Choosing the right bike can be overwhelming, especially with all of the different options these days. And for those of us who see springing for a new ride as a big purchase, it's important to make sure you're getting the best bike for you. I bought my first mountain bike over the phone in 2006. I was living in Denali National Park at the time and getting between my housing unit, "town" and into the park without a car was becoming a challenge. I called REI in Anchorage, told them how much I wanted to spend and the terrain I was going to be riding on. Given the varied landscape in the park and what I wanted to use the bike for in the future, we settled on the K2 Zed1.0. It cost just over $300 and was a great entry level mountain bike. I still have it and love it. The REI team in Anchorage was super helpful then, and now, REI's got a super cool infographic to help you choose the right bike for you. (And really, any flow diagram that starts with "are you wearing a top hat" as the first question has to be awesome.)
Check out REI's wide selection of bikes! What bike was your first and why?