I did it! I went and bought a bike! Mine is just like this one, I think, except a beautiful royal blue. It is a 2007 Cannondale Synapse. It is super lightweight. And it fits in my car.
I also purchased a helmet, bike shorts (I never knew they were padded!) and gloves. Tomorrow is day one with my new friend. My salesman told me that runners take to cycling a lot easier than cyclists take to running. We shall see!