I am so excited to find such an informative and supportive place to go and learn about the world of cycling. Thanks to everyone who takes the time to post comments and advice. It has helped me a great deal, and I look forward to being able to offer some advice someday!
I am in Houston, Tx and have become a new cycling inductee because a friend introduced me to Team in Training (TNT), raising funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society by training and participating in a marathon or triathlon. I will be participating in the Cap Tex Tri race in Austin, Tx on Memorial Day weekend. So, I signed up for the challenge without considering that I needed a BIKE, and started a hurried search this week to find the perfect ride within my budget.
I've just purchased a Fuji Aloha 2.0 from a LBS, Tri on the Run, and got a seemingly good deal from what I've quickly read on the forums here.
I had a bike as a kid (decided to teach myself on a neighbor's bike at age 12 because I still didn't know how to ride and my mom couldn't afford to buy my one...I lost a lot of ankle skin but i learned to ride and have always been proud of myself for that self-improvement feat!) and then again in college, which I used to speed to class once I moved close to campus and didn't have to take the bus anymore.
I will be riding at the Memorial Park loop with the TNT training group, and will hopefully sign up for a few of the road bike races that are scheduled in the spring. I will also be riding in my neighborhood a lot, as I get to know my first grown-up bike!