The following comes from a reader and group administrator for the 3-Speed Bicycle Lovers Group on Flickr. He wrote me a few weeks ago after I posted a photo of my bike to his group, and I've been meaning to post part of his email here ever since. "Hank" does an excellent job of expressing the utility and simplicity of these bikes:
"Old 3-speed bikes are built like tanks, and the Sturmey
Archer hub is a nearly infallible gearing mechanism. In
Boston where I live you see a lot of these bikes still
running. Dealers in town can easily sell one of these bikes
in good shape for as much as $200 to $300. I'd rather find
one for cheap - it's not too hard!
In my opinion an old 3-speed is the perfect everyday bike
for riding through the city. When I have a passenger side
mirror to my left and a row of parked cars to the right,
the narrowness of the North Road handlebars have enabled me
to squeeze between them, which is something you could never
do with a mountain bike or a cruiser. Also if need be, I
can switch gears when I'm at a complete stop. If I get
caught in the rain the fender keeps my back dry. They are
comfortable too as I am in an upright position when I'm
riding. Maintenance is fairly simple as well. Enough of my
ranting and raving...
Good luck with your bike. I hope to see more photos when
you're done fixing it up. May it bring you years of good
use! Thanks again."
Hank, thank you! More thoughts and postings on old bikes to come, and of course, more updates on my progress.