You have to enjoy the bicycle you're riding so I'm here to tell you ladies that you can change the handlebars! In fact, you can change almost every aspect of your bike (we'll get into those details later). In many cases it is definitely worthwhile to convert an older quality roadbike to a more upright riding position, resulting in a lightweight commuter. To show how a bike can be tailored I give you my bike's makeover:
I got my current commuter bike as a ten speed from the 70s. It is better than the average bike of the era because it was hand made of a high quality steel called Reynolds 531. That doesn't matter much, other than it makes it even lighter and faster, and perhaps it was better cared for in the past. You can know if a bike is made of this material because there will be a sticker on the tube the seat goes into.
As you can see in the photos, the first thing I did was change those drop handlebars. The new handlebars were inspired by my husband's Parisian city bike, and they're good for having multiple positions for my hands. I bought them from Velo Orange, they're called Belleri Porteur Bars. Here is another bike with the same handlebars and brake levers, you can see what a difference customization makes in the total look.
Next I added a rear rack. Backpacks are rarely chic, and can hurt your back if you cycle with them a lot. By adding the rack I was able to use my specialty bike bag to carry essentials for me and the bike.
The third major component of the makeover was the fenders. Again, they came from Velo Orange, they're the Honjo Hammered Fenders. Installing these fenders was no joke, but I'll post on how we did it later, and I know many bike shops have done it a lot. In the end, with all the compliments I get on them, they were definitely worth it. On my bike I just love the way they bring out the white and silver "Dawes" badge.
So now I think the bike is looking pretty sweet. Like most people, I'm on a budget so some up my upgrades will wait 'till next month, or the next.
On the list for upgrading I have:
- a front rack
- a wine box from a good vineyard for carrying groceries (we'll have to buy the wine too, this is an expensive upgrade)
- better tires
- maybe go singlespeed