Bike It - only you can know whether to start. I'm sure you will make the right decision. Is it Rowan or nothing? Bronze is a heck of a lot easier and under the circs might represent a terrific result. Good luck with whatever you decide to do - fingers crossed.
Lorenzo - the cycle to work scheme is good in many ways but but discriminates against the self employed (1 in 7 of the workforce) + various other sectors.
Thanks for all the bike gen folks. Very helpful. My targets are to do a duathlon, however slow; and maybe next summer to do the Vatternrundan which is a sportive-type 300k round a lake in Sweden. Can't see how I could do this without a road bike and a year of training but it's a worthy target.
The idea of GM or any other cyclist eyeballs out on a Raleigh Chopper is v funny indeed (for those born too late to remember, have a look at a pic of what was the iconic bike for 70s schoolboys)
Leslie that's more than decent off limited training
SJ - thinking of looking at a road bike too - are there a few key factors such as weight that one is looking for in the lower price brackets, or just a good all rounder? Is it worth spending on carbon frame or are cheap carbons less good than similarly priced metal frames? My MTB is an indestructible beast so a lightweight alternative seems tempting. Thoughts welcome.