Viv and I go back about two years. I'd just gotten back on a bike after a several-year absence. My first bike purchase was a mid-range road bike, purchased with the goal of doing RAGBRAI. I'd done it several times in my 20's and wanted to get back to it. I quickly discovered that I also needed something as a kid puller and grocery bike. For years I'd lived walking distance from my office and with our (then) recent house purchase, I was a whopping 2.5 miles away! So, while it was walkable, it was a bit of a haul, especially considering all the crap I like to take too and from the office. Vivian was exactly what I needed.
She's a '92 Bridgestone XO-2 who had been taken pretty good care of by a local couple with a bike problem. I had a soft spot for Bridgestone bikes, having owned a high end Bstone road bike in college. I'd sold that bike in my mid-20's at time when I was casting off all my worldly possessions to move to Morocco (that's an adventure story for another day.) There was always something about that bike which I loved, and while it probably wasn't the brand name, when I found Viv I knew I had to have her.
I set out to give her a little make-over. She was going on 18 after all, the girl deserved to be classed up a bit.
On a budget, and ridiculously indecisive, I slowly transformed her over several months to get where I wanted her to be. For awhile she looked like this:
I upgraded the seat immediately to a Brooks B-17s. The saddle she came with was not only ugly, it was super uncomfortable. I picked up some Wald folding baskets from Craigslist for $20, as an interim solution until I could find something in cool leather or canvas. I removed the drop bars and put her original moustache bars back on (the previous owner had kept them.) I spent several months riding her like this as I decided what to do for handlebar wrap - I knew the black wasn't it.
Eventually, I settled on Velo Orange elk hide wraps. They took quite a while to sew on, but I've been very happy with the results. Mine are pretty scuffed up at this point and my winter gloves rubbed off on them a bit (some black tint), but overall I think they still look good.
I later added some fenders - good old SKS's, commuter standard equipment - and upgraded to some waterproof, big boy panniers. I found the panniers to be bulky (can you see why - they're HUGE) and while certainly lighter than my baskets, I decided I really love my good old Wald folders. I'm able to fold them up and put the panniers on over for trips to the grocery store, which is nice.
I love this old gal. She's got a bit of collectible charm (among Bridgestone enthusiasts - although the XO-1 is most desirable of the XO's.) She gets me to work on time. She hauls groceries almost as good as my minivan (Yes, I drive a minivan. I'm a mom, it's a necessary phase and I've embraced it....and I have a t-shirt.) She rides like a dream...a heavy dream, but a dream nonetheless.