Most bike stores take a lot of pride in customer service, and strive to have the best customer service possible. You know that you are in a good bike shop if you're greeted shortly after entering, staff members are easily identified with uniforms, they have adequate hours, and if there's a good assortment of merchandise. Take the time to get to know the staff at the shop you like, they'll be a great source of information to you in finding the right bike for you.
The online bike shops will cater to the experienced biker as they just need to visit the website, choose their stuff and order their stuff at the click of a mouse. The online bike shops will also cater to the inexperienced biker as they just need to visit the website, explore the options, read up about them and finally place the order at the click of a mouse.
When you go into a shop, you should ask if they allow their customers to try the products before they buy them. These types of stores will be the best for anyone who has no idea which brand or size they need. In fact, you should always ride a bicycle before you purchase it to ensure that it is a good fit for you and that you find it to be comfortable.
You can physically lower the bike itself a couple of ways, but they both involve changing the suspension components - namely, the shock absorbers. On most bikes, the shocks are mounted to the frame and to the swingarm. You can purchase a special bracket that will allow you to loosen the mounting bolts, slide the shocks to slide the shock back an inch or so, bringing the frame-with-fender down a bit closer to the tire in the rear, which might be enough to get you flat-footed.
Once you have settled on the right bicycle for your needs, you may want to purchase some useful accessories for yourself. A helmet is a must for everyone and you will need to find one that is comfortable to wear. You should also invest in a high quality U lock to protect it against theft. Some other accessories to consider include a rack, lights for the front and back, and a tire pump.