As the title suggests, I'm looking to purchase a bike (my first) and while I have looked through hundreds of pots on these forums to get an idea of what I want, I'm concerned I might be looking down the wrong path.
As of this point, I'm thinking I want either a Trek 7.4, a Specialized Sirrus Elite, or a Cannondale Quick SL 3. From what I can determine, the Trek is the cheapest of the bunch, with the Cannondale and Specialized being roughly the same. The LBS that sells the specialized is asking list for it, which struck me as odd.
My narrowing down to those bikes was based on the fact that I like the two LBS that sell them, which I read time and time again as being important. Additionally, I like the style and feel of the lighter, more performance-oriented hybrids.
As for my intended use: I plan to ride mostly on weekends, everything from errands around town to longer jaunts on bike trails. That said, I wouldn't think I'd be going much more than 30 miles per weekend. I'd also like to get some fenders thanks to the planned city use, and I'm not sure how appropriate that is for any of these bikes. Oh, and I live in New Orleans, which has some of the most epically horrible roads in the western world. Seriously, the roads are an uneven mess, so I'm worried about that.
So then, I guess the heart of my question is...an I looking at the right class of bike? I like the feel of them all, but the narrower tires give me pause thanks to the third world streets (not that I'm concerned about comfort. More concerned about loss of control, if that's even an issue on thinner wheels). The price point isn't an issue, it's just more a sense of me wanting to make the right choice from the start as best I can. I don't particularly want to get some entry-level bike then feel the need to upgrade it in short order, hence why I'm looking a bit above the base models...but then I don't want to go overboard and get a bike that is relatively nicer than my ability to notice the value of the upgrade, given that I won't be putting on tons of miles.
EDIT: If it's relevant info, I'm 6'1 and 210lbs.