I've been riding for almost 3 years ago with a bike club out of Northern New Jersey. Started as a raw beginner on a Trek (I dunno the model - I'm bad about that kind of thing) Hybrid that was so heavy, I named it "The Pig" 'cause it felt like it was made of Pig Iron. I got strong on that bike, but not fast. I want to be strong AND fast. I'm not looking to do anything but keep a good pace. I have been loaned by a kind friend a Trek 7500 "Fitness" bike. I had no idea what the benefits of this bike were until I rode it; it's a kazillion times lighter than The Pig and I did a metric century last October having had this bike for less than two weeks. It's held me in good stead for quite some time now, but I think my friend wants his bike back and I really need to get some back bone and buy a road bike.
SO, my friend sent me this thread from this Forum about bikes under $800.
Let's pretend this is a word association game and reply with what you think a "Not Neophyte" should look at. Give me a name. I need broader horizons than my neighborhood bike shop. Any help ya'll can provide would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!