This is my first post. I'm looking for a used a bike to cruise around town on, hit some bike paths, and maybe drag down to the beach for an afternoon. I've gone to a four LBS in search of a new bike, but I never left with the impression that my best interests were at heart: "...and if you're willing to spend an additional $350 we can get you into this model, which is much better than the previous...but then an additional $250 on top of that would get you into..." I'm not looking for the "Ferrari" of bikes. I know my bike knowledge is seriously lacking, so I'm sure I look like an easy target. That said, I need some tips on what to look for in a used bike (e.g., significant points of wear and tear, cracks, whatever). I don't know anyone that bikes, so taking someone along is out of the question. I'm looking for something along the lines of a Trek 7.3FX /7.5FX or similar quality/feature bike. Sorry if this is the wrong forum for such a post. I just find that this forum discusses the kind of bikes I'm looking for.
Ken Kifer's site has a pretty good resource on used bikes; though it's geared toward commuters, it's a good read for anyone.
Remember, Craigslist is your friend. You may want to subscribe to the RSS feeds for the "bikes" section for all of the areas around you, as it makes it much easier to find truly sweet deals. Another idea is to post a "Want to Buy" ad on craigslist; you never know what'll happen.