I am glad to be part of this awesome online community, which I have been using extensively as a guide for my newbie buying experience. Thanks for all the shared knowledge, and to Tom and Joe for the warm welcome.
I'm a "come-here, not a from-here" Floridian and discovered that the Florida beaches are not ideal for mountain biking. Who knew? My 10 yo Specialized Hardrock was converted to 35 slicks for commuting and after excessive deliberation I went out and bought a used '09 GF Wingra to ease myself into something sportier. So far, it's a keeper, crappy cell pic attached. I've been commuting ~21 miles roundtrip for about 1.5 years now, and recreationally since I was a kid. I don't think I'll ever get into racing or centuries (no interest as yet,) but I do like going fast and trail rides. There are some hilly, sandy, rooty areas not to far from me to explore (I made it out to Balm-Boyette once, it was fun), but I miss the SW. I also picked up an old Jamis Durango I'm toying with stripping down to build into a fixie, so expect me to be all over these forums!