I'd like to keep biking through this winter. I live in NH, so, I don't need a fast bike... it's cold up here! The goal is to keep biking through the winter, to stay in shape.
My "good" 3x9 bike would probably just eat chains, and I'd have to put on fenders, etc, so that rules that bike out. I love my Raleigh 3 speed; but it's a heavy tank with steel wheels. I manage on it ok right now, but the stock braking leaves something to be desired. I'm thinking of buying maybe a bikesdirect Windsor Oxford Deluxe 3 speed. I'd rather have the "old and true" AW, but really, I'm looking for a bike to beat on for hour long rides, not too fast, something ok in wet. Probably would not ride in the worst of weather, but I'd wind up eventually riding on on wet roads, which means salt and slush--all the more reason why I'd like to leave my "good" bikes home.
Last time I rode a mountain bike on the road I was sad to see how slow it was--felt like driving a tractor. But I used to commute to school in college on what was actually a too-large mountain bike (sized as if it was a road bike--made it great for my usage) so I know what that was like. I'm not sure I'm wild about going that route, as it might be too slow, and I think I'm pretty set on an internal gearhub. I also am not planning on hauling much other than myself, so a heavy frame really isn't necessary. But I won't rule out an MTB frame, as I know they can take fenders and fat tires, and I am currently without an MTB.
I'm not sure I need more than 3 speeds. My Raleigh with it's stock gearing has been sufficent. Direct drive is about right for flat, overdrive is too short for downhill (which is perfect given the brakes!) and underdrive is ok for gentle slopes. Standing to pedal and walking is fine with me. I'm not sure 5/7/8 speeds is necessary, as I'd rather have something I can stand to pedal regularly (I'm pushing 170lb) and I'd like to keep driveline losses low. I like drop bars but I really don't need them for speeds I'll be riding at (probably 14mph or so on flats), while wide mountain bike bars seem likewise not necessary for road work.
I've thought about finding an old frame, and lacing an AW onto a 700c rim, and building up something... but it seems like a project like would take me through winter. That would be bad timing. Easier to buy something that is pretty close. My Raleigh 3 speed does have some old-looking tires, and it has the old hub spacing, and it has steel rims, and old sidepulls... I'm thinking I might be better leaving that as-is and enjoying it as it is. But a modern version might be ideal.
Most of the miles would be on a local 14mile loop, ridden in the dark, with some occasional day time rides of say 2 hours or so. Lots of standing on hills I suspect; I get a pretty good workout on hills in NH.
Anyhow, just looking for feedback, thoughts, ideas. Thanks.