At my new apartment complex I have access to a bike trail that is about 13 miles long. I asked my parents for a bike for my birthday and that's just what they got me! After searching in a bunch of stores we finally found the perfect one at Sports Authority.
It's a women's Columbia Northway 26" bicycle. It is made of lightweight aluminum which was a feature I was looking for. I wanted the bicycle to be as light as possible because I live in a second floor apartment and I wasn't going to keep my bike outside, so that meant lugging the bike up the stairs each time. After we got home with the bike though we found out it fit perfectly in the nook behind the door so it has it's own place right by the door, ready to go! It's still nice to have a very light bike though.
It also has shocks on the front wheel and underneath the seat which is wonderful when you go over bumps; no more sore bum! Speaking of your bum, it also has a "Velo" comfort seat with memory foam. I gave the comfort a 4.8 rating only for the reason that after so long on the bike my hands start to feel a little bit funny due to the strange grip design on the handle bars. Although that could just be because I am squeezing them to hard.
A neat thing about the grips though is that is where your shifters are. Gear shifts now are not like the old days, they are now imbedded in the grip, so all you have to do is twist your hand to change the gear. I think that feature is so neat and I love it!
Overall the bike is 21 speeds, although I really don't know why anyone would ever need that many speeds on a bicycle. I'm not all that familiar with the different speeds but one gear is 1-3 and the other is 1-7. I keep my bike on gear 2 and 6. I feel that gives me a smooth ride, and good pedaling. Not too easy and not too hard.
I am really happy that my parents got this bicycle for me as a gift. It has already logged about 30 miles, as everyday I ride about 5-6 before I go to work. If you are looking for a very comfortable and affordable woman's bicycle I would definitely take a look at the Columbia Northway.