I've been getting the mountain bike all ready to hit the trails. It started last week with the purchase of a new hydration pack. I had one that was given to me by a guy I work with that he got while in Afghanistan, but it's designed to be hooked to another backpack so it's not very comfortable on the shoulders. But it's an actual Camelbak, so it's bladder is the best in the business. I found a cheap pack at the store that had a really comfortable actual pack, but the bladder wasn't the best. So what to do?? Obviously, take the nice bladder out of the Camelbak and put it into the nicer backpack. Now I've got a nice comfy pack with all the awesomeness of the Camelbak bladder.
Then yesterday I headed to On 2 Wheels to look at SPD shoes. I ended up getting a pair of entry level SPD shoes by Shimano, model MT22. They are mountain bike shoes that can easily be used on the mountain bike or walking, or for that matter on any other bike. They are pretty nice looking, as well.
What exactly are SPD shoes?? Well, you see that piece in the middle of the sole?? That's a metal piece that a cleat fits into. That cleat allows you to physically hook into your pedals so that you get power not only when pushing down on the pedals, but also when pulling up. It makes you a lot more efficient. Not to mention, the soles are designed for biking, so they end up being a bit stiffer which makes it easier to transfer your power to the pedals.
To make them work, however, you need some special pedals. So I ordered these from Amazon. I got a great deal on them. They list at $55. Amazon sells them for $33. I had the $20 gift card from buying "Portal 2," so I effectively got them for $13. Shimano PD-M520L. They are an entry level SPD pedal that comes with the necessary cleats for hooking into the shoes.
The best part about these pedals and shoes is that the pedals will also work on my Bianchi road bike. I'll probably end up ordering a second set of the pedals eventually to put on the road bike so that I can use the nice shoes on both the Diamondback and the Bianchi. The whole package will make me a much better cyclist, and hopefully help me get an even better workout than the bikes would normally.