I would go to a local bike shop and get properly fitted. Riding a bike that is either to big or to small for you will can cause knee, hip, and back issues. When you go tell them what you need and your price range. They have bikes in all price ranges. Also, shop around and do a little haggling. I was able to talk them down on my current road bike by a couple hundred dollars (in addition to using my bike for commuting, I also use it for triathlons and century bike rides). A lot of bike shops are now starting to clearance their inventory for winter so you may get some good deals.
For the type of bike I would go with either a hybrid or road. A road bike, like the name implies, is only to be used on the road and not on trails. Those bikes have the skinny tires and curved handle bars. A hybrid is a cross between a road and mountain bike. The tires are fatter and it's a little bit more heavy duty. The handle bars are not curved. these bikes can be used on the road and on trails. These are very popular bikes because they are very universal.
Whatever bike you decide to get, make sure you get some basic equipment (tube, CO2 cartridge, levers, saddle bag) and know how to change a flat. If you get your bike at a local bike shop they will not only help you get everything you need for your bike but they will also teach you how to change a flat.
I wish I had the option of ditching my car and just commuting by bike. But living in Chicago makes it darn near impossible (and dangerous) to bike 6 months out of the year.
| Pounds lost: 23.0