I stripped off the bags, left the rear pannier rack in place and added a small seat bag for a tube and other essentials. So now, I ride away from my apartment and look for hills - then ride up them.
It's an interesting way to see parts of town I had yet to discover. I had the drivetrain replaced about a year ago so the gears shift crisp and clean. Check out the long handlebar stem on this relic. Made me think back about 15 years and in those days, it seemed the big trick was to get the rider way out over the front axle. That's sure the case here...but despite the long reach, I still end up popping the front wheel off the ground on some of those climbs. The grade is steep enough that it's hard to keep the front end from getting light.
So it's not about the bike after all. I have this old, worn, once stolen and recovered bicycle from yesteryear. A rigid front fork, Richey 1" slicks and you're rockin' with a ride that makes for a strong workout. It's a nice fit between my road bike and mountain bike, so once again I'm making use of all three pieces of equipment.
In this age of $5000 cycles, I'm happy with this refurbished critter. One man's trash is another man's treasure and on these crisp mountain mornings, I'm riding like a king.