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Friday, April 01, 2011

A little Three Speed Ride Recap

Alright!  It's been almost a week, so...

Photos by Timo!
April and I arrived at Coe Circle at just a little after 11.  Early for our own ride?  HA! (Sorry, Dave, for running behind!) There was a small gathering of folks.  The bikes?
  • A few Raleigh  3-speeds (April, Vivian, and myself)
  • A Robin Hood (Raleigh brand) 3-speed (Scott)
  • A "period-correct" Raleigh 5-speed derailleured bike (Emily)
  • Two Dutch 3-speeds, Batavus I believe (Timo and Boulanger)
  • A rare Nishiki 3-speed! (I've seen another 70's Nishiki 3 on Craigslist)
  • Another 3-speed, brand unknown (forget the dude's name)
  • A Brompton 3 "plus" speed (Brian)
  • And the "Friends"--a hybrid (Derek), a Long Haul Trucker (Kangas, whose 3-speed was "in Vancouver", whatever the hell that's supposed to mean) and a beautiful Sweetpea mixte (Esther)

And the ride!  We headed northward to Beaumont, our first break stop, where some folks got supplies at Beaumont Market, coffee from Ristretto, and bagels from Bagel Land.  From there westward along the Alameda Ridge into North Portland, where we saw Carye Bye's house moving work party, and to the gazebo at Peninsula Park for tea drinking/making and snack eating.  And just in time--the rain started just as we got to cover.
We waited until the rain stopped again, then headed further west to the Willamette Bluffs and onto Columbia Park, where we caught cover as it rained again.  Then onto St. Johns--almost.  I got a flat just right before the railroad cut, so as I fixed the flat (using the very European method of patching the tube while the wheel was still on the bike) Todd brewed some more tea.

By then it was late afternoon, over 10 miles from the start, and the momentum gone. Most people turned around, while April, Todd, and myself headed for St Johns where we did a quick fly-by on Weir's Cycles (the city's oldest) where April ogled a turn-of-the-century step-through frame bike.  And then we retired to Proper Eats for beer and vittles.

All in all a fun day!  Thanks everyone who showed up!

More photos from Timo can be seen here.  And the full route of the ride is here.


  1. A 3-speed ride sounds like a fun idea. There are a lot of older three speeds still in service in Manchester, although that isn't surprising when you consider that Raleigh had the UK market completely cornered until the 80s.

    Whenever I do longer rides with my friends on my 3 speed they think I am mad. After a few hours I think they start to see the fact that having only 3 gears doesn't really limit what you can do.

  2. Heh, no worries, at least it was nice out - can't complain about getting some fresh air :) And I was only about 5 minutes from home, so not like I traveled all day to get there :) Glad the ride went well!

    P.S. I'll send scans of the photos as soon as I get them developed, probably early next week.

  3. Mr. C--Yeah, a Three Speed is definitely more doable than people would like to think! I've been riding the Raleigh regularly 10-15 miles and have had no problems.

    The only area that I feel a multi-geared derailleur bike trumps a S-A hub is in touring. Short hills are fine on a Three-Speed. But for long mountain grades of 6%-8% for many miles, I like having the nuance of the derailleur.

    Then again, they are making some pretty fancy hub gears now...

  4. Aww. 3-Speed fun! Wish we had someone here planning these kind of rides.

  5. I am getting a 3-speed movement going in Minneapolis. We have "the nutters" that do the Lake Pepin ride and All-British Cycling Event (ABCE) ride, but they are wrapped in the costumed, tweed ride thingy. That's fine if that's your cup of tea (pun intended), but I prefer to ride my 3-speed in every-day clothes, or knickers.

    Kudo's to you for dusting these off and getting them on the road. After the apocalypse, cock roaches will be riding English 3-speeds through the wastelands, so we might as well get some use out of them before then.


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