firstly - thanks to those people who took the time to post some positive and useful info. Cheers.
I would also like to say that not everyone is lucky enough to live near a bike shop that stocks the brands they are looking to buy. If you go and look at the list of manufacturers on this site
you will see that there are over 150 companies making GOOD bikes now - show me a brick and mortar store can even begin to conceive of carrying that many brands, they simply do not get enough foot traffic through the door to warrant holding stock from so many manufacturers.
The idea of someone, who does not live in or near a major metropolis - where there is broad selection of bikes on offer to purchase - being able to get exactly the ride they want delivered to their door, is just an eventuality. The laggards and anti-online bike shop people will just have to realise that this is the way the world is going. To Quote the Borg - "Resistance is Futile".