ride very far on one. Also, the specs show that it weighs 35 lbs. Should that be a concern? The price at my LBS is $370 before tax. Is that a good price? The MSRP was $549. The seat was a bit uncomfortable (probably because it's a men's) so they're going to put on a Bontrager Women's Boulevard Gel Plus Saddle for an extra $12. They usually run $40 - $45. I tested it on the Trek 8.2 at another LBS and liked it.
I've been checking out the forums for a few weeks and I've learned so much - and I have a lot more to learn. Everyone seems very nice and helpful.
Any suggestions, comments or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much!