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I think that $1000 is a bit past his limit if he was looking at a Wal-Mart type bike. (forgive me, I didn't read every post in the thread so I dont know if he mentioned what his limit was)
Anyways, try bikesdirect.com
A lot of people will probably shoot it down but it is legit and they sell good bikes. Just because you don't see Motobecane in every shop window or underneath every pro rider doesn't mean it isn't good.
Here are your choices as to what you can get a single speed which is good for commuting and getting around also a lot of fun for just riding around and stuff. You could also go with a hardtail which is good for an all around bike but to me for just commuting, it is a lot of extra parts and shit to deal with.
A single speed would be the best choice if you want simplicity and don't want to do all the maintanence of a full suspension/hard tail mountain bike.
$395 and you get a single speed with 29 inch wheels. Sick deal for a sick bike. Just my 2 cents but that is what I would get.