Ok, after much deliberation, and a sort of false start - thanks a lot, hernia - I've finally gone and got myself a proper bike, a Specialized Secteur Triple - or at least will be taking delivery of it in a week or so - and wonder what else I need.
I know the obvious things I need; helmet, shirts, shorts, waterproof, lights etc etc. But what else; tool kit? Mini pump?
I am a complete and utter noob so no advice will be too obvious or considered patronising (unlike the guys in one of the shops I looked in. 'Oh, you don't want my £650? Fine, I'll go elsewhere') Yes, I realise a 40 something bloke buying a bike slap bang in the middle of the TDF may be a massive cliche, but I bet your boss would be pissed off to hear he lost a £650 sale because you were smirking with your mate at my lack of knowledge. That said, that was the only negative experience I had in visiting about a dozen shops. Everyone else with no exception was generous with their time and advice.
I have loads of questions, but off the top of my head; do I need - or rather would I benefit from - a computer? I've got an iPhone, would that be as good with the right app? Strava is well rated.
Is more expensive gear that much better than the cheaper stuff? Are a pair of £150 shoes or a £120 helmet 3 times better than a pair of £50 shoes or a £40 helmet, etc?
How puncture resistant are modern tyres? 'Espoir Sport 25c tyres with double BlackBelt puncture protection' according to the website spec. Would changing or upgrading them help or are punctures just 'one of those things' that are unavoidable like death and taxes? Changing tyres and puncture repair is my achilles heel. I hated it when I was younger and I hate it now. I would pay good money for genuinely puncture resistant tyres/tubes if it worked.
So many more questions to ask, but for now...any advice gratefully received. Thanks!