I haven't had a bike since I was a kid and am looking to purchase one for riding around town. I will be riding it mostly to campus (about 5 miles each way) as well as for running errands and shopping trips.
I've looked around and picked out a couple that I like, and what the decision comes down to for me is this: do I buy the one at Target for a couple hundred, or the nicer one at the bike shop for twice as much?
I understand that you get what you pay for and the one at the bike shop is of much higher quality. I would much rather support my local bike shop than Target anyway. Unfortunately, though, I'm a student and I just don't have much money, so a couple hundred bucks is a huge difference to me. So the question is whether the one from Target is good _enough_. Or would it just fall apart and cause me lots of frustration? In what specific ways would a more expensive bike be better? Is it worth investing the extra 200-250 bucks, or would a beginner like me not notice much of a difference anyway? Would a nicer bike just be more of a target on campus where the theft risk is already high?
Note: I've tried looking at used bikes and just haven't had much luck with the selection around here. The last bike shop I went to was COMPLETELY out of used stock, and even Craigslist hasn't had much.