random37 wrote:Honestly, save your money, and don't fix what isn't broken. Just replace things when they wear out.
In general I would agree, but as you ride more often and gradually build up distances and fitness, you might feel that there are some specific things about the bike which you don't quite like or think could/should be better. Sometimes you will be right, and sometimes you will be wrong, and it may be that the only way for you to decide and satisfy yourself will be to change it, and if necessary change it back.
This might be very slight changes to your position, e.g. raising or lowering the handlebars. It might be changing one small component, such as the brake blocks as previously mentioned (Kool Stop Salmon are reckoned to be a good wet and dry weather brake block).
If you keep riding and building up your stamina to go a bit further each month, I expect that at some point you will find you no longer like your squishy saddle, and will want to change that. Whilst squishy saddles may suit people who ride only short distances, they generally become uncomfortable as you ride further and your body (or rather a particular bit of it) adapts.
You mention being too scared to use your SPD pedals and shoes. Clipless pedals certainly are the right answer sometimes, but I would suggest instead that for now you consider trying some half toe clips and/or some some large plastic toe clips with the straps very loose (as Grarea mentions). The advantage of these is that they will help your feet to maintain their position on the pedal, and so make it easier for you to pedal at a higher cadence. A big difference between 'cyclists' and 'people who ride a bike' is that cyclists tend to pedal faster without consciously trying to do so: part of getting fit on a bike is that the body tends to gravitate to a higher cadence. For a given speed a higher cadence is easier and more comfortable for most of us to maintain than constantly pushing a high gear.
A particular advantage of such plastic toe clips is that they are less likely to mark or scuff your shoes, and you can use them with any shoes. There is a knack to flipping the pedal when starting off to get the side with the toe clip uppermost, but most usually get the hang of it very quickly, and if you fumble the flip at first you simply pedal briefly with the toe clip upside down until you are ready to have a go again at flipping the pedal. https://www.tredz.co.uk/.Zefal-Toe-Clip-43-515-Strap-Set_50815.htmhttps://www.tredz.co.uk/.Zefal-Half-Toe-Clips-45_69850.htm
NB Toe clips require that the pedal is compatible, i.e. a cage type pedal to which the toe clip can be bolted, as opposed to, say, a rubber pedal or a flat MTB pedal, e.g.https://www.tredz.co.uk/.MKS-MT-Lux-Comp-Alloy-Cage-Pedals_18204.htm
If you wear an extremely soft soled shoe (they are not generally a good choice for cycling), the edges of the pedal cage can dig into the sole and be uncomfortable, in which case a platform style pedal which is still compatible with toe clips might be better:https://www.tredz.co.uk/.MKS-GR9-Road-Cage-Pedals_18208.htm