So running and the gym is getting a little tiresome, and I'd like to spice it up with some biking. (Plus, let's face it, biking is more fun.) I rented a bike recently on vacation and had a blast. However, I haven't ridden a bicycle on a regular basis since high school, and am currently bikeless. I've done some research, but I'm fairly clueless compared to you guys. Can someone recommend me a local bike shop that will totally hold my hand but still not treat me like an idiot or take advantage of me? I live in midcity LA, so shops on the west side would be best, but I'd be willing to travel a little for good service.
As for what I'm looking for, I'll probably start with tooling around with my sons, who are just now learning how to ride, and gradually work biking into my exercise routine. So it sounds like a hybrid bike might be best. If I really get into it, I figure I can pick up a full-fledged road bike later. Based on my limited research, bikes that seem to fit the bill and my $500 budget include: Trek 7.2 FX, Specialized Sirrus, Fuji Absolute 3.0/4.0, Kona Dew/Dew Plus, Giant FCR 3, and Jamis Coda. If anyone sees any problems with these, or has other recommendations (about these bikes or anything else), I'd love to hear it. Thanks!