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  1. #1
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    Cycling from London to Ireland on a 3 Speed Commuter?

    New to Cycle Touring and I have some time off work so was thinking of riding over to visit some friends in Westport Ireland from London. According to Google its about 900km from London.

    Currently I have 2 bikes which are both 3 speed Internal hub bikes more geared to Commuting

    1- A Globe Daily 1 3spd (Shimano 3 speed hub)
    http://www.specialized.com/gb/gb/bik...daily/daily1uk

    2- A Non-Folding version of the Dawes KingPin 3Spd (Sturmey-Archer 3 speed hub):
    http://raleightwenty.webs.com/thedaweskingpin.htm

    I don't really want to buy a new bike at this point as I have limited storage space and funds at the moment - and I'm not sure I"m into this cycle touring thing. But I guess If I'm paying for accommodation along the way - a faster bike means less nights accomodation.

    Would it be crazy to just stick a back rack + Panniers on the Globe Daily 1 and ride to Ireland? (and back - I guess I could take some trains back)

    I guess it would take quite a while to get there (10 days each way?). Do people usually just camp on the way? I thought I'd stay in hostels / hotels maybe. Is it legal/safe to just camp along the road in the UK & Ireland?

    I've done some 50 km day rides on the Globe Daily 1 in the Netherlands. It was ok.

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Of course, you need to cross the Irish Sea.. 1st..

    Some times you just have to get off and Push.. UK seemed to call non motor bikes "push bikes".for a reason...

    enjoy the Trip.

  3. #3
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    Ha. Yes I was thinking either the Holyhead - Dublin or Pembroke - Rosslare ferry for the water leg.

    But would it be fine doing such a long ride on that bike? What speed do you usually maintain when Touring?

  4. #4
    Senior Member adventurepdx's Avatar
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    No, I don't think it's a crazy idea. Many, many people criss-crossed the British Isles "back in the day" touring on three speeds. Yeah, it's not common now, but if it's what you got, go for it.

    Taking the Globe would most likely be the better choice of the two, not only because of better load-carrying options, but also because it uses standard 700C wheels, which tires and tubes are more readily available. The Dawes looks likes it takes 500A wheels (ERTO 440) which are pretty rare, so hard to find on the road if you need them. Of course if your tires are in good shape before you go and take an appropriate amount of spare tubes (and maybe a spare tire if you don't want to risk it), you should be good. I think the biggest factor in choosing the bike is: what fits best and feels most comfortable for riding long distances?

    A three speed is not going to offer the range of gears as a bigger internal gear hub nor a derailleur, and you'll never get a really low gear for steep climbs. (As fietsbob said, you can always get off and walk.) But one thing to do is get a larger cog in the rear, giving you lower gearing. The Globe looks like it comes stock with an 18 tooth rear cog, with a 42 tooth chainring which would give a low gear of about 45 gear-inches, which isn't a lot. (My touring bike's lowest gear is under 20 gear-inches.) Increasing the rear cog to 20 teeth would bring the lowest gear down to 41 gear-inches, and a 22 tooth rear cog would bring it down to 37, much better. Check out Sheldon Brown's gear calculator: http://sheldonbrown.com/gears/
    And also worth perusing is Sheldon Brown's info/advice about three speeds (start there and then use the links to find out more):
    http://sheldonbrown.com/english-3.html

    Ten days of 900 km is doable at about 100 km a day. Start of small first if you can. Looks like you've done 50km on the Globe, so you know how comfortable it is in riding a distance. But how much of a load did you have on the bike? If you can, try riding that 50km with what you'd carry on your tour to test out the feel and capabilities of the bike.

    It would probably be best to go the hostels/hotels route to keep the load low. You should also check out Warmshowers.
    http://www.warmshowers.org/

    Can't really answer about policies and legalities of free camping in the UK and Ireland.

    Good luck!
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  5. #5
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I have toured on a 3 speed. I use a 1972 Raleigh Superbe. I did lower the gears by switching in a 22t cog in the rear. I also carried a spare 18t cog for flat lands and tailwinds, used it maybe once. Yes I walk up hills. Read up on Heinze Stucke and his three speed tours. Your daily mileage is going to depend on you, my max on the three speed is 40-60 miles a day depending on road conditions, how interested I am in riding that day and weather. One thing I have done is set a goal for a certain number of hours in the saddle rather than miles.

