Rule Britannia! Hmm...
Hiya! I'm a thirty something, mum of three (ages 5, 3 and 1). I can be seen most days trying to get the two littl'uns into the trailer and the big one on to his (rather large - daddy chose it) bike to do the school run. We live on a new estate where the planners had the insight to convert an ancient bridle path into a cycle track making it possible for an enthusiastic but wobbly 5 year old to cycle a mile to school.
In my student days I lugged one of those early, heavy duty Raleigh mountain bikes across the South Downs and had a great time. Good job no-one told me that I needed suspension, a lightweight bike, expensive shoes, funny pedals, indexed gears and funky clothes!
My bike now is a 1989 Muddy Fox Trailblazer. It used to be an odd hybrid with mtb tyres and drop handlebars, but I decided I liked off roading too much and put mtb handlebars on it. I've still got the old stem though - not sure whether I should change it or not - any suggestions? My love of cycling has been recently rekindled as I don't intend to be pregnant ever again! I'd like to do one of those 50 odd mile charity rides sometime soon, though it will take more practice than the four miles I ride each day. And that is how I discovered this site. I'm contemplating SPD pedals and shoes and wanted to know whether it really is a good idea - especially on a tight (under £50) budget.
I'm new here too & some will probably think a bit too free with my advice. I've started riding a bit & enjoy my SPD setup. It's bound to cost you a bit more than you mentioned, but I rationalized some expensive shoes for my oversize feet thus: you're always wearing some kind of shoes or another, and wearing them out, so go ahead & buy them & your total shoe wardrobe will last a little longer. No?
I can understand being on a tigth budget. but I think its time to treat yourself and get a road bike. (keep the other bike for riding with the kids.) things have changed and if you want to ride 50+ miles a road bike is the best way to go. take some time and go to your local bike shops and some that are not so local and look
for used bike and last years bikes. because some time rebuilding and old bike to make it new does not work out. can cost a lot and new parts dont always fit old bikes
wish you luck biking is fun and its a great way to get away with out really leaving the family.. (even if only for a few hours).
well thats my .02 worth
I My pc did not load the last part about the shoes...
spd cleats and shoes are worth the money but you should not get cheap ones (cleats) the will break at the worst times.. (20 miles from home/car).