S.E. Houston checking in
Let's see the personal stuff is easier first...
I'm 32, married with one great little boy (32). I started bicycling about 9-10 months ago when I found out that a ruptured disc in my back was what made my leg hurt and that running was not such a good idea. I never was a big runner anyway, I just needed something aerobic to help me lose weight and keep it off. I had promised my wife when she finished grad school (may 2002) that I would lose the extra weight I had picked up since we married.
Anyway, once the back problems ruled out running I briefly flirted with roller blading but I lacked sufficient coordination to do it well and it was never aerobically intense enough for me (maybe because I never got good enough to go fast).
A coworker is a hardcore bicyclist (he and his wife met through the local cycling club and had a bicycle themed wedding but that is another story). He offered me one of his old bikes and a group of us at work decided we would get in shape for the MS150, a local charity ride where you ride from Houston to Austin over a weekend. I started training for the ride and discovered I really liked it. I'd been a fan of motorized two wheeling for a while but never realized some of the same pleasures can be had on a pedal powered bike.
So we did the MS150 and in a way it was kind of a let down, I was expecting it to be a bit more challenging than it was. Most of my buddies didn't continue the group rides after the MS150 but I've stuck with it and enjoy it even though I've managed to destroy 3 rims in 9 months. It's been a lesson in what not to do with a roadbike but now I'm starting to get a clue and thinking about purchasing a nicer ride.
So what do I ride now? This is embarassing but I'm not sure, the frame is a cannon of some flavor but I'm not sure of the components and I've replaced so much stuff its kind of a mongrel. But I'm doing this for the exercise so I might just stick with my mongrel. I'm heading to the local shop (Bike Barn) and am going to test ride a couple of new nice and shiny rides to see what I'm missing.