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  1. #1
    Senior Member Gotte's Avatar
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    Tempted to tour on a 3 speed...

    I'm going to the Black Forest in April, and I'm going to have to fly (my friend can't afford the train). I've got a few bikes, a tourer among them, but I'm tempted to go on my raleigh 3 speed. I read that the Black Foreset used to be a regular cycling destination in the boom years of the turn of the century. ANyone ever toured there on a three speed? Anyone ever toured on a three speed, full stop?
    I'd be interested in any stories, experiences, advice.

  2. #2
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    My mom used tour on a 3-speed in Ireland. I used to ride that bike and it was slick for it's day but so ghastly by modern standards. My dad did the same trip(s) in a single speed. I think it's like a lot of things, I wouldn't give it a thought, if: a) I didn't have to keep up with the Jones' on 30 speeds, could set my own pace, and; b) If I didn't mind walking on steep terrain. In ireland, even when I was a regular during the 60s, 70s, and 80s I mostly saw people on singles or gearhubs and a lot of time they were walking. People cycled in their regular suits back then.

    Just me, but I would feel self-conscious wearing all the modern lycra, cycling shoes and walking up every hill in sight, people expect the modern cyclist not to walk, so I would probably have a wardrobe difference so I didn't feel self-conscious. Of course I suppose a person could run up the hills they couldn't ride.

  3. #3
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1
    I would feel self-conscious wearing all the modern lycra, cycling shoes and walking up every hill in sight....
    Those people are never going to see you again, so why care?

    You can also get baggy bike shorts btw.

  4. #4
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    Or in this case, the folks of the black forest aren't going to see me in the first place, and yet somehow I'm still embarassed about having to walk.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Gotte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1
    Or in this case, the folks of the black forest aren't going to see me in the first place, and yet somehow I'm still embarassed about having to walk.

    I know what you mean about the walking. I had a gear cable break on me last trip out and had to walk up a few hills. Even though it wasn;t my fault, it just felt like...defeat.
    Last edited by Gotte; 02-05-07 at 04:37 PM.

  6. #6
    Slowpoach
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    I guess it depends on how much you are carrying and how steep the terrain is - I like riding fixed (single gear ratio, 72 gear inches) commuting and on day rides, but it kills me on hills, even not carrying too much.

    What sort of gears does the 3-speed give you? If you can ged down into the low 30s I'd say give it a go, as long as the hills aren't too long (walking up short hills is fine, walking 10km pushing a bike sucks).

  7. #7
    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
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    Erick - www.borealphoto.com/velo

  8. #8
    George Krpan
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    Hey, if you're going to go vintage, go vintage. No lycra, natural fabrics only. No clipless pedals, cotton canvas tent. No nylon panniers, wicker baskets. So what if you have to walk some hills. You might have the most fun tour of your life.

  9. #9
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    Here's my opinion.

    Change to a 24T chainring and an 18T cog. The gears you have are very low and you'll ride in 3rd gear all the time as it will be 48 inches.

    48-----------3rd Gear
    36 ---------- 2nd Gear
    27----------- 1st Gear

    First gear is a low 27 inches! That's almost as low as my Jamis Aurora Touring bike!

    I know you give up the high gear but you'll appreciate that low gear once the hills arrive.

  10. #10
    Slowpoach
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    Assuming Steve has the ratios right - 48 to 27 is a ratio of 1.78, which is lowish these days but should be manageable with a light load (gear + rider!).

    48 inches is low for a top gear. Mid- to high-60s is comfortable for me, and my usual 72 is OK on a flat, and I'm not a particularly fast rider.

    (Do you know what cadence you usually ride? If it is 100+ with 120-140 for short periods, then you can probably ignore the above.)

    27 is fine if you are fit, but still hard up a steep hill if you weigh a bit and have a load. You could go higher if the load is light and the hills are short.

    Have you considered asking about gearing in the singlespeed forum?

    I suppose if there is a real need for a wider range you could run a double at the front with close-together chainrings, manually change from high to low if you have a long incline ahead, and use the really long semi-horizontal dropouts on most Sturmey-Archer equipped bikes to adjust the chain tension. I think Rivendell has a fixed gear that does something similar. You will probably have to adjust your brakes each time if you do this - although if the difference in wheel position is small, things usually work out OK.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Gotte's Avatar
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    Thanks for that chaps. Excellent help. Thanks for the gearing advice. I'll look into a change. My cadance isn't particularly high, though I've never measured it. I've been checking out the area we're going, and in places it'd quite hilly, though in other places it's pretty flat - just depends. So I suppose it all does depend on where we choose to go.
    Oh yes, and I agree, no lycra. It would be a crime.

