We all know the feeling of outgrowing our bikes, or watching our kids outgrow their training wheels. Buying a new bike is still a special enough moment that we all remember our first bike. Perhaps we all remember when we first learned how to ride a bike. Most of you reading this probably have a bike. I have 2, that I use, and a third that I use as a wall decoration.
Some bikes, even if they retire in working conditions, can become too special to keep using. Sentimental value bikes and collectable or vintage bikes are two examples. My third bike was my fathers first road bike - too big for me to use, but too beautiful to get rid of. Its a 1972 Fuji sports 10 gear roadster, bought in Pennsylvania. Its barely used, and the orange frame and chrome drop handle bars suit perfectly as decoration on my basement wall.
Other bikes die, and become too difficult or expensive to repair. Chains rust, bike spokes get damaged and frames get bent, but the aesthetic value of some bikes means its still worth keeping them around. Turning them into sign holders and flower pots are just two great ways to recycle them.
If a bike has become ugly and useless, painting it is a possibility. It a bike is useful but simply not beautiful, taking it to festivals like Burning Man and riding them to their grave is another wonderful way to retire a bike. The duststorms alone are hard for even the cyclists to survive!