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Old 09-12-06, 09:41 AM   #1
Mooo
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Three speed ambitions - for next year?

One of my "big" rides this year was a metric on a hub geared Dahon. It was a hot day, and I stopped lots. Lots and lots, at least by comparison to my usual bike (recumbent).
I also enjoyed the ride lots. Lots and lots. I rode to a county fair, walked around for a while, rode over to a car show 10-15 miles away, walked around for a while... you get the idea. With the folder I most certainly wasn't in a hurry, and the whole trip was much more a journey than many of my longer rides on the 'bent (can't stop. must rush. Uh-oh, average speed slipping, must. work. harder).

And this gives me furiously to think. Why not plan to do a full 100 on a vintage 3 speed? I'm sure some nutter has done Paris-Brest-Paris on one, and I've looked over 3speedtour.com

I'm still fit enough that I'm pretty sure an unsagged solo 5.5hr century would be realizable, but... it seems so pointless. Almost unsporting. More and more, I find myself intrigued by the possibility of taking an old bike, and riding it from dawn until dinner time on a mix of pavement and gravel roads, walking up steeper hills if need be. Like cycling might have been in 50 - 100 years ago. And while I say 100 miles, I'm not sure it matters, so long as the distance is long enough to be a challenge and the ride takes most of the day.

Anyone else similarly compelled, or am I a cotter short of a full crankset?
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Old 09-12-06, 10:01 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Mooo
Anyone else similarly compelled, or am I a cotter short of a full crankset?
I have never done a century, but I expect to next year. And late next year, I have been toying with the idea of riding an organized century on my 1955 Schwinn Corvette 3 speed (once I whip it into shape this winter).

There are a couple of rides in my area that would seem to lend themselves to such a ride, one is this weekend The Three Creeks century in the Harrisburg Area, and in mid-October, the Bucks County Covered Bridges Metric Century...
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Old 09-12-06, 11:42 AM   #3
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I've been thinking about something similar though I would likely use my 4-speed (a Sturmey Archer FW) geared bike as it has a low gear that would help on the steep hills. Otherwise, it's just a matter of mashing out the miles. I've ridden a few centuries and found that it wasn't a matter of gears (though I was on a 14-speed road bike!) as much as level of fitness going in and replacing calories while riding. Staying comfortable after so many hours on the saddle might be the biggest challenge.

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Old 09-12-06, 11:56 AM   #4
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Why not? I've done it - admittedly 30 years ago. I rode the 1976 Tour of the Scioto River Valley on a Raleigh 20. In a shirt, sport jacket, jeans, bow tie and bowler hat - while smoking a pipe most of the way. For those unfamiliar with TOSRV, it's 210 miles in two days, or at least it was back then.

I'd done it on a regular road bike the previous three years, figured I'd try something different.

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Old 09-12-06, 12:16 PM   #5
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What's that quote about stopping to smell the roses along the way I would much rather ramble/amble than go for the "gotta get there in x amount of time" I am in the process of building up a copy of the old British Club Racer. Mine will be with the AW hub because that is what I have, it also gets a dyno hub, because I have a tendency to lose track of time I say go for it. I do day long rambles on my Raleigh Compact RSW, never know what you will run across. To me life is to be enjoyed and savored not rushed thru checking off the little boxes.

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Old 09-12-06, 03:03 PM   #6
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I like your concept. I had been thinking about doing an organized half century this summer on an internal geared bike (like nlerner, I favor the FW) but scheduling conflicts have resulted in it remaining a thought rather than a reality. As the organized events passed, I started thinking (like you), why not just do it myself. My point is not to prove anything to anyone else; it’s just to enjoy the ride.

For a reason that I can’t really explain, as the weather turns cool (frosts the past two nights) my focus turns toward my mountain bike, so the ambling 100 will most likely wait until next summer.

Along the lines of wahoonc’s project, my intended mount is a late 1940’s Schwinn Continental equipped with the aforementioned FW, built up ‘Clubman” style. Since the picture, I've added Bluemels (you never know when it's going to rain).

Regards,
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Old 09-12-06, 03:09 PM   #7
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I rebuilt my flooded Raleigh Lenton as a three-speed using an AW hub. It was a lot of fun -- until it went down in a crash. (Long story.) Anyway, I will put it back on the road as a three-speed.
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Old 09-12-06, 04:38 PM   #8
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Not a great, regal old Raliegh or the like but
the Breezer 3 speed city bike deserves a mention for
keeping the spirit alive. Very nice.
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Old 09-13-06, 08:41 AM   #9
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I found a 1969 Raleigh 3 speed this summer specifically to ride on next spring's 3 speed tour which you referenced in your post. I love the ride, compared to my Trek 412 the ride is incredibly comfortable, mainly due to the huge tires. I've got a bit of tweaking to do on the bike before I take it out on a longer ride, but the idea of day-long rides in the country is quite appealing. I pulled into a coffee shop on my first ride and a customer looks at my bike and says, "Wow, is that an original?" I think the bike is perfect for a day in the country, ride a bit - stop for coffee, ride a bit more - stop for lunch... As far as riding a century, maybe someday.
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Old 09-13-06, 09:45 AM   #10
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I'm very interested in internally geared hubs. I rode the wheels off my Schwinn 3-speed back in the 60's and 70's. In fact, I'm in the process of building up a Fuji Royale with a Shimano Nexus 8. I've been collecting parts for a few weeks (tip o'the helmet to Little Darwin for the Dia-Compe brakes). The hub laced into a 700c wheel should arrive by Tuesday from Harris. I'll make sure to take some pictures and post them when I finish.

