Technically, this is a cyclocross bike. One of the local bike shops recommended it as something with a road bike design that would be durable and hold up against the pressures of commuting on not-so-pretty city streets. I traded in the factory tires for a less nubby set that have Kevlar lining (again, for those special city streets and alleys with their cocktail of broken glass, killer potholes, nails, and railroad tracks).
I also swapped the completely horizontal stem for an angled stem to make my riding position a little more upright. This was key to being able to comfortably use my beloved Easy Seat. I gave the traditional bike seat a chance, but after a few painful outings, I was willing to take some extra weight on my hands, wrists, and shoulders in exchange for less pressure on certain delicate areas.
I swapped the regular pedals for the SPD pedals that I had originally put on my hybrid Schwinn.
The refillable air horn — far superior to a bell. For use on naughty drivers. I’ll never forget one of the first times I used it on a car that had just cut me off. I saw the driver jump in her seat — it was awesome!
Not invisible: I carry a front and rear light with me at all times so I’m ready for low light biking situations.
Fenders, ah fenders! I can’t believe I forgot about these. Now I don’t get that special streak up my back when riding on wet/muddy/who-knows-what streets.
I added the rack and panniers a few months ago. The road bike style combined with my large external frame backpack was uncomfortable and unsafe (I couldn’t see anything behind me when I turned my head because the pack was in the way), so I bit the bullet and invested in panniers. I was a little uncertain at first, but now I’m a big fan. The downside is that I lost my light, easy to haul up and down the basement stairs bike (which was a large part of the justification for buying this bike in the first place). The upside is that now every bike ride is a naked bike ride.