My son got into biking last year when a friend was losing weight for the army. Now that it's spring, he wanted a bike. I got him a 29 inch Specialized Hardrock w/the special discs that's he's loved for the past few days. Unfortunately it was accidentally totalled the other day by his friend's mom. It's "fixable" in the sense it won't ride the same, but that's all I can do for now. F-250 trucks always win but 600 bucks is hard to come up with.
Since he wanted someone to ride with him, I bought my first bike, a Specialized Hardrock as well. Let's just say that at 35, out of shape and I haven't been on a bike in 17 years, has been real wake-up call. They don't sell bubble wrap at the bike store so I settled for a decent helmet.
I'm still wheezing up hills (is that out of shape thing or partly a bike issue?) and holding on for dear life going down them but it's getting easier. The bike also hates 2nd gear which doesn't help.
What has amazed me is that it's helped my back so much within a week. I've had a bad back for years and last year I was in pain every day. I was reluctant to buy a bike because of it, but riding has targeted all the muscles my physical therapist has been working with me on.
If you hear a thunk, a crash and the sound of plastic popping in rural NE, it's probably me.