I know leg strength is one of the keys to more speed, so let's pretend I've already ridden tens of 1000s of miles and I'm already in peak condition.
When I bought my bike the initial intention was to *supplement* our walking with some casual weekend riding around the neighborhood and short rides around town, on trails, at the beach, etc. Now, a few months later, 20+ mile rides are common on the weekends with a few rides during the week as time allows, and we plan to increase that as much as we can. We're even fantasizing about a century one day. I can see how the weight of the bike and my upright position play into this (again, pretending I'm already in top shape).
I could modify the bike as much as possible (lower the bars, rigid stem for the seat, change the wheels and tires), but I'm still stuck with the top tube which I do believe is longer than ideal for me (I believe the height is OK but the reach is not). I can't move the seat forward or the bars back any more than they already are.
Or, I could get a different bike. The Kona Dew Deluxe was the first bike I rode when we first began shopping. Now I am thinking of returning to the shop for another look. The guy who helped us that day suggested installing comfort bars. I don't remember why I didn't further pursue that option.
I'm wondering if it would be wiser to replace the wheels, tires, and bars on my current bike, or replace it with another bike that will let me go faster right from the start (with possible modifications to the bars). It will cost some $$ to replace the wheels and tires, but the top tube will still be long.
I hope everyone isn't sick of reading about my bike fit issues, but if you can stand one more post on it I'd appreciate suggestions from others who are more experienced than I am.