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Old 08-28-12, 04:54 AM   #1
westofsouth
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What can't you do on an old 3-speed ?

Nearly 125miles (200km) last Sunday on my 1948 Raleigh Lenton Clubman - including up and over my local hills. Other riders sometimes tell me that I'm 'on the wrong bike' for these long day rides - I don't see it that way...
Obviously, I would'nt want tackle a two week loaded tour, but do you think these classic bikes should only be brought out for special events or 20mile fair-weather rides, or should we use them regularly- and for long rides - like the clubmen of yesteryear?
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Old 08-28-12, 05:13 AM   #2
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more power to you!
It seems you love this bicycle and respect it.

myself use my 3 speed for under 10km rides to the store and back, occasionally a 24 km ride around my lake.-otherwise I use my other vintage road bikes
I have a very nice 60 year old 3 speed in the making.


If I were you I would just make sure you are in perfect tune.
Chain is in prestine condition.
rear hub has been serviced
you may want to try a different size rear cog to fine tune your style of riding,
it takes only 10 minutes to change them.

keep up the fine vintage cycling!
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Old 08-28-12, 05:15 AM   #3
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Your choice. I don't have a Clubman but I routinely ride my Raleigh Superbe or Raleigh Twenty on 40+ mile rides. Heinze Stucke had no problem touring the world on his old 3 speed. I also use my Raleigh Sports for grocery store runs. I live where there are a lot of short steep hills so the 3 speed gearing comes up a bit short sometimes.

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Old 08-28-12, 05:34 AM   #4
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What can't you do on an old 3-speed (or 4-speed)?

I ride my 1950 Norman Rapide which has a 4-speed hub on long rides on a pretty regular basis. You learn to maximize your gears and better your pedaling technique with fewer gears to work with. I've been on club rides with 12 or so people and had no problem keeping up. I wouldn't have it any other way. It's the finest riding bike in my collection and fits like a glove besides.
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Old 08-28-12, 05:53 AM   #5
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I always admire our C&V members who can manage with a 3 speed in places other than pancake flat. I find myself constantly searching for the correct gear. I wish I could make it work, but everytime I try I just get frustrated.

I tip my hat to the IGH riders!
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Old 08-28-12, 06:44 AM   #6
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Yeah, I agree. I've done six centuries (100 to 120 miles) this year riding bikes with old Sturmey Archer hubs, including two on my Lambert with an AW; two on the same Lambert with an S3X; and one each on my RRA and Falcon, both of which have AW's modified to S5.

I've also done a few centuries on derailleur bikes; and I can't say the latter are really any easier. A hundred miles is a long ride no matter what bike you ride. It's just that shifting a 3 or 4 or 5 speed hub is so much easier, and you get more used to varying your cadence. I can see situations where a derailleur system offers advantages; but they don't come into play the way I ride.

Bob, you kinda hit the nail on the head. There is no perfect gear. Stop looking for it. Just pedal and look at the scenery!
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Old 08-28-12, 12:25 PM   #7
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Bob, you kinda hit the nail on the head. There is no perfect gear. Stop looking for it. Just pedal and look at the scenery!
Ding Ding Ding, you are correct sir! With limited gears, the gearing sets the pace and you have to be sensetive enough to allow it to happen, or work like a dog in denial. I'll take a 3spd on the same routes I'll take a derailleur bike, the pace will only be different. If the bikes are an apples-apples comparision.

Quote:
but do you think these classic bikes should only be brought out for special events or 20mile fair-weather rides, or should we use them regularly- and for long rides - like the clubmen of yesteryear?
I say ride like it's yeasteryear.....which means Beer is a mandatory after ride hydration beverage
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Old 08-28-12, 12:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by westofsouth View Post
Nearly 125miles (200km) last Sunday on my 1948 Raleigh Lenton Clubman - including up and over my local hills. Other riders sometimes tell me that I'm 'on the wrong bike' for these long day rides - I don't see it that way...
Obviously, I would'nt want tackle a two week loaded tour, but do you think these classic bikes should only be brought out for special events or 20mile fair-weather rides, or should we use them regularly- and for long rides - like the clubmen of yesteryear?
I say, pull the thing out and ride it when and where you feel like it. If it floats your boat, what does it matter if it doesn't float mine? If we were riding together, you on your Lenton and me on one of my derailleur-driven steeds, I bet we would have a great time together. And isn't that the point?
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Old 08-28-12, 02:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by westofsouth View Post
Nearly 125miles (200km) last Sunday on my 1948 Raleigh Lenton Clubman - including up and over my local hills. Other riders sometimes tell me that I'm 'on the wrong bike' for these long day rides - I don't see it that way...
Obviously, I would'nt want tackle a two week loaded tour, but do you think these classic bikes should only be brought out for special events or 20mile fair-weather rides, or should we use them regularly- and for long rides - like the clubmen of yesteryear?
Congrats!!!! Got any pic of that lenton? I just bought a 1948 raleigh and I`m trying to get to know those years models!
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Old 08-28-12, 03:05 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by westofsouth View Post
Nearly 125miles (200km) last Sunday on my 1948 Raleigh Lenton Clubman - including up and over my local hills. Other riders sometimes tell me that I'm 'on the wrong bike' for these long day rides - I don't see it that way...
Obviously, I would'nt want tackle a two week loaded tour, but do you think these classic bikes should only be brought out for special events or 20mile fair-weather rides, or should we use them regularly- and for long rides - like the clubmen of yesteryear?
You sound like a candidate for riding the Lake Pepin 3-speed Tour.
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Old 08-28-12, 03:32 PM   #11
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You sound like a candidate for riding the Lake Pepin 3-speed Tour.
Nah, sounds like he rides too fast.
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Old 08-28-12, 05:40 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post

