My bike is arriving on Monday/Tuesday, and I am a complete newbie at riding (unless you count my last ride back when I was ten or so). I used to have great conditioning from running, but having battled with various injuries I have lost most of my conditioning and gained a significant amount of weight. My leg strength is somewhat lacking, but still mostly there. To start, I have about 30 lbs to lose and would like to get back to a good overall state of fitness. My goal for this is towards the end of summer. From there, I can really start focusing on trimming any excess body fat and working on getting some speed with riding. To help with this I think I will begin commuting on my bike, which will add an extra 2 miles each way (albeit at an easier pace). With gas the way it is, of course this will help me pinch some pennies for more gear!
I would like to plan out some rides and get familiar with some of the better roads to ride in my area. Could anyone give me a realistic idea of some starting distances? I have a much better feeling for the effort needed in running versus riding. Of course, people talk about their long rides of 30+ miles, etc., but what might be some realistic goals?