I've never done a century either but I'm sure planning on one for next year. I think the idea of doing an all day ride on an old 3-speed is great. BTW, there's the All British Cycle thing going on here in Minnesota this weekend http://abcetour.com/ which includes some 3-speed touring. There's even a cycle jumble (swap meet) on Sunday.
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Old 09-13-06, 09:57 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by reverborama
BTW, there's the All British Cycle thing going on here in Minnesota this weekend http://abcetour.com/ which includes some 3-speed touring. There's even a cycle jumble (swap meet) on Sunday.
And I am going to be there! All the way from SC...taking some vacation time and using it wisely

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Old 09-13-06, 10:25 AM   #12
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There's nothing wrong with taking your vintage 3-speed out for an excursion. I've done it. Not a century, but a good long day trip or two. A couple of metrics and a few shorter rides. You cause me to think about a full 100 miles. Those bikes are the most comfortable rides I know of. The one in this link inspired me to convert an old rigid mtb and a tour bike into a sort of 3-speed on steroids. That is, same handlebars ( but 2" wider ) and Brooks saddles. It's a 1964 Mercury Courier that I cleaned up and now it just won't get rid of me.
http://i5.tinypic.com/2it68pj.jpg
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Old 09-13-06, 03:26 PM   #13
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That Mercury looks like one sweet ride.

Once you back off the pace a little, these bikes are fine for longer days. I just rebuilt a 3 speed 1950 Norman together that was used extensively for touring in the 50s and early 60s. This was with an 18t rear cog and lots of pushing up hills. Much easier with a 22t.

I also prefer the FWs or S5s. The 4 speeds are cleaner with only one shifter and cable. But the 5 speeds are much less finicky, and parts are easy to find.

If anyone coming to this weekend's ABCE knows of any smaller guys who might want a 3 speed, I've got a rare 19" Men's Frame 1958 Robin Hood that I'd like to get $30 for. Needs work but the frame is good. Call me at 612-824-2372 if you are interested. I have fenders and chainguard for it. And I'll throw in a very low mileage womans frame, Raleigh built, 1965 Huffy for parts.

BTW I'll be bringing cotter pin presses and 22t cogs to the swap meet.
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Old 09-13-06, 05:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reverborama
I'm very interested in internally geared hubs. I rode the wheels off my Schwinn 3-speed back in the 60's and 70's. In fact, I'm in the process of building up a Fuji Royale with a Shimano Nexus 8. I've been collecting parts for a few weeks (tip o'the helmet to Little Darwin for the Dia-Compe brakes). The hub laced into a 700c wheel should arrive by Tuesday from Harris. I'll make sure to take some pictures and post them when I finish.

I've never done a century either but I'm sure planning on one for next year. I think the idea of doing an all day ride on an old 3-speed is great. BTW, there's the All British Cycle thing going on here in Minnesota this weekend http://abcetour.com/ which includes some 3-speed touring. There's even a cycle jumble (swap meet) on Sunday.
don't forget the Lake Pepin ride!
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Old 09-13-06, 05:24 PM   #15
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To do one of those rides, I need to travel, and find an English 3 speed... My 1956 Schwinn with an English SA hub doesn't fit the bill...
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Old 09-13-06, 06:25 PM   #16
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To do one of those rides, I need to travel, and find an English 3 speed... My 1956 Schwinn with an English SA hub doesn't fit the bill...
You can do the Lake Pepin ride on a Schwinn 3-speed.
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Old 09-13-06, 06:45 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MnHPVA Guy
If anyone coming to this weekend's ABCE knows of any smaller guys who might want a 3 speed, I've got a rare 19" Men's Frame 1958 Robin Hood that I'd like to get $30 for. Needs work but the frame is good. Call me at 612-824-2372 if you are interested. I have fenders and chainguard for it. And I'll throw in a very low mileage womans frame, Raleigh built, 1965 Huffy for parts.

BTW I'll be bringing cotter pin presses and 22t cogs to the swap meet.
Not my size...I need a 23" minimum, really need a 25" but I don't think they ever made them.

