Old Clanky got it's final upgrade this afternoon. I finally got around to installing some new Tektro long-reach brakes on this bike. I've had the brakes kicking around for a few months now, but never got around to the project of changing the old brakes out until today.
The stopping power with the Tektro's is a big improvement. The original brakes were not really what I would consider "brakes". They were more accurately "speed attenuators". Even with alloy rims, the brakes made me nervous. Fortunately the bike is not fast, because if it was, there would be no stopping it.
A previous upgrade included some much better tires ("tyres" if you prefer). I pried open my wallet for some Panaracer Col de Vie's. Most people run really cheap tires on their 3-speeds, but the improved ride of the Col de Vie's is worth it to me. I've had very good luck with flat resistance as well with these tires (knock wood) although they are not marketed as puncture resistant.
The other changes I have made to this bike include a slightly larger cog to give it more spin and make the high gear less ponderous, and installing some QBP cork grips in place of the original crusty plastic grips that came on the bike.
Accessories have been added as well. The bike currently sports a Carradice "Barley" bag and a bar-mounted bottle cage. I also clip my Garmin unit the bars if I want route data, although I have been a lot more casual about tracking miles and routes lately.
I am by no means a purist when it comes to 3-speeds, obviously. I am perfectly fine with a few modern upgrades, particularly on bikes like mine (a run-of-the-mill low-end bike of no significant value to collectors or enthusiasts). Rather, I enjoy the ride on this bike and the upgrades make me enjoy the ride more, so as I see it, what's not to like?