Hello everyone. I hope I got this question in the correct forum.
I am new to cycling and am looking to buy my first "real" bike. I am 32 years old and in reasonable shape. I am looking for a bike for general fitness riding on roads. Some of the roads that I will be riding on aren't the smoothest, but all are paved. My current thoughts are that I will be riding 10-30 miles at a time maybe twice a week. I have been looking at entry level bikes and am considering a true road bike, a hybrid, or a cyclocross. I would like to stay within the $500-$800 range, but would be willing to spend up to $1000.
I have tried out both a hybrid and a road bike. The riding I did to try them out was just a short ride on city streets. I wasn't on each bike very long, and I was turning and slowing down more than I would be on a normal ride. On the hybrid, I liked the stable handling and that my hands were at the brakes. I thought the seat was a little uncomfortable. I am not sure if that was the particular seat or that I was more upright. I didn't like only having one place to put my hands. On the road bike, I actually thought the ride was pretty comfortable in all hand positions. I liked the speed I got from the bike a lot, the variety of hand positions, and that I would be able to get down out of the wind. I didn't like that I had to "search" for the brakes at times.
It was after these test rides that I first considered a cyclocross bike. Though I didn't have time to test ride one, they looked to be somewhat of a blend of the two. Drop bars for hand positions, but with an extra set of brake levers (at least on the ones I saw) at the flat portion of the bars. It was more sturdy (like the hybrid), which might be better on the rougher roads.
Basically, I like parts of all 3, but I am not sure which direction to go for the price range and type of riding that I plan to do. I would appreciate your opinions and advise.