Born Again Pagan
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Southwestern Ontario
Bikes: Schwinn hybrid, Raleigh MTB
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Hindsight is 20/20, and I would have suggested taking your $500 and shopping for quality, used bikes. That said, your bikes aren't horrible and are easily upgradeable as funds permit.
One "trap" that you have fallen into is that your bikes are equipped with heavy, inefficient suspension forks. At this level, suspension forks offer almost none of the benefits that a quality set does, and come at the cost of weight. IME (in my experience) suspension forks of any caliber are overkill unless I'm riding off road. The energy that I could have been using to propel myself forward is instead being gobbled up by the fork.
Similar things can be said about the suspension seatpost and "comfort" saddle on your wife's bike; they are unnecessary and inefficient, and would be the first thing that I would swap. A saddle like the Serfas Rx
and a rigid, $15 seatpost from your LBS would be a great upgrade.
Another upgrade you may want to consider ASAP is a good set of puncture-resistant, pavement-friendly tires. A search here on BF will lead to all sorts of threads about tires. Personally I've had good luck with Continental Top Contacts
When funds permit, ask your LBS about upgrading to set of rigid chromoly steel forks. Expect to pay about $60 per bike, plus another $40 or so if the LBS does the swap for you.
As for your shoulder it could just be a shock to your muscles to introduce them to a new form of exercise. Give it some time to see if you toughen up.
Welcome to Bike Forums, and ride safe!