Aaron
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Old 09-13-06, 06:55 PM   #18
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I was at the Lake Pepin Ride this year, 2nd time I went. It was a great event and the people on it are very friendly. Being from Winnipeg Manitoba it is hard to find anyone willing to do the ride because of the 8 hours plus drive to get there. I would recomend it to anyone interested in 3 speeds. I am also going to the ABCE this weekend. I will be there Fri evening. I have 2 bikes that I will bring and ride. 1 is a 3 speed, the other a coaster bike. 3 speed bikes are great to ride and are almost unbreakable. If you take good care of a Sturmey Archer hub it will last a long time. Here is a link to a web site about a guy who did a 1200 mile ride on a Sturmey 3 speed in something like 4 days. http://www.mile43.com/peterson/VanPi...eVagabond.html
My plans for next year is a century on one of my 3 speed bikes.
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Old 09-13-06, 07:09 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MnHPVA Guy
That Mercury looks like one sweet ride.

Once you back off the pace a little, these bikes are fine for longer days. I just rebuilt a 3 speed 1950 Norman together that was used extensively for touring in the 50s and early 60s. This was with an 18t rear cog and lots of pushing up hills. Much easier with a 22t.

and 22t cogs to the swap meet.
This brings up a question I've wondered about...
First, am I right in thinking that the direct drive for a hub gear puts less stress on the internals. I've put a 4 speed Nexus on an old Collegiate, and it's an over drive (1st gear is direct, all others are OD). It seems like you ought to generate less heat climbing a hill this way. Is this about right?

Both of the MN events look pretty great. The website for the 3 speed tour is just outstanding, IMO. Sadly both of them occur during the school year, which kind of removes them from what we can do.

However... our community hosts a Scottish Festival every year (last weekend as a matter of fact), and that seems a natural for a similar event/ride. We'll see.
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Old 09-13-06, 07:38 PM   #20
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I was at the Lake Pepin Ride this year, 2nd time I went. It was a great event and the people on it are very friendly. Being from Winnipeg Manitoba it is hard to find anyone willing to do the ride because of the 8 hours plus drive to get there. I would recomend it to anyone interested in 3 speeds. I am also going to the ABCE this weekend. I will be there Fri evening. I have 2 bikes that I will bring and ride. 1 is a 3 speed, the other a coaster bike. 3 speed bikes are great to ride and are almost unbreakable. If you take good care of a Sturmey Archer hub it will last a long time. Here is a link to a web site about a guy who did a 1200 mile ride on a Sturmey 3 speed in something like 4 days. http://www.mile43.com/peterson/VanPi...eVagabond.html
My plans for next year is a century on one of my 3 speed bikes.
oldy57...see ya there, we are flying in Thursday night...the organizer was kind of enough to find a couple of bikes for us to use. I am already making long range plans for the Lake Pepin tour. Where I live most of what I see riding on the roads are posseurs. And English 3spds are a rarity.

Aaron
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Old 09-13-06, 09:41 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by wahoonc
Not my size...I need a 23" minimum, really need a 25" but I don't think they ever made them.

Aaron
DL1s are fairly common in 24" frames, and with 28" wheels, you're way off of the ground. I have a single-speed variant, but the 3-speeds aren't uncommon. The rod brakes would surely be a topic of conversation during that century ride.

Neal
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Old 09-13-06, 10:16 PM   #22
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I did the Frozen Snot ride from Chicago to Milwaukee and back on a Schwinn Racer. It was a great time.

Remember that people were doing centuries (and much tougher rides) WAY before they were making bikes out of carbon fiber.
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Old 09-13-06, 10:52 PM   #23
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[ And while I say 100 miles, I'm not sure it matters, so long as the distance is long enough to be a challenge and the ride takes most of the day.

Anyone else similarly compelled, or am I a cotter short of a full crankset?[/QUOTE]


I say go for it. Your ride reminds me of my youth. As a young teen (12 or 13 yrs. old) I did several 25's and a 50 mile ride as requirment for a Bicycling Merit Badge for the Boy Scouts of America. I did it on an early sixty's Columbia single speed Coaster Brake. Judged the mileage from my dad's road map. Thought nothing of it at the time. Gosh, I wish I had that old bike now...what a tank. Rode that baby year-round, and speed and mileage was never an issue. Other than while I was working towards the merit badge, it was always about the adventure.
I'm glad I read your post. I need to put the fun back into my rides and stop fretting over distance and time so much. Maybe we all do ?!?!

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Old 09-14-06, 03:38 AM   #24
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I did the Frozen Snot ride from Chicago to Milwaukee and back on a Schwinn Racer. It was a great time.

Remember that people were doing centuries (and much tougher rides) WAY before they were making bikes out of carbon fiber.
Yeah! That's part of the point, I think.
There's an badge program associated with sailplanes. While there are some other requirements, in a nutshell, to get a silver you need a 50km flight, 300km for gold, and 500km for diamond. These were set up in the 1930's, and it always bothered me to see someone buy a really high performance modern sailplane, fly the courses, then boast about it. It just isn't sporting.

And that's part of the appeal here. People started riding centuries a little over 100 years ago, on a bike not terribly different from an electroforged Schwinn or classic Raleigh. With a modern bike it's no big deal. This seems sporting.
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Old 09-14-06, 07:24 AM   #25
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People started riding centuries a little over 100 years ago, on a bike not terribly different from an electroforged Schwinn or classic Raleigh.
Not to mention that the roads were not necessarily paved.

Regards,
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