    Aaron
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  6. #6
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    Back in the 70s I toured some in England and Scotland on a pre-WWII Raleigh 3 speed -- it was heavy, had rod brakes (no cables), and a fully enclosed chain. I stayed at hostels and that meant all I needed was a set of small rear panniers to carry clothes and spare tube and the odd tool. Yes, I had to push the bike up some hills, but it was fun riding down the other side, and there were tons of excellent quiet roads to ride on. That old bike was what I had at the time so it is what I used, and even though it was heavy and even though I was (and am) no athlete, I still could make 40-50 miles a day without pushing very hard, and that included plenty of stops and usually at least one extended break at a pub.

    The Globe looks way better than what I rode -- it's lighter, has better brakes, and skinnier tires, so it would be a speedier bike than my old beast.

    So I would say, go for it. And if you can't make the distance you want, in the end there are lots of transportation options to bail you out, such as the train.

    I do agree that it would be nice to get a bigger cog in the back -- I'd say get the biggest that will fit, because a lower low is more important than a higher high gear.

  7. #7
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    Can anyone quantify the sort of disadvantages in cycling on the Globe 3 speed compared with a modern Touring Bike.

    i.e how many kms less per day would one be riding for the same amount of "effort" ?

    Does it equate to a lower average speed for the same amount of effort?

    I was thinking that perhaps I should do a trial ride to Gloucester via Oxford first - I have a friend out there I could visit. and its only 200km

    maybe stop a night in Oxford on the way.

  8. #8
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Irish Writer Dervla Murphy rode a single speed [for reliability] from Ireland to India through the Khyber pass.

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    My dad was from belfast and he toured with my mother in Ireland, he on a single speed, and she on a 3 speed. She had rear panniers. That would have been around 1955

    In this short of the same time some are using 10 speeds already, but there are many 3 speeds also.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyz5d3entBw

    Basically you won't have any problem so long as you aren't self-conscious about the possibility of being the only one walking when others are riding, or if you pick up some friends along the way, being unable to keep up.

  10. #10
    Senior Member kjmillig's Avatar
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    I don't know much about internally geared hubs, but I still think that you're best off taking a boat across the water.
    "Pain is weakness leaving the body"......yea, right!

  11. #11
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    lukeC, I rode a S-A 3 speed bike all over Connecticut. Nothing on that bike suggested 'tourer' in the modern sense. I walked up some hills and I rode down some that I shouldn't have...a great time!

    Load up the Globe and have fun.

    Brad

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    Quote Originally Posted by MassiveD View Post
    My dad was from belfast and he toured with my mother in Ireland, he on a single speed, and she on a 3 speed. She had rear panniers. That would have been around 1955

    In this short of the same time some are using 10 speeds already, but there are many 3 speeds also.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyz5d3entBw

    Basically you won't have any problem so long as you aren't self-conscious about the possibility of being the only one walking when others are riding, or if you pick up some friends along the way, being unable to keep up.
    Every time I see that video, I'm amazed at how supportive railroad used to be for cyclists. Constructing a special car just to hold multiple bicycles is incredible by todays standards. Imagine, a railroad that actually cators to bicycling groups. Railroads today would never do something like that in 2013.

    Since that video was back in 1955, everyone must be over 80 years old today. I wonder if anyone is still alive.

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    Its hard to put numbers to your problem. You can ride on a 3 speed and it has been done before. You will do best if you travel light, without camping gear. I generally rate my travelling speed at 10mph whatever the bike and load combination.

    This time of year, your main problem is lack of daylight. You have to be on the road by 7:00 and stop by about 4:00. Navigating strange country roads in the dark is not much fun.
    Winter camping in the UK is quite difficult. Typical lowland commercial campsites are mostly closed, upland areas are very cold, wet and windy. The ground is very wet and nothing dries. You need to carry a lot more clothing and heavier duty sleeping bag etc.
    Hostels are more common in Ireland than UK but YHA hostels should be available most of the way to the ferry. Using trains for part of the way is a good measure and a useful and safe bugout route.

