I have been lurking here for the last couple of weeks, mostly in the Clydesdale forum.
Anyway, here is my story.
I am 42, living in Southeastern Wisconsin. I grew up in the late 1970s when the steel framed 10 speed was the bike to aspire to (although I recall a stretch in the 1980s when lots of high school kids rode mopeds). I rode a Schwinn (don't recall which model), and later a Nishiki Sport in high school. Back then (for me at least), bikes were mostly a mode of transportation, rather than a hobby or a fitness routine.
The funny thing was that I never rode more than a 5 miles at a stretch. Back then, I never rode with any kind of gear, cycling shorts or gloves. After the initial purchase and the occasional purchase of an inner tube or tire, I don't recall ever setting foot in a bike shop. I suspect that my bike was never set up or maintained properly and I was, therefore never really comfortable on the bike.
I bought my current bike, a Bianchi Advantage hybrid, in 1997 because my wife enjoyed cycling and I wanted to have a bike for an occasional trail or short road ride. For the next couple of years, we rode the occasional charity ride or rode in and around the trail system here in Wisconsin. Because of having a child, we didn't ride for a couple of years, except for occasionally renting bikes in Door County.
Now our child is 6 and has taken to biking and that has increased my interest in it as a hobby.
I am decently fit as I go to the gym 5 or 6 days a week (weights/running/spinning/yoga).
I took my bike into the shop, got clipless pedals (already used SPD for spinning), upgraded tires from original cross type tread to some Panaracer tires and started to ride. Aside from family rides, I mostly ride alone and I have done rides from 16 to 35 miles. Last weekend, I did my first group ride organized by the health club. I do training rides about 3 days a week, go to the gym the other days.
I am thinking about doing a long charity ride over the summer (maybe a metric century?).
As for upgrading to a true road bike, I think I need to take a longer view, perhaps continuing to ride on the Bianchi this summer/fall and seeing how it goes. If I am still riding regularly this time next year I may look to upgrade to a road/touring bike.
Thanks for reading and, for those of you in Wisconsin, see you on the road!