I went one more step and got some toe straps. The way that these seemingly simple things work is that rather than just pushing the pedals, now you’re pulling too, so every stroke is twice as strong. I just rode down to Great Harvest for breakfast, and the difference was immediate. Now I’m going 10 and 11 mph on the uphills, rather then 5 or 6, and going 22 on the flats, rather than 13. Of course, now my legs hurt in all new places, too.
So, a couple more days of practice, and I might be ready to make my friends, family and coworkers more nervous by biking all the way to work.