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Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

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Old 06-13-10, 05:36 PM   #1
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Three Speed Touring

Anyone here do any touring on English 3 speeds? If so, tell me what you ride, how your bike is set up (different gearing) and what type of gear you like to use.
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Old 06-13-10, 08:27 PM   #2
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I don't, but I have seen people who do. They did not seem at all bothered by the lack of gears. I imagine they walked up the steep hills, but so what? I have walked up more than a few inclines, and I have 27 gears.

Both were riding old bicycles that did not fit their bodies, with under-inflated tires. Gear shifting on one of the bikes was iffy. Nevertheless, riding three-speed bikes seemed to be less relevant than the fact that they were seeing and riding through beautiful countryside.
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Old 06-13-10, 09:31 PM   #3
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This may be of interest.
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Old 06-14-10, 12:11 AM   #4
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I think it's important to have the proper gearing for a three speed. If you're using a hybrid with 700 wheels, then an 18T cog and a small 35T chain ring will give you a fairly low gear for light touring.

71 inch ----- 3rd gear
53 inch ------ 2nd gear
40 inch------ 1st gear.
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Old 06-14-10, 12:23 AM   #5
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I've ridden several short day legs (40 kms or so) on a 3-speed step-through-frame bike with a front basket. The bikes also had ueber crappy bottle generators with halogen lights, and we really needed the lights on a couple of occasions. All in all, they were definitely NOT something I'd choose for any kind of mileage, but the rental company didn't have much offerings.

It was refreshing to be reminded that none of that really matters. We enjoyed the trip immensely and the bikes served us well as our only means of transportation. The only thing I really missed was lower gearing, we had to walk the bikes every now and then. I don't mind running out of gears in a downhill.

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Last edited by Juha; 06-14-10 at 12:27 AM.
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Old 06-14-10, 01:00 PM   #6
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I haven't done any real touring on it, but I've taken my '63 Phillips on several 40-mile runs and wouldn't hesitate to do it again. I lightened it up a bit by stripping off some of the heavy steel bits, and was planning to add alloy rims, but I've since found a Raleigh Super Course that will be getting the three speed treatment and replacing the Phillips.

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Old 06-14-10, 01:58 PM   #7
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Define 3 speed....

I do short tours on my Superbe and my Twenty, only modifications that I would consider a requirement would be to upgrade the brakes and to swap the rear cog out for something a bit more suitable.

My Twenty is currently running a 44/15 my Superbe a 46/22. I have done a double cog deal on the back of the Superbe in the past. IIRC you can run a 4 tooth difference and not have to lengthen or shorten the chain. You remove the spacers and put the dished cogs back to back. When you need to change gears, you stop, loosen the wheel, move the chain over, adjust the gear cable tension and go on your merry way. I have also carried different cogs and spare chain but never bothered to use them. I do walk a few hills but I look at that as a chance to give my rear a rest and use a different set of leg muscles.

By gear I assume you mean equipment for cooking and sleeping? I use a Carradice Nelson saddle bag with an alcohol stove, single pot and a few other necessary items. Tent and sleeping bag are strapped on the rack.

My tours are typically S24O's, mileage is around 35 or so each way. My wife and I have done one 3 day tour via B&B's and only carried the basics in clothing.

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