take your time getting a bike. Do lots of test rides. This will involve some
traveling, but I suggest Harris Cyclery West Newton to try this..
I have to drive 80 miles to get to my favorite bike shop, Belmont Wheelworks.
They have a really nice selection of cycling shoes; got my most recent pair there.
One of my mechanics calls it the 'pilgrimmage'. If you like coffee try Breaking Grounds in Somerville or Reds BBQ ( bicycle valet service in summer) afterwards
This is my bike, and it is just terrific
But it might not be racy enough for you, so test ride this if you see one
I suggest adding some intensity to those cycling workouts.
If your exercise bike is ok for high intensity exercise you can get
an exercise video like Spinervals
You can call them and they'll suggest one for you to try.
But for starters, you really should try a spinning class. Ask if
the teacher is certified to teach spinning.
There was a writer once who was offered the chance to do a luxury cycling vacation in
France once. He knew of B&R by rep, very bling, so he said yes. He didn't
actually ride, but spent some time on an exercycle. He spent a fair amount of time on the ground, during the trip, looking at heavily muscled calves. Just thought I'd share that...
You will want some tights and other cold weather cycling gear, because in March you need to hit the road. Downhill ski gloves work, you can go to the ladies forum for more suggestions there.
If you don't have a handy boyfriend, get a Park chain cleaner, a bottle of chain cleaning fluid to go with it, and some lube. I use any oil lube in the spring, but as soon as the weather warms up I shift to Boeshield T9 lube. I clean up one a week or so. Replacing the drive train cost hundreds, and cleaning adds greatly to the time it will last.
Team Estrogen was having a sale, might be worth a try.
One last item for today... saddles. Everyone suffers for a couple weeks getting used to the saddle. And that is on a saddle that suits you. I went through over a dozen with my wife before finding one she liked. Finding one between now and the ride will be tough. The Terry Butterfly is popular, my wife used one for a couple of years. If you are lucky, you may find another gal who can help you with that. So much riding on a saddle that doesn't suit you will hurt, perhaps a lot.