What kind of drive you plan to do? What is your budget? There are so many big bike companies out there. For quality yet inexpensive bikes there are several I like. Kona is one, check their site and look for models such as the Kona and Kona Jake Dew. It's pretty decent hardtails with components and a secure frame.
Marin is another company that has some good bikes at the bottom.
Tell your local shop that your budget is and what kind of riding you want to do. Often in the stores "treated" is not the bike itself, but in service. Lifetime upgrades, discounts on tools and supplies, etc. And of course off your helmet. Get one!
Your local bike shop about trade ins, used, rental fleet, the end of the model year.
Many areas have bike swaps, ask at your local store. It's bike swap meet with a flea market prices but none of the bad karma that comes sometimes from Craigs.