I might be slacking on this weblog, but I still ride my bicycle. In fact, I went and adapted it. I found a friendly bike repair shop that had a "north road" style handlebar in stock (the actual name of the product was "tourist", as these are sometimes also called "tourist style handle bars").
It's like having a different bicycle. Totally different ride. Obviously I'm sitting more upright, but changes don't just stop there. It seems to me that I can push harder when riding uphill, it's easier to get up on the pedals. But then it seems to be harder to get the bike rolling from a standstill (e.g. on a red traffic light).
It's much easier to ride in traffic, I have a much better overview of the traffic situation around me (even though my mirror didn't fit and I'll have to find a different style mirror to mount there). I seem to have an easier time to steer around potholes (we have lots of those here in Athens) and "moving obstacles" (pedestrians crossing the road in mid-traffic). When I do hit a pothole, there is a harder hit on the rear wheel, the more "forward" position of the straight handlebar allowed me easier to "get light" over a bump.
I've kept the old, straight handlebar, since I'm not yet 100% sure I'll keep this one on. Aesthetically for one thing, it doesn't really match, neither from the type of bike, nor from the color - it's shiny aluminium, nothing else on the bike is. Not that I care much when I sit on the bike, at that point I don't see it myself. What's more I want to get more used to the riding position before doing a final decision on which one to keep.