I'd like to get my first bike in many, many years. I'm totally out of the loop and could really use some advice on what to buy and why.
I intend to use it mainly for casual road riding, sightseeing, and light exercise. (I'm already in pretty good shape, fwiw.) I don't see myself using one for racing or hardcore exercise, at least initially, nor do I see myself doing any serious off-roading, just the occasional shortcut through a small field The terrain around here is pretty flat, and the weather is pretty warm and rainy.
Any suggestions for type of bike and brand? Also, what accessories do I need besides a helmet, water bottle, and lock? I'd ideally like to spend below $500 for the whole shebang, bike and gear.
It sounds to me like I need a hybrid/cross or mountain bike for my intended uses. Local dealers stock Cannondale, Trek, Raleigh, Specialized, and Schwinn, to name a few brands. How do those stack up?
Thanks for any help!