so there's this new guy commuting all the way in from UCF every morning (10+ miles), he's going on 4 weeks, and has started to realize the limitations of the starter specialized hybrid/mountain bike... it's heavy, gearing, knobby tires not great on the street... etc. He' coming around into shape, though, and doing OK. He is committed to doing it year round, they have showers at his work, and looking forward to summer (starts here in May)... he's going to be shopping for a road bike.
I never thought I'd be a "roadie" either... up in Virginia I was on the dirt/gravel roads, C&O towpath, rocks and mountains of the blue ridge, but here, most of the riding is on pavement, and if you're doing it for transportation, you just need to get places like to work, home for dinner, and to the store and back it pretty good speed.
So all that here's the point... if you spend $300 for that starter bike with the intent of riding serious for a long time, you'll end up a month or two later wishing you had spent on a real good bike to start with, cause the $300 is gone and you still need to buy a good bike. I used to spend $300 A MONTH on insurance, so didn't cheap on the bike, $1,000 second hand for a $3k plus steel road bike... 10,000 miles later, a couple tires/tubes/chains replaced...(also 2 crashes, frame fixes and repaints) I love the bike more than that first ride... and it's mine for another 20 years.
Til next time,gef