Although the big box stores do have a great selection of bikes that will probably fit your needs, a speciality bike shop will make sure the bike fits you. Having a properly fitted bike can make a difference between a great experience on your bike and developing sore knees and hips.
Now is the time to buy a bike. Shops are trying to get rid of their 2013 models to make room for the 2014 models. I bought my current bike at a speciality shop and it was a great experience. I learned a lot, received great customer service, and if I have any issues with my bike I can take it in and they will do simple repairs for free. Plus I received two free tune ups. If you buy a bike at Wal Mart you'll be lucky if someone helps you out to your car with it. They just don't have the knowledge or time to deal with someone who wants to get into biking. I am planning on buying a second bike (a triathlon specific bike) and will be going back to my local shop to purchase it.
As for what kind of bike you should get. Based on what you said, I would go with a hybrid. Hybrids are great bikes. It's a cross between a road bike and a mountain bike. The tires are a little fatter than a road bike so it can withstand trails but not as fat as the tires on a mountain bike.
So, if you just want a bike to cruise around town then maybe a bike from Wal Mart might work. However, if your intention is to use it to exercise or more for commuting then I would highly suggest going to a local shop. I normally ride 100 miles a week and I do triathlons and century bike rides so it was a no brainer for me.
| Pounds lost: 23.0