Cycling shoes and clipless pedals allow your feet to be secured into the pedals, so your pedaling motion can utilize both the downward push of your quads and the upward pull of your hamstring. Here is some advice for using clipless pedals for the first time.
Articles for tag: cycling, gear and necessities, nerves and fear, newbie mistakes, shoes, triathlons
As far as cycling gear goes, there are the Must-Haves, things that are A Good Idea, and items that Would Be Nice. The most basic necessities for all cyclists fall under the Must Have category and they are all covered here.