It's clear that bike technology has really improved since my bike was bought at least 10 years ago. Dual suspension systems, disc brakes, and 24 speeds are the tip of the iceberg in the world of consumer cycling. I'm just looking for any entry-level mountain bike to take on some roads and maybe a well-manicured trail. Though it'll be used on roads 95% of the time and not so much on a trail, I like the durability that comes with a mountain bike versus a "10-speed" racer.
Riding appeals to me as a great alternative to other exercise methods. I haven't lifted weights in 2.5 weeks and don't really miss them. Sure the workout was great, but it got boring and when I feel tired enough to nap, I'll choose napping over lifting. Playing ultimate frisbee on Sundays is nice, but if my lifting has tailed off, I need something new to do between Sundays. I dislike just going for a run, but welcome riding with open arms. It gets me outside and once I'm on the bike, it's not like I can get distracted (or procrastinate) by checking email, watching TV, or sleeping.
Ideally, I will get my hands on a bike (that is not the one above) before the end of the month and perhaps let you know when I've gone a significant ride. Of course, I might just procrastinate the bike purchase and take a nap instead.