  12. #12
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I do the occasional tour on my 3 speed...and walk up plenty of hills. I look at it as a break in the monotony of riding I love the simplicity of a 3 speed. Last ramble I was on, stopped at a little country store, about 5 minutes later a group of roadies rolls in, they see my 1972 Raleigh Superbe want to guess which bike everybody was clustered around? They could not believe that someone is still riding one of "those". FWIW I ride in relative "normal" clothes. In the warmer months I typically ride in a set of medium length shorts (like Carharts) and a nice cotton shirt, cooler months I wear wool knickers and a jacket I am not in a big hurry to get anywhere. My current gearing is 46.6", 62.2", 82.9" I do plan to drop that a bit more in the near future. I have found as a general rule that people are more apt to talk with you if you don't look like an alien escapee from a shrink wrap factory

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
    _Nicodemus

    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred
    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

  13. #13
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    You can run that three speed with a triple crank. You need to find a narrow cog that will fit the three-speed hub. I removed my stock cog and put it on a metal lathe and thinned the cog teeth and filed them by hand to get the tooth profile correct after machining. I did see another setup like that and the stock cog was thin enough to work properly with 3/32 chain. Just put your narrow chain over it and check to see if it will fit. You will need a clamp on rear derailleur to take up chain slack. Just use the limit screws to lock it in position with the cog. A cheap big box retailer bike derailleur will work fine. I use a 48-38-28 crank with excellent results. Granted, it's not what you would normally find on a "classic" 3-speed bike but you will love the extended range of gearing available.

  14. #14
    Easily distracted...
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    I think touring on a 3 speed sounds like a blast.
    Safe, efficient, and comfortable transportation.

  15. #15
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by n4zou
    You can run that three speed with a triple crank. You need to find a narrow cog that will fit the three-speed hub. I removed my stock cog and put it on a metal lathe and thinned the cog teeth and filed them by hand to get the tooth profile correct after machining. I did see another setup like that and the stock cog was thin enough to work properly with 3/32 chain. Just put your narrow chain over it and check to see if it will fit. You will need a clamp on rear derailleur to take up chain slack. Just use the limit screws to lock it in position with the cog. A cheap big box retailer bike derailleur will work fine. I use a 48-38-28 crank with excellent results. Granted, it's not what you would normally find on a "classic" 3-speed bike but you will love the extended range of gearing available.
    Or you can luck up on one of the old Cyclo conversions(about half way down the page)

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
    _Nicodemus

    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred
    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

  16. #16
    Senior Member Gotte's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input chaps.
    Hey, I'll have to look for one of those converters. They look like a great solution to gearing problems. Trouble is, to tour, I'd need to look for two of them, as my friend would need one, and I wouldn;t like wasting my time at the top of hill waiting for him to climb it .

    Wahoonc, that's a nice looking Raleigh. I've a Raleigh Chiltern, and a really old rod brake Raleigh which has no name. The rod brake Raleigh is pretty unsuitable for touring (It's heavy enough at the best of times, but to add a rack and some panniers, then throw in a steep descent through the Black Forest rain - hmmm, I can hear the sirens already).
    The Raleigh chiltern doesn;t actually weigh that much, and is a delight to ride. It is good and sturdy, though. I like the fact that if a luggage handler tries stamping on it, he's likely to break his foot.

  17. #17
    I am the Eggman Mooo's Avatar
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    Black Forest... Bicycle... hmmm, what comes to mind?
    Oh yeah, Jerome K Jerome: Three Men on the Bummel
    http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/2183
    which opens something like this:
    You won’t think of anything better than a bicycle tour,” persisted Harris.

    I was inclined to agree with him.

    “And I’ll tell you where,” continued he; “through the Black Forest.”

    “Why, that’s all uphill,” said George.
    and further endowed with that immortal exchange:
    I said: “You give up that idea; this is an imperfect world of joy and sorrow mingled. There may be a better land where bicycle saddles are made out of rainbow, stuffed with cloud; in this world the simplest thing is to get used to something hard. There was that saddle you bought in Birmingham; it was divided in the middle, and looked like a pair of kidneys.
    ...
    Every time you went over a stone or a rut it nipped you; it was like riding on an irritable lobster. You rode that for a month.”
    After reading the book, I think that what you propose is more imperative than optional :-)
    Last edited by Mooo; 02-08-07 at 05:44 PM.

  18. #18
    Old enough to know better Spudmeister's Avatar
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    Nothing wrong with the 24" gear

    Quote Originally Posted by Gotte View Post
    I know what you mean about the walking. I had a gear cable break on me last trip out and had to walk up a few hills. Even though it wasn;t my fault, it just felt like...defeat.


    A few years ago I talked myself into riding a 200k brevet on a single speed. In order to complete the ride, I decided I'd walk whenever I felt like it & ended up walking three or four big hills. To date that ride was the quickest 200k I've ridden. It was also the 'freshest' I've ever felt after a ride of that distance. I guess I ought to do it gain sometime.

    Anyway - no shame in walking a couple hills, you might end up saving some strength for later in the ride.

  19. #19
    Walmart bike rider gpsblake's Avatar
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    If the bike is comfortable to ride, day in and day out... you'll be absolutely fine on a 3-speed. Comfort and mental attitude fit are the two most important things by a mile.... **everything** else is secondary.

    Enjoy your trip.

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