Lucky you, living in Hawaii (I'm jealous...)!
I got back into biking about 5 years ago - hadn't been on a bike much since high school either, certainly not seriously.
I agree with 1Debie1 - ride or drive to find a short route that you're comfortable with (maybe without any big hills) and then you'll have one less thing to think about until you're more comfortable. I was just on Maui, and was really impressed with the bike lanes on the main highway - maybe there's one of those near you that you can do an out and back on.
For me, the big thing was the bike. Like you, I didn't spend much on the bike at first. I ended up buying a hybrid first and honestly, it really held me back (I switched it after about a year for a cyclocross and now I also have a road bike).
One thing I learned is that components make a BIG difference, and more importantly, remember that any bike shop can change your rear cassette and your front chain wheels to give you easier gears. They might try and convince you out of it, but stick to your guns as it really makes a difference, and doesn't cost all that much. I had them put a 3 ring system on the front and a mountain bike set on the back (usually has easier gears). At first, I was using the easiest gears a lot, but as I've progressed, I use mostly the harder gears. When I started out, I had no idea that this change was possible, and knowing that you have a gear that can get you up the hill no matter what is huge. And, also, remember that there's no shame in walking up, either - I had to do that a few times when I started!!
Bikes shorts are a definite, gloves (so that you don't scrape your hands up when/if you fall), bike/running glasses and a really comfortable helmet also made a big difference for me.
Edited by: RESIPSA99 at: 1/25/2010 (12:33)
| Pounds lost: 7.0