So, I have been bitten by the bug. I picked up a CB Explorer 100 for a bargain price from amazon after my doctor advised me to exercise in an effort to stave off a form of cancer that seems to be quite fond of the male members of my family. I began by exchanging bus rides for bike rides and the odd leisure cycle and have now progressed to completing 'The Guild Wheel', a 20+ mile cycle lane circuit in my dreary home town of Preston four to five times a week. During this progression I have been lurking on this site and rooting through the archives learning as much as I can. However I have got to the point where any questions I have are specific to me, along with a couple of other bits and pieces that I am still puzzled by. I would be delighted if the more experienced members of the board would have a look at them. 1. I worry that as a beginner I may fall into the trap of spending loads of money on useless junk. Are there any brands/suppliers that are notorious for one reason or another? Is there any gadgetry that newbie consumers end up purchasing that always ends up gathering dust in the garage? 2. Are components for bikes universal? So, for example if I picked up some new pedals online, is it a certainty that they will fit my bike? Or rather do you always need to have a certain 'scheme'; ie. If the cycling shoes are Shimano, will the pedals that they are to attach to have to be Shimano too and so on? 3. For future health considerations, I have little in the way of option when it comes to keeping this activity up (thankfully I really enjoy it) so as winter draws near I am beginning to worry about the weather. As I mentioned earlier I live in a near-shanty town in the damp, drizzly north west. During a surprise storm I cycled wearing a waterproof top that I kept in my backpack and the result was sweating in what could only be described as an un-holy manner. Is there specialised gear to combat this, or do I have to choose between being soaked in rain water or soaked in sweat? I would be grateful for any advice. Thanks, Dan.