Hi there! This will be a bit long, but I want people do know I've done my research, searched WSD on these boards (which was somewhat helpful), checked the FAQs and am still curious what women are riding.
This year I turn 30 and want to find a new thrill outside of my house. I haven't ridden a bike in years, and even then it was casually/for short distances.
I'm looking to ride for exercise on paved trails by my home but I want a bike that I can continue to enjoy in other ways once I get bitten by 'the bug'. I'm starting to veer away from the hybrid/fitness because I would like a bike I could also bring camping/to the lake and not worry about hitting unpaved trails. I'm not planning to do any heavy trails or anything.
I visited the bike shops in my area and most enjoyed the following 3:
Hybrid: Giant Cypress ($360)--I liked this one because it put me in a comfortable position over the handlebars and shifting was smooth. It seemed sturdy enough to take it on somewhat rocky paths.
Fitness: Trek 7.3 FX WSD ($529)/7.2 FX WSD ($459)--I liked these because they shifted easily and they were highly recommended by the people at the shop. I couldn't really tell which one I liked better, which made me lean more toward the 7.2 to save some dough.
Mountain: Trek 3700 WSD ($329)/3900 WSD ($369)--I could only try the 3700 out since the 3900 was too small, but this felt like a perfect fit. My arms and legs felt that they were in the perfect position and I LOVE the shifter. I'm leaning heavily toward ordering the 3900 in my size because the shifting should be a bit better, but the information I've gotten from this forum about the men's 3900 says that I might be better off trying something else. I'd love to get the 3700 because I wouldn't have to wait for it to arrive.
I'd like to see what the other ladies are riding. Is there anything comparable in comfort/size/style to the Trek 3700/3900 that others are riding? I'd be willing to drive to a futher store to try one out, as long as I knew what I was hoping to see at others stores.
Thanks for reading, and any advice you have for a new rider.