Thanks so much for your reply. I'm 32 years old, 5'5" & 135 lbs. I'm not as active these days, so I'd really like to start up again by riding. The fact that I feel so happy when riding is the main motivation for me to buy a bike. I work full time in NYC & also design jewelry, so that doesn't leave a lot of time for me. I definitely am going to dedicate some time to shopping around for a bike, as I want to get the best bike for my money, not just a "cheap" bike that will be good for now, but not so good in a year.
I saw a Trek bike online for $209. Based on what I've read, I'm a bit wary of lower prices bikes. What is considered a lightweight bike? The Jamis is 32.5 lbs. Typically, will a LBS allow you to take a bike for a test run? I'd mainly be doing road riding & some park riding, also on paved bike roads. I wouldn't mind riding bike trails every so often, but that would be more the exception than the norm.
Again, any help that you could give would be great. Thanks!