I'm just starting to get into cycling, so I bought a relatively cheap hybrid bike to start out with since I wasn't sure if I'd ride enough to justify any extra expense. I have a Specialized Crossroads Sport, which thanks to advice from this forum has already received a saddle upgrade and narrower tires (went to 28c from the stock 38 tires). Both of these things have helped make riding more comfortable and enjoyable (and longer distances more feasible).
As it turns out, I really like cycling and want to do more. If I'd known when I bought the bike what I know now, I probably would have opted for an entry-level road or touring bike rather than the hybrid, but what's done is done -- a new bike isn't in the budget anytime soon. The problem I'm having now is that the hybrid doesn't offer more than one hand position, and with mild carpal tunnel syndrome, I really need more positions on rides of more than about 10 miles. What are my options?
I could add bar ends to the bike, but with the hybrid handlebars that are built for maximum upright riding position, I'm not sure that will really work well. Would it be reasonable to consider putting a flat bar with bar ends on this bike? If so, could I use the existing shifters and brake levers? Anything that requires replacing shifters and brake levers is going to run into more money than I want to sink into this $325 bike (especially since I'm sure I'm not skilled enough to do that kind of thing myself).
Finally, how tough would this job be for a newbie? I'm not afraid to tinker, but I want to make sure I don't compromise safety.
Thanks in advance...