Bob, you kinda hit the nail on the head. There is no perfect gear. Stop looking for it. Just pedal and look at the scenery!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Velognome View Post
Ding Ding Ding, you are correct sir! With limited gears, the gearing sets the pace and you have to be sensetive enough to allow it to happen, or work like a dog in denial. I'll take a 3spd on the same routes I'll take a derailleur bike, the pace will only be different. If the bikes are an apples-apples comparision.
You guys have to be right. I need to just pull out my 4 speed '39 New World Schwinn and ride it more. Who cares if I have to walk up the occasional hill.
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Old 08-28-12, 07:26 PM   #13
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You guys have to be right. I need to just pull out my 4 speed '39 New World Schwinn and ride it more. Who cares if I have to walk up the occasional hill.
I have two well known hills that I walk...thank God there is a pub at the top of BOTH of them.

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Old 08-28-12, 10:16 PM   #14
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My goal was to ride Lake Peppin this year, as I understand it thats roughly 85mi. Well this year didn't happen (due to not having a completed steed). However next year we'll give the gov'na a good thumping! Eh what?
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Old 08-31-12, 02:10 AM   #15
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Congrats!!!! Got any pic of that lenton? I just bought a 1948 raleigh and I`m trying to get to know those years models!
This is what it should look like -
http://sheldonbrown.com/retroraleigh...ton-clubb.html

Mine was a shed find and has now had a quick paint job, upright North Road 'bars fitted and a mem-foam saddle. By no means original but good for 100miles+
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Old 08-31-12, 02:29 AM   #16
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Nothing, really. Many stories of old timers here in Europe of how they toured the continent on threespeeds in times when the economic reality dictated that one bike was all a solid middleclass kid could afford. You can cross the pyrenees on one, it has been done many times. It just takes longer then on a modern bike. Lately an elderly couple repeated that mountain crossing feat on a modern, albeit based on the old geometry and parts, bike in a sentimental re-living of the trips they used to make when they were younger.
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Old 08-31-12, 03:36 PM   #17
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I wouldn't expect many race wins on a 3-speed (unless the rest of the field was, too). But yeah, pretty much anything else.
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Old 08-31-12, 04:01 PM   #18
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Ding Ding Ding, you are correct sir! With limited gears, the gearing sets the pace and you have to be sensetive enough to allow it to happen, or work like a dog in denial. I'll take a 3spd on the same routes I'll take a derailleur bike, the pace will only be different. If the bikes are an apples-apples comparision.
It seems that you and rhm are saying different things. I think when rhm isn't in "the right gear" he either pedals faster or harder. This isn't easy for all of us. I do what I think you say you do. When I am pedaling too hard (because I'm going uphill), I shift down. And the shift is too far down to keep my cadence, so I slow down. This slows my travel speed down more than on my derailleur bike. So as for what I can't do on a 3-speed, I don't think I could keep up with my friends.

But maybe the problem isn't the transmission, it's the bike. It's my heaviest bike by far. Maybe I'd enjoy a lightweight 3-speed. I'm not sure I could do a century on a 3-speed, even on Long Island. But maybe I should try it, just to find out.
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Old 08-31-12, 05:59 PM   #19
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I'm not sure, but I think Tom is or more right than wrong.

As I said, I've ridden several centuries on three speed bikes this year, and about as many on bikes with derailleurs. And on most of these I've been riding with at least one other cyclist. It seems a cyclist with all the gears a 12-speed derailleur bike offers, and one with a 3-speed, are able to ride together without much inconvenience to one another.

The only challenge is that I had to vary my cadence. That is all there is to it. In other words, sometimes you have to pedal faster, in order to keep up with the other rider. Other times, you have to pedal harder at a lower cadence than you'd like, in order to get up a hill. But the level of energy expended, whether to maintain 22 mph on a flat road with a gentle tail wind for ten miles, or to hammer up a hill at 8 mph, is going to be more or less the same regardless of what gearing your bike has.

I have no doubt an advanced derailleur system that offers a wide range of closely spaced gears will give a competitive cyclist a slight advantage over a primitive three speed system. You won't see someone winning the tour de france on a three speed. But to a cyclist at my level, well, it really doesn't matter much.

Except that the simper system-- and a three speed hub is delightfully simple-- allows me to appreciate a bit more of the beautiful world around me and forget about the bike under me. I like that.
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Old 08-31-12, 06:47 PM   #20
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I do love the AW hub. You got me curious to give it yet another try. But I consider you a better cyclist than I, and I think it's easier for you to change your cadence than for me. Changing my cadence more than X% requires me to spend more energy, making it harder to keep up with you.

But I'm game to try it on a flat ride. There's a lot of pleasure in shifting the hub. I also like the ticking while pedaling. And the shifting while coasting or stopped.
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