Road bikes don't take the beating mountain bikes do. You might be OK with a used road bike, something to consider. And classic steel framed road bikes have really nice rides. (Consider 100 years of evolution for a mid-2000's steel road bike.) Might be a good way to start, instead of going with bling right away. One of the best-riding road bikes I ever had was an early-2000's Landshark with mid-range Campagnolo 9spd drivetrain. Wish I still had it. The bike that made me love road riding was a mid-1980s Eddy Merckx with 6spd Dura-ace. The current crop of $6000 road bikes are way overkill for most riders. It's a lot like mtn bikes; good frame, wheels and tires are paramount. Shifting and braking are overrated. Component weight is not that big of a deal.wg said:I've been to the PH Mike's (got my daughter's bike there). I also was a customer of the 4th St store many times. That's who I actually consider the original since I came from that side of the bay.
Traction Bikes does carry Orbea though... I really like the Orca but then reality kicks in... I'll start with a good solid frame, figure this roadie thing (parts etc) out then look at the blingy stuff. Kind of how I moved into the current MTB collection. Either way, I'm going to need to add space onto the garage bike storage system.
There are a lot of fine, local frame builders who could build you a nice metal frame that fits right for what a Taiwanese carbon will cost you, consider an Inglis, Sycip, Hunter, Rocklobster, Kish, Steelman, Eisentraut, Litton, Taylor or Rex.
There are some fantastic road rides in the SF Bay Area; Marshall Wall loop in Marin, Morgan Territory Loop in the east bay, Kings Ridge loop up in Sonoma, tons of stuff in the Peninsula, the old Steinbeck Century loop in Salinas, etc. Rolling down highway 1 from Carmel to Nepenthe for lunch, then back is an amazing ride. Any of the ways over Mt. Tamalpais are great fun. Nothing is better training than a solid hour climbing Mt. Diablo. Good stuff.