Today, I checked a bike shop near work called Ruckus. It's a new shop in town and I had been in before. This time around, I wanted to see if they got bike shorts in. I had seen some at another shop in town for a ridiculous $180!!
Ruckus had a pair for much cheaper. And it turns out, since they are a sponsor of the bike tour and one of the staff is the bike mechanic on trip, trip members get 10% off parts. :) So padded shorts I got! I tested them out on longer harder bike ride today. I went up UNBC hill without stopping and looped around to Peden Hill and biked back down. Shorts are good, not as uncomfortable as I envisioned. I'm not a bike short person, but from what I hear and read, padded bike shorts for a long distance ride are a MUST, even for other people who normally dress in street cloths when they commute around town.
Next comes cages for the pedals, which aren't too expensive and can be put on my pedals since they are still in good shape. A cage keeps your feet steady on pedal and is a cheaper alternative to bike shoes/clips systems. And you can use your shoes for everyday without clinking of medal connecting piece on sole.
Here's an example: http://www.sportsmithstatic.com/images/Hi-Res/P1495129.jpg
And here's view from up top on bike trip today, looking Northeast, you can see the snowy Rockies. Oh the owner of Ruckus LOVED my bags! Should see if she'd order some in....:)