Gumtree has plenty of cheap pre loved options. Just remember, second hand anything is buyer beware... The first question is always, what is your budget?? You can get a pretty decent bike for under $3K...but you also don't need to spend that much.
Also, start road riding, on a decent bike, you WILL be doing MAMIL Italian racing uniform, eventually. Best start dealing with that prospect now
Sorry I wont do the mamil, EVER, I dont mind those that do, I actually prefer riding on my own. In comfortable clothing that doesn't make me look like a Dcikhead. I do have repsect for how godamn fit some of those blokes are and Im not anti cyclist.
Question on the expense of the bike, does i REALLY make THAT much difference? Or is the a pecking order based on the badge and how it is perceived?