I've been reading off and on, and decided it was time to join up and get in on some of the fun.
I live in San Marcos, CA in northern San Diego county. I started riding semi-seriously the beginning of this year, and replaced my 15 yr old Wal-Mart bike in February with a Scattante Hybrid from Performance. It has worked well so far, now I'm starting to look at road bikes. I changed the tires to Gatorskins, 25 width, and have replaced the rear wheel, and the bike runs good for me.
Riding is lots of fun, I try and get out 3-5 times per week. I have lost about 15 lbs so far, which isn't a lot but I'm headed in the right direction.
I haven't started looking seriously. I know if I go start test riding, I will not be able to resist!
I have been happy with my bike from Performance, but for the road bike I will probably get a more recognized brand. Two of the stores I have kicked tires at sell Trek and the other Cannondale/Cervelo. Probably a carbon frame, but I am not intent on it. I want to get something good enought that I don't have the urge to upgrade 6 months later, so I plan on buying above my current ability.
My test ride list is
Carbondale CAAD 9
Carbondale Synapse Carbon
Trek Madone 4.5 or higher
Nytro in Solana Beach rents road bikes, I plan on doing a couple one day rentals on the weekends and trying a long, flat route, and a mountain route on it just to get a better idea of what I want/don't want.