I'm new here and new to bicycling. Haven't bicycled since I was a child (I'm 33 now.) Just bought a Marin Fairfax, and I want to try getting back in shape and using a bicycle as transportation - I would like to try living a less petroleum-dependent lifestyle. Most of the places I go to are within 2.5 miles of my house, and I would like to get in the habit of biking when I don't need to drive.

A little about me, I'm a photojournalist and I travel a lot - I live in SF and LA and bounce around between the two places. Luckily, the neighborhoods where I live in both cities are relatively flat, so I'm hoping that will make it easier for me to get into bicycling shape. I'm basically starting from square one.

I just bought the bicycle yesterday - ordered it actually, and it should be arriving next week. I've purchased a rack for it, and right now I'm researching for the best panniers to buy. I need something that's large enough for groceries, etc but won't fall off the bike and has protection from rain - it rains in SF and some of the grocery panniers I've seen (Novato, Trek) don't have lids.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to learning more about bicycling, getting more fit and active, and possibly meeting new people and making some new friends.

Thanks much,