I've just recently registered with Bike Forums, but I've been visiting this site (and reading many interesting posts) for about a month now. The information is very valuable to me as I'm just starting into my "biking lifestyle".
Since I'm fairly new in terms of bike riding, I decided to purchase a department store (Canadian Tire) sold mountain bike. I went with a Schwinn bike (approx. value of $500 CND). I've read many posts where people "knock" the department stores bikes, but so far I'm quite happy with it. In the future, however, I would like to upgrade to a Specialized bike (been looking into the road bikes a bit). I started bike riding for the sole purpose of losing weight and getting into better overall shape...so far so good (10lbs lost since the beginning of July).
I don't ride the distances that alot of people who post here do, however, my distances seem to be enough for me. I usually complete 10 - 25km (6.2 - 15.5 miles) per outing. I do hope that in the future I'm able to increase the distance though. I try to mix it up a bit with both road riding and trail riding. About 75% of my distance is done on the road.
Well, that's about all for now. I hope I didn't bore anybody too much...