As much as I really do enjoy doing refurbishment or restoration work, I also get tired of never having things finished. I'm really looking forward now to actually riding all of my bikes, rather than fiddling with bearings, hubs, spokes, paint, etc.
On that note, I'm announcing a slight change in the direction of the blog. There are three words in the masthead of my blog: "Recycle, Refurbish, Ride!" I've focused a lot on the first two, and now I'd like to focus more on the third, which I think is just as signficant. It's easy when you're working on old bikes to get caught up in what I call the "fetishization" of all of the little bits, while forgetting the actual point of the whole endeavor, which is to RIDE THE BIKE!
I believe it is important to show that refurbished or restored old bikes can and should be ridden, not just polished up, tucked away in a garage, and trotted out for a ride down the block now and again. Old bikes should not just be toys for grownups to play with, they should be real working machines, as they were intended. My task now is going to be to show my old bikes in everyday use: grocery runs, commuting, a jaunt to the post office, a picnic in the park, whatever. I don't have a "modern" bike to ride (the youngest bike we own is my wife's Schwinn Suburban, which is a 1977) so everything I do by bike is done on an old bike.
The point is, you can live a bicycle lifestyle without spending a ton of cash and riding some carbon fiber monstrosity. I've never paid more than $100 for a bicycle (excluding parts), and don't intend to anytime soon. All it takes is a willingness to learn some new skills, the time to invest in the work, and a large dose of patience. What you're left with is not only the gratification of a finished product, but also a perfectly sound, functional bicycle (or five).