Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Rocket City, No'ala
Bikes: 2014 Trek Domane 5.2, 1985 Pinarello Trevisio, 1991 Colnago Master, '06 Bianchi San Jose, 1987 Moulton Fuso, 1990 Gardin Shred, '82 John Howard(Dave Tesch)
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A brand new Trek 7000 hybrid is under $300. It's got an adjustable stem, steel fork, 700c wheels, triple crank, and a wide, comfortable saddle. Bike shops will do a much better job of assembling the bike and making sure it fits you. Many will provide free tuneups for a year or at least the initial one will be free.
Giant makes the Cypress ST, a steel frame hybrid, for $240 and the Cypress for $300. I don't recommend low-end hybrids with suspension forks as the suspension is not very helpful and just adds weight and takes away power.
Either of these bikes will be fine for riding around town, on the bike paths, out in the country, even dirt roads. When you get back in shape and want to start doing long group rides, you can get the road bike and keep the hybrid as your beater bike; put racks and fenders on it.