Hello. I'm new to biking and am trying to decide on what kind of bike to buy. I've been to many stores around Tampa and even with all the information given and all the bikes I've ridden, I'm still so utterly confused. I would like to know what experienced riders think would be the best kind of bike for what I plan to use it for. I plan to use the bike for fitness purposes on paved surfaces around Tampa. I do see myself taking it off-road maybe once a month, but nothing too intense. I was considering a mountain bike because I could change the wheels out and turn the suspension off when I wanted to go fast. But how fast could I really go? I love that mounatin bikes are a much easier ride than road or hybrid bikes. However, I've found that I'm most comfortable (as far as riding more than an hour) on a road bike due to the position of the handles. I believe a cyclocross bike would be the best fit but I'm not looking to spend over $900. I also feel as if I'm getting a much better workout on a road bike. I feel a mountain bike would be most durable (and comfortable) but I'm not sure if I would get used to the upright riding position. I've asked if it was possible to have the handlebars and shifters of a road bike put onto a hybrid bike but one shop told me it would be over $400 just to do that. It seems I can't have everything I want in a bike for my budget.
Any opinions about bikes for fitness, getting used to riding positions, and a suggestion of a good shop in Tampa would be greatly appreciated.