Hi, folks, I'm Don and I'm an oversized redneck from the flatlands of Virden, Illinois. Uh. . . United States of America, if you're from a place where "Illinois" might not be familiar.
I've always enjoyed a long breezy bike ride, but I don't race and I don't have time to spend hours a day doing it. I gained a lot of weight when I quit playing football (that's American football, the kind you play with your hands, not your feet. Except me; I really just knocked people over) and even more when I got married and adopted two kids. I'm working on losing weight and getting back into shape now, and that's where biking comes back into my life. I reached a peak of over 400 pounds before I finally got fed up. I've now lost a little over 80 lbs., which leaves me with about another 70 to go to reach my initial goal of 250. Before that, I have objectives at 300 and 275 to reach.
To get back into riding, all I did was dust off my long-neglected Huffy Scout 10-speed "mountain bike." It's been great to ride again, but I want something better. I have time to look around a lot before I get some cash saved up. The Huffy would probably be adequate for what I need, but it has a bent rear rim, the gears don't shift correctly (I think there's something wrong with the "derailleur" or however you spell that word) and it's a rusty, creaky old thing in general. I want something better. Something strong, something designed for the road, something with reliable gear selection so I don't have to chug along in the lowest gear all the time.
My experience with other tools (cars, guns, knives, power tools) has taught me that I'd rather spend the money for quality up front than deal with all the little cumulative aggravations of trying to make cheap junk perform. It has also taught me that when people are new to a discipline or hobby, they tend to think the cheap model at the Wal-Mart is just as good as any of the "better stuff," and they generally do an about-face after some experience.
So basically I just want to poke around and look at threads about good bikes for beginners and casual riders.