The guys at my local bike shop put my Schwalbe Marathons on today. While they were being fitted I got chatting with a guy who has had a custom bike built for him but is paying it off weekly and can't take it home yet. It's a mountain bike with Really Ugly Welds, front suspension, disc brakes, hydraulic this and that, aluminium frame, 27 gears etc etc etc. It's costing him around $4800. I gulped. He roared with laughter when I told him my saddle and grips cost more than I paid for my bike. Little Petunia came in for quite a few questions from the shop guys; how old was she? Was that a genuine Brooks saddle and was it leather? Where did I get the bike? What else had I done to it? Initially I was told to come back in an hour for my fitted tyres but once they started asking questions they got her up on the rack straight away and set to work. She does have a certain old-fashioned charm.
The white reflective stripe gives them a bit of an old-fashioned look; while they look a little more modern than the ancient Panaracers they replaced, they don't look too out of place.
More to the point, they ride well. I've only done a really short test ride on them (had to get back to work) but if the weather holds over the weekend will try them out. Rolling resistance seems pretty low, as the manufacturer promises. They can be inflated up to 95psi too - hee hee, that should give me an extra km per hour!
So here's Petunia with stage one almost finished. Just have to find a way to mount a light and a front basket. This may mean replacing the stem and cables unless I can find a clever person who can weld me a custom bracket for the handlebars. I have something in mind.
What's stage 2? At some point in the future, when I'm feeling far more financially capable, I want to rebuild the rear wheel with an 8 speed hub gearset. My sister-in-law has done that to her Mixte, and loves it.
Also part of stage 2 will be finding fenders that fit. Now the new tyres are on I can get measuring in earnest. >;-)