I have no bike. I'm 21, 6ft tall and 140 pounds. I live in a smoggy California city 150 miles from the coast at 300 feet above sea level. I work 5 miles from my home and gas is 2.65 for regular right now and my VW Jetta only gets 17mpg and says I should use Premium. I think it would be cool to be strong enough to bike to the coast (I have friends there I could stay with). My budget for a first bike + gear + clothing + accessories is... technically about 2 grand but I don't *want* to spend that much. I'm thinking more like $500 and $600 on a bike if it were *really* sweet. I don't know if I should get a road-bike or a cyclocross bike or a mountain bike or whatever!
There are so many different brands/styles of bikes out there and I know next to nothing about any of them so I need lots of help! If I spend more than $300 on a bike I want it to last quite some time so hopefully it would be multi-purpose enough to do that. I don't intend to go into the mountains (off road) so I don't think that I need a mountain bike. Perhaps a bike where I could swap out the wheels for different tasks (commute through city vs. long trip to the coast)? P.S. I want to go fast. P.P.S. People drive cars like maniacs and idiots here.
I've been reading these forums for almost a week now and although there is a TON of information here very little of it makes sense to me (yet). Everything (just about) shoots right over my head.
I would like to get a bike and start riding within a month. Does anyone have any suggestions on where to start, based on what I've described? What accessories are a must-have? Should I get a "biking outfit"?
Are there any good tutorials out there for me to read? Books? I thought the < $600 thread in Road-bikes was interesting but like before nothing in there makes any sense. LOL give me a computer and I can do anything, talk about bikes and I become a n00b.