Got the Trek back from the shop today with the brakes installed and new gray cable housings to “hide” them on the frame. Also pictured are the new white tires on 700c rims (tires from a fixie bike shop in Long Beach and rims from Craigslist), Selle San Marco leather saddle (Craigslist) and red brass bell from Public. The bell takes a bit of force to get it to strike, but it’s very pretty.
So I’m not sure yet how I feel about my bastardization of this perfectly fine vintage road touring bike. Changing the handlebars presented obvious problems such as needing new brake cables and now the downtubes shifters aren’t as convenient to reach since I’m not using drop handlebars. But since my neighborhood is fairly flat, I don’t really anticipate having to change gears that often, and I’m also expecting that as I ride more, I’ll get used to the shifters. I wasn’t that comfortable with them in the first place, even with the drop bars. Moving the shifters to the stem or handlebars might make sense, but I kind of like the simplicity of the bike’s “cockpit,” so to speak. Same goes for whether I’ll order replacement Trek decals… it was something I really wanted to do at first, but after replacing all the roady black bits, its labellessness is kind of cool.
When I first hopped on the Trek after leaving the bike store, the bike felt a million times smaller. Previously, I had a 48 cm road bike that was definitely too small, and measurement tables I looked for online said I was best suited for 50 cm. This bike is supposed to be close to 50 cm, but I wonder if I’m closer to a 51 or 52 cm. I like a lot of standover clearance, which is why I went to step through frames in the first place, so this frame takes some getting used to. But when I got home, I raised the seatpost a couple inches, which seemed to solve the problem by matching the higher rise handlebars.
Anyway, I like the cleanness of the lines right now. I think I like the aesthetics of fixed gear bikes at heart but functionally, I could never ride one. I might put the rear pannier rack back on eventually in order to have more cargo capacity, but I think I’ll just ride it as a non-cargo commuter for now.