Recommendations re new Bike (sorry if this is a repost)

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I have been riding since last year (please, no jokes about how tired my legs must be!)

My current bike is a 13yr old Dawes Impulse - its ok, but I would like to get a new bike, to take
advantage of improved design/technology etc

At the moment, I ride routes varying from 8 - 25 miles, with not many gradients involved. Typical
avg speed for an 18 mile run is 19mph

I know its difficult to be too specific in recommendations, but can anyone provide opinions of
different makes, and maybe models if poss

On a VERY specific point, my local dealer is 'Michaels Cycles' of Bedford. Any experiences of them ?
I'm going there tomorrow to see what they have to offer. Is it unreasonable to expect a test-ride,
given I'm spending a fair chunk of cash ?

My budget is around £800


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