Since I have started riding, I have been trying to learn as much as I can about the mechanics of my bike, pieces, parts, and how they all work in harmony. My bike is nowhere near the dream boat it could be and I am trying to work slowly toward making upgrades customized to my needs. There is so much information available and I am having a difficult time finding a good place to start. In short, sensory overload!
I guess I am asking for a little bit of guidance on where to start, what might be most important to look at first.
A little background might help: I am riding to both commute, for fitness, and of course for fun. Currently I am commuting 2-3 days a week, and trying to go on longer rides on my non-commuting days. I am keeping this pretty flexible though. I have a tendencey to over do things at first and then I just stop. I am trying to avoid making it feel like a chore, but something I just do as a part of my life. My commute is about thirteen miles round trip and I don't have difficulty finishing. I rode about the same distance all at once a few days ago without issue, and have ridden about 20 miles total in a day, but not all at once. I feel that my athletic ability is above average for someone my height and weight and would like to continue to make that true (and hopefully shedding the extra along the way). I live in a relatively flat area so it is pretty easy to get around. I am riding an older (not sure of the year) Trek 700 "Multi Cross" (I found it on Craigslist) and have had quite a bit of difficulty finding information on the specs of my bike.
I have only made a couple of changes/modifications to my bike thus far. I had to replace the chain and the chainwheel about a week after my purchase. When I took it to the LBS that I liked, I upgraded the pedals from plastic to metal. I don't spend much time out of the saddle, but I do like knowing they will not snap under my weight when I stand to regain circulation.
This turned into a much longer post than I had anticipated. As I mentioned before, any kind of starting point would be appreciated. You guys, and gals are very supportive in here and I am very appreciative of that.
One important aspect to remember is that a lot of high-end upgrades are for no other reason than to shed grams. Being the Clyde thread, i believe we all know where the eaisest place to shed real weight is, and it aint the seatpost.
I would look into upgrading components up to a certain level, but only as they break down. Also, depending on how much you paid for the bike, and how old it is, I would think about creating a bike fund. Save a certain amount of money every month until you can upgrade to a better all-around bike. Only put money into your current bike to repair problems.
Most upgraded modern equipment is for 9 speed rears on MTBs, so if you have a 6 or 7 speed, you may not have a lot of upgrade potential anyways.
If anyone disagrees with what I've said, please feel free to correct me, I am in no way trying to sound like an authority on the subject, this is just my opinion.