I'm totally new to cycling. Back when I was in middle school/high school, I had a small kid's mountain bike, so that's the only actual bike experience I have to draw from. I have been in the gym for the past couple of months training on a stationary bike, and now I'm ready to look into getting a real bike. I set a pretty ambitious goal this month of trying to do 30 miles (according to the meter on the machine in the gym) a day, but I ended up taking about one rest day a week.
I'm looking into either a cyclocross bike as a hybrid, or getting a road bike. The two versions I've looked at closely so far are the Tricross and Secteur from Specialized. I'm sort of wondering what I will be missing if I pick one or the other. For example, will I hate biking on trails if I get the road bike, or will I miss the speed if I opt for a cyclocross? My budget is pretty flexible, as well, so it would be useful to know what I ought to aim for in the first decent bike I buy. What features do you consider not worth passing up? Drive-train, brakes, aluminum/carbon, any information or preferences you can provide would be really useful to me. I'm planning on doing a mix of bike path/trail/road biking until I get a handle on what I enjoy the most.
I'm absolutely excited about getting outside and enjoying real cycling, but I need a little guidance
One last question - how much better is it to bike outside than on a stationary in the gym?