First let me apologize for my ignorance but my head is spinning trying to figure out how to get started in this sport.
I have always been, and plan to always be a runner. However, as I find myself getting older (40), I am struggling with more and more nagging overuse injuries. I'm currently recovering from a stress fracture in my foot. I guess my body doesn't hold up to the pounding like it used to. I typically run about 50 miles a week but as you guys know it's more about the hours of running at a given effort than anything else. I also use a rower quite a bit for upper body and core cross training.
All this to say that I think I'm at the point where I need to back off the running and I'm really getting excited with the idea of cycling. The problem is I'm extremely intimidated with what I don't know and I need some help and advice on a first bike.
I live in a small town surrounded by mostly farmland. My riding would be almost 100% on gravel country roads. I don't have easy access to any typical mountain bike type trails so no technical riding. And I really don't want to get killed by riding alongside the highway. I've tried to read as much as I can about what type of bike would be best for this type terrain and it looks like I can go with a traditional hard tail mountain bike or some sort of hybrid. It looks like there are several options in both categories. Ideally Iíd like to go out and ride for a couple of hours instead of a run.
I've read that beginners shouldn't go out and drop a couple of grand on their first bike which makes a lot of sense. But I also am willing to spend some money for what will best fit my needs. Iím just not sure what defines or fulfills my needs. Unfortunately there are no bike shops around here to help me out. Can you guys give me some advice? I'm a male, 5'9" 140lbs if that matters at all.