I have finished restoring Sophie’s handlebars. The final version has the original narrow drop bars wrapped with black cloth tape. I removed the safety levers from the brakes, and added brown hoods, and lastly, the bar ends are fitted with cork from wine bottles.
I seriously thought about replacing the handlebars with new, wider bars, but gave up on the idea. Wide bars simply do not match the aesthetic of the classic bicycle shape. They would be more comfortable, but new bars would be the beginning of a whole new cockpit since I’d have to get new brake levers as well. With new stem, handlebars, and brake levers, Sophie wouldn’t be the same bike that I rode from San Francisco to Los Angeles when I was in high school, and I really don’t like that idea.
Still, I am glad I tried the wide bar idea out. If I didn’t, I would always be thinking about them in the back of my mind.