Our tax refund is larger than expected this year, so I'm thinking about using some to get a bike for my wife. She's not totally into cycling as I am, but has expressed interest in wanting to ride around the neighborhood or park with me, or with me and our son in his trailer. Since she likely will not ride a whole lot, I'm thinking I shouldn't spend more than about $300.
I have looked at major manufacturers' hybrid bikes, and almost all of them are $400 and up, which is really more than I would like to spend. I have pored through local CL listings and can't really find ANYTHING that would suit my wife. Big box store bikes, well we know how junk the components on those are, and honestly I haven't seen anything in BB stores that she would probably like, either. I know she would want it to look girly and also be comfort oriented. I'm thinking mixte or other step-thru frame.
At this point I'm leaning towards Bikes Direct. I've learned plenty enough in the past year and have acquired several bike-specific tools that I could get it ready to go and also check over things to make sure they're in good working order. Then we could upgrade things here or there as needed.
Something like one of these is what I'm thinking:
First one comes with fenders and suspension fork, which might be nice.