I got my SPD pedals installed tonight, and then put the cleats into my new shoes.
The pedals went on relatively easily, and the cleats mounted into the shoes really quickly. I then adjusted the tension on the pedals so that I could unclip from them with enough ease, but that I didn't think I'd slip out of them on accident.
I sat in the hallway clipping in and out for a few minutes until I started to get the feel for it. I was getting pretty proficient, but I'm sure that once I'm out and actually moving on the bike it will be a completely different story.
I will absolutely be getting a set of these pedals to put on the Bianchi.
The ONLY issue with the whole process was the fact that I didn't have the right wrench to put them on. I tried using an adjustable wrench, and it worked, but I put a couple of pretty nasty scratches onto my cranks. They are aluminum cranks, so they won't rust away or anything, and I'll be throwing some touch up paint on them...but it's definitely a downer to have these two nasty scratches on a bike that hasn't even hit the trails yet. Oh well, it's a mountain bike I guess, so hopefully by the end of the season it will have at least a few more scratches.