I've just started riding again after a 25 year layoff. Yeah, late time I seriously rode, I was 20. Anyway, in mid-January, a customer said I could have the Trek Multi-Track bike he had hanging in his garage as long as I have been detailing his cars (about 6-7 years). Nice bike, reasonably light for a hybrid, 21 speeds. Between the time I got the bike and through the middle of last week, I put about 285 miles on it. Only problem was, the guy who gave me the bike is several inches taller than I am and the larger frame was stretching me out and after 15-18 miles, I was really uncomfortable. I was looking at the local bike shop for a road bike and even an entry-level bike was in the $650-1000 range! I was seriously looking at a 21 pound, 27 speed Trek that was marked down from $849 to $750. I mentioned it to my brother and he said he'd sell me his Cannondale R400 Racing bike for $150 or a wash/wax on his Odyssey and his wife's Mountaineer. The bike is about 5 years old, has maybe 500 miles on it. Really excellent shape. Weighs 20 pounds and has 14 gears. Fits me a lot better too. I am already averaging a good 1.5 mph faster than the Trek and I feel a lot better after I finish riding. I've put 85 miles on it since last Thursday, weather permitting, I should end up with close to 100 miles just from Monday to Friday. What I am looking for is advice on improving my average speed (almost 17 mph) and increasing my daily distance, which right now is around 17-19 miles per ride. I've being riding the paved back trails at the local park, 7 miles one way, plus the entrance of the park is about 1/2 mile from where I live and another .4 miles to the entrance of the back trails. I'd prefer to stay on the trails and off the streets, too many assholes try to see how close they can get to you. Also, how long does it take to get used to the shoes that clip into the pedals? Right now, I am wearing my running shoes and using the pedals with the toe clips. My brother has the other pedals but can't find them, although he did have the shoes in the bag with the rest of the stuff for the bike. Hopefully he can find the pedals because even cheap ones are in the $35-50 range! In addition, do the biking pants really help? I've lost 10 pounds since I started riding and want to lose another 25-30 pounds so I want to hold off a little while until I get closer to my goal so I am not buying another pair every month. However, if they make enough of a difference, I will consider it. BTW, if any of y'all ride at night (no choice before daylight savings time kicked in for me), the CatEye HL-EL520 Power Opticube headlight is like frickin' HIDs for a bike! Much better than the Trek LED headlight I had.