After saying "I want to buy a bike" for 2+ years and not owning a bike for something like 12 years (and that was my first bike, a single speed Target special) I walked down to my local bike shop* yesterday and chatted with one of the sales folks and what seemed to be the owner.
I made it clear that I wasn't going to be buying today -- or even this week -- but wanted to get a feel for my options. After chatting with them for a while we narrowed the selection down to two models, one at about $650, one at about $990 + about $150 for clipless shoes .
I talking to them, it seems like the $990 option, a Bianchi Volpe is a good fit (not to mention it comes in under my own self-imposed "I will not spend more than $1,000-ish on a bike"-limit, and it's reasonably light.
Anyway... I'm not too concerned about the sum, but I feel like I need to do more research before I make a large purchase -- but I have no idea what specific details I should be researching -- and what other accessories (aside from a helmet, of course) I need to consider vs just being up-sells.
My intent is recreactional suburban on-road riding, perhaps some light on-trail riding, though ultimately I have aspirations of riding in to the office on occassion (about 8-12 miles depending on route, all paved roads with some decent hills)
* - "Local" as in located on the same street and less than 5 minutes by foot. I love where I live