Join Date: May 2002
Location: Clermont County, Ohio
Bikes: Electra Townie 21D, Fuji Saratoga 1.0
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It's simple and not too expensive to swap out shifters. You probably would like something like the Shimano Deore rapid fire shifters. You, or your LBS, can order in those shifters and install them on your current ride. You can price them at Nashbar to get an idea of cost.
As for the chain, your derailleur or cables could need an adjustment. These are simple to do. Again, have your LBS service your current ride. Cables do stretch over mileage of use and derailleurs need routine adjustment.
Doing these things are not expensive at all and easy to achieve.