  14. #14
    Senior Member adventurepdx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lukeC View Post
    Can anyone quantify the sort of disadvantages in cycling on the Globe 3 speed compared with a modern Touring Bike(?) i.e how many kms less per day would one be riding for the same amount of "effort" ? Does it equate to a lower average speed for the same amount of effort? I was thinking that perhaps I should do a trial ride to Gloucester via Oxford first - I have a friend out there I could visit. and its only 200km
    maybe stop a night in Oxford on the way.
    As MichaelW points out, it's really hard to put numbers to your questions. The Globe looks to be a pretty standard modern bike with braze-ons for racks and decent frame geometry. The weight of 30 lbs (14 kg) is pretty much par for the course.

    The big differences are going to be the lack of gear choices, and lack of a really low gear. As I pointed out in my last post you can put a larger cog on your rear wheel to lower the gears, which will give you a low of about 37 gear-inches. My Long Haul Truckers low is about 19. This means I'm able to pedal (albeit slowly) up steep inclines (6-10%) with a full load. You may be walking the bike at those grades, depending on how much you've loaded it.

    And my Long Haul Trucker has 21 gear choices to pick out, while your three speed has, well, three. This means you might not always be pedaling in the "right", or most efficient gear, and either have to settle for an easier gear and spin faster or a harder gear and mash pedals. On paper this looks to be a bigger problem than it is, as your body will get used to it, at least in shorter distances. On longer distances, well, that's something you're only going to know after trying. The big advantage to the three speed is its simplicity: when I ride the LHT I'm constantly shifting gears, downshifting at a stop, etc. With my three speed, I shift a hell of a lot less, only when I really need it, like when the hill is big enough or I'm on a flat and want to really get going.

    Yes, I would recommend giving your Globe a test run. Load up the bike the way you would for the "real" tour, ride 100k or so, and see how you feel and how the bike handles. Only then will you really know if it works and what kind of distance you can pull off.
    http://urbanadventureleague.blogspot.com/ http://societyofthreespeeds.wordpress.com/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/urbanadventureleaguepdx/

  15. #15
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    I say go for it Luke, but try 42/21 and do take a couple other cogs. 42/22 would get wizzy at 22 or so mph. I have only seen that bike at the LBS, it looks capable to me. I doubt you will have much difficulty unless your cranks are silly short 165s. Watch for chain tension, a couple adjustments are likely. That gear will give you 39.8--54.3--74.1, which gets me up all the riverside hills here as well as 30T//23or26 deraillers, I'm a masher. Middle gear will be good up to 15 mph and high will get to 25 or so. Standing on the pedals gets you up another 4% hills and is easier of the legs anyway. You should already know about how efficient that Shimano IGH seems.

    Mine is an oil filled Sturmey XL-RD5w on a mostly 53 lb bike all last year. It is equal to the deraillers in ANY circumstance and in high it is up to 10% MORE efficient. I wizzed out at 44.63 mph twice on a 1/4 mile hill, all time high. My cranks are 180s, which makes a big difference. I did 11 all day rides over 97 miles, two were 125. The only small problem is the gap between 2nd and 3rd, at about 13 mph. I like having lunch after 25 miles or so. and rests at that interval too.

    My gears were 46/18T , 43.4 to 111 GI, so 3 of them were within 3 GIs of yours.

    Practice wheel removal and Have a nice trip !!!

  16. #16
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    IMHO, install the rear cog (as suggested) that will yield approx 37 gear in. I ride a nine speed bike over some fairly hilly terrain, utilize three gears most often - one with a ratio around 37 , then 49 and 65. The 37 to 65 range is very similar to that of a three speed hub.
    ride long & prosper

  17. #17
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
    Every time I see that video, I'm amazed at how supportive railroad used to be for cyclists. Constructing a special car just to hold multiple bicycles is incredible by todays standards. Imagine, a railroad that actually cators to bicycling groups. Railroads today would never do something like that in 2013.

    Since that video was back in 1955, everyone must be over 80 years old today. I wonder if anyone is still alive.
    Based on this article I would say that it is likely.

    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. :(

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  18. #18
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    Based on this article I would say that it is likely.

    Aaron
    Good one!

  19. #19
    W A N T E D Juggler2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    Based on this article I would say that it is likely.

    Aaron
    Great article! Thanks for sharing!

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