As a kid on a bmx bike, i never had a handbrake - only a coaster brake period. We skid all over the place on our bikes and the coaster brake never just stopped working. I agree that bike should be left alone.
With 78 gear inches I could spin that bike up to about 30 mph...
A coaster brake isn't gonna provide enough braking or control at that kind of speed.
Maybe you could (no disrespect meant), but if his wife is just using it for slower cruises around town, I think a coaster brake is plenty safe. So yeah, if she plans on flying down hills and sprinting around the neighborhood on her townie, I'd say forget the lines and add the brake.
Townie Bike= A bike for cruising around the town. Not for racing, not for single track, not for touring, not for centuries. A bike where comfort and utility are key features. A bike ridden upright, often with porteur style bars, because comfort and a nice view of the world around you are more important than speed. A bike one wouldn't be ashamed to mount a sprung leather saddle on. I bike that, while it may be light, doesn't need you to count grams. I like that my townie handles like a track bike when I want it to, but still feels just like the Rudge I road as a kid and restored after college. Upright bars, sprung saddle, a head looking around at the world as opposed to down at the pavement. In the end it is as simple as this. A townie bike should please the inner paper boy in you.
Personally i'm going with no springs, but still an antique saddle none the less. My wheels are track , my bike is light, and yet it rides upright. My townie is brakeless and will remain that way until I'm satisifed with a brake lever for my chopped cruiser bars. I don't do "beater" and I always keep my bikes clean. My townie is an alternative ride to my IRO track bike, while still having track elements and quality parts. Its a way to have fenders and still be cool for those rainy days.. As far as baskets go, i want this: http://www.antbikemike.com/images/Ba...ybasketbig.jpg from antbikes.