I'm a little late doing this, but I've had great fun reading posts and enjoying the way in which everyone appears to interact here. You need only read Usenet to understand why this friendly atmosphere should be prized.
My true interest in cycling ( I had bikes as a kid but simply rode them through the neighborhood and never cultivated an education as to their upkeep. That's what fathers are for!) began recently, when coworkers began riding their machines to work. I suppose it was listening to their pow-wows at break-times, poring over the PricePoint catalogues and speaking reverently of upgrades, that piqued my curiosity. Over time I became more aware of just how many people commuted regularly along the route I drive to work. I became fixated on getting a bicycle of my own. I'd made a decision to become more active and this seemed a great way to help achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
My first bicycle as an adult: a Magna Catapult. Yup, I can just faintly hear a collective knitting of brows from you seasoned veterans, but not knowing better my thought was "a bike is a bike is a bike". To give the thing it's due, the wheels did turn when I pedaled it.
Perhaps surprisingly my love of the deceptively simple machine that is the modern bicycle survived, and just recently I made my first bona fide bike shop purchase. It's a perky steed, and though by hardcore standards it isn't and never will be a screamer, I like it a lot.
Thanks for this forum, by the way. I'm having fun.
-Rob in Portland Oregon