Which Bike....................Help Please

AnnJW Posts: 2
edited October 2009 in Road buying advice

I'm a newby to cycling having been told I have to give up running :( (I won't bore you all with the details).....but ultimately cycling is my new sport. Having dragged my old mountain bike out of the depths of my shed I have come to the conclusion that a) its not suitable for my needs and b) is actually not safe!!! (BSO allert!).

Anyway having started to look into purchasing a new bike i have discovered its a mind field. I am looking for a bike to commut on, however I am an aggressive cyclist even in these early stages and have struggled (borrowing other peoples bikes) to get the gearing i'm looking for that will allow for, the hills of the cotswolds, trails and then the fast road work.

Cycling to work means I need to carry the appropriate equipment, but I am also planning to go on day long rides, and in some cases camping. I appreciate this is a wide range of activities and as a result I have been recommended a variety of City Racing/Fitness, touring and hybrid bikes, as well as wide variety of different makes...............I am very confused :?

I have a budget of £400 incl mud guards, rack & panniers, however i am looking at increasing this to £500 if needed.

I would be really grateful if anyone has any suggestions on the type of bike I should be looking for and the associated makes/breeds I could look at for my budget...........Help!!

Many thanks in advance :D