Time to go CLIPLESS... please!
I have seen too many riders out there who are still using grubby old athletic shoes and pushing away at old platform pedals.
Platform pedals were great when I was when I was a kid and I would just leap off my bike and let it coast down the hill into Mr. Anderson's new Berlinetta.
Now that cycling has become, for me, both recreation and serious exercise, the pedal becomes a serious and essential piece of equipment to get right.
I am not just bringing this up to dump on people for not looking "pro", but rather, with clipless pedals (pedals you clip a cleat into) you can deploy more muscles and take advantage of your entire stroke to get better, more efficient performance.
The perfect stroke
The most efficient pedal stroke should be, as it has been described to me, like scraping dog shit off your shoes. Nice even strokes with the foot being generally flat at the bottom stroke (or pointed up for climbing). I have seen some guys who have pointed their toes down for years, so much so, that it has changed their frame size requirements. Old habits die hard. I could only imagine how awesome they would ride with a corrected stroke.
A lot of people are afraid of being locked to the bike, but the clipless pedals essentially turn the show into the pedal. It isn't so scary with a little practice and becomes second nature. (I fell down my first time out... in front of some cute girls who happen to be there whenever I look like a total boob.)
For shoes in Taiwan, I made a fashion faux pas and bought SIDI mountain bike shoes for NT8000. Mountain bike shoes have a bit more tread and you can pretty much walk on the street as if you are wearing regular shoes.
I paired the shoed up with Crank Bros. Candy SL pedals because they have a small platform and are easy to hook in and out. They use the CB SPD style cleat. They are small and pretty universal. For roadies, a lot of guys like Speedplay Zeros, which have a huge clip that attaches to the shoe. Look Keo and Time Atac are also great pedals.
Crank Bros. Candy
No argument.... If you don't have 'em... get 'em!!!