Those boots look fine, i've always worn Astars and yeah, occasionally the soles seperate from the boot but they can be reglued by a cobbler, mine have always lasted for ages. I currently wear supertech R and like all of them they are like slippers once broken in, i LOVE them.So, earplugs seem like a must-have, got it. I wish I drove one of those, the plan is to build an early C3 some day!
I like but don't love the boots, they were a good price, is there a go-to for an over the ankle boot that allows some kind of normal movement? I want ankle protection and bracing so I don't expect a pair of sneakers, however the Ridges do feel soft of puffy/stiff. I do plan to get better gloves but that'll just be me being bored one day and going to the shop. I'll probably get another pair of pants and some kind of leather next year, no reason to worry now.
Or maybe shop Bike Nashbar?... Saturday when you go there they will have marked those riding shorts down to under $50 and you buy them. Yes, they may be horribly lurid colors, but don't concern yourself with that as the nurses in the ER have seen everything despite your mothers advice on underwear. Never again in your life will you spend that much on panties unless you are dating a supermodel, but you will never regret it.
*Edit - hand wash only
Bicycle guys can have pretty thick legs... but that guy looks more like a bodybuilder who happens to ride - bikers are super thin beanpoles in general with minimal upper body strength (fit but not bodybuilder looking - just adds weight and slows you down).That bicycle guys legs are freaking me out.