It's like I'm doing the world's longest jigsaw puzzle. It's not one of those tricky thousand piece jigsaws, neither is it double-sided, nor without corners. There are probably only a few pieces in the box and they fit together very easily - it's just that they happened to not be in the box in the first place.
So it is taking a very long time, but bit by bit, piece by piece it is slowly coming together.
This month has seen me finally be able to make the move to proper cycling shoes and pedals (aka: clipless). I have lusted after this moment for a long time: It certainly feels as though I've earnt them!
The last straw that prompted me to do this was when oh-so-clever toe-strap repair turned out to be not oh-so-clever and started wearing through my crank! My toe-straps of my broken-for-five-months pedals kept breaking owing to the brokenness of the pedals: Since the bearings had gone completely in the pedals, they would float sideways causing the pedal to sit in a position too close to the crank and so the strap would rub against the crank until it broke. After umpteen repairs and re-joining of straps (baling twine even got a look in!) I had an idea of using a broken spoke to form an indestructible toe-strap. It worked! It did not wear through and snap. No, it started wearing through my crank instead! And that was the last straw.
I decided to go with SPDs and a mountain bike style shoe because a) that was the cheaper option compared to road-specific shoes/pedals and b) I really need to be able to walk in them for those (hopefully) rare - but inevitable - times when I'll break down and need to walk a few miles home or to work.
There is the (generally accepted and stated) difference that stiffer soles make to efficiency and power transfer (I can't find any actual data on this though; I need a few more journeys yet to be sure, but seems to make a couple of minutes difference to my commute), but the main differences for me are that I no longer have a pedal digging into the bottom of my foot or my toes crushed up into toe-clips (my toes will love this come winter) and lastly that my bike no longer rattles like the incredibly broken thing it was.
Oh and so far, none of this falling off nonsense. Next piece of the puzzle: a cycling jersey.