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Extensive Midwest and Great Plains tour on a 3 speed

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Extensive Midwest and Great Plains tour on a 3 speed

Old 07-03-13, 09:19 AM
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Extensive Midwest and Great Plains tour on a 3 speed

For those of us who like 3 speeds, here's a journal on Crazyguyonabike by a man who is now in his 8th week of a tour of the Midwest and Great Plains on a Trek 3 speed. His "objective" is unusual -- he is visiting a number of points where 3 states come together ("Tri-Points"), hence the name of his Journal, "Tri-Points on the Tri-Speed". His bike is equipped with wire baskets -- not your typical touring set-up, but he has gone over 2000 miles now.

His previous touring bike was an older one speed Huffy.

Here's the link: https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?doc_id=11646

Once again shows there are many ways to tour on a bike.
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Old 07-03-13, 09:32 AM
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I'm curious why he decided to go with the wire baskets, as opposed to panniers. It's quite an interesting setup he has though.

Different strokes for different folks I guess.
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Old 07-03-13, 10:19 AM
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As a paperboy, in the mid-sixties, I used a Raleigh 3-speed with a similar basket setup for newspaper delivery. It worked fine even after the shifter broke and it became a single-speed. The basic efficiency of a bicycle allows riders adapt to a large variety of circumstances.

Not my actual bike, but:
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Old 07-03-13, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by BigAura
As a paperboy, in the mid-sixties, I used a Raleigh 3-speed with a similar basket setup for newspaper delivery. It worked fine even after the shifter broke and it became a single-speed. The basic efficiency of a bicycle allows riders adapt to a large variety of circumstances.
My bike for paper delivery in the 1960s was a single speed, I had the same rear baskets but I had no front basket. Those rear baskets could sway side to side and if they started swaying when you were at speed, the resonance could cause a crash. I learned the hard way.
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Old 07-03-13, 11:29 AM
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That Trek of his is a very pretty bike with a retro look. Very cool idea for a reason to get out and tour. Thanks for passing it on OldZephyr.
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Old 07-03-13, 11:34 AM
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The wire baskets are an inexpensive solution to touring if a bit heavy. The real question is why anyone would choose to tour in the flat and hot midwest as opposed to say the mountains out west. Oh wait, he is riding a 3 speed . . . .
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Old 07-03-13, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig
The real question is why anyone would choose to tour in the flat and hot midwest as opposed to say the mountains out west. Oh wait, he is riding a 3 speed . . . .
I imagine this comment probably is in jest, but I'd just note that he lives in Morton, IL, so he can start his tour out his front door. I think the areas he's been traveling through are interesting, but then again, I grew up in the Midwest. Also, while there are some really flat areas of the Midwest, such as the outwash plains of north-central Illinois and north-central Iowa, there is a lot of relief in many parts of the Midwest (e.g. southwestern Wisconsin, northeastern Iowa, much of Missouri). I live in Duluth, MN, and my daily commute of 3-4 miles involves a 400+ foot climb home. For a while, I tried commuting home on a heavy 7 speed bike with internal gears, and it was a chore.
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Old 07-03-13, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by OldZephyr
For those of us who like 3 speeds, here's a journal on Crazyguyonabike by a man who is now in his 8th week of a tour of the Midwest and Great Plains on a Trek 3 speed. His "objective" is unusual -- he is visiting a number of points where 3 states come together ("Tri-Points"), hence the name of his Journal, "Tri-Points on the Tri-Speed". His bike is equipped with wire baskets -- not your typical touring set-up, but he has gone over 2000 miles now.

His previous touring bike was an older one speed Huffy.

Here's the link: https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?doc_id=11646

Once again shows there are many ways to tour on a bike.
I stumbled upon his journals while reading CGOAB late one night. I enjoyed his other tours, especially "Following the Straight Path," where he traces the route from The Straight Story.
I've been following his current tour every day. I too find it interesting.

Originally Posted by katmu
I'm curious why he decided to go with the wire baskets, as opposed to panniers. It's quite an interesting setup he has though.

Different strokes for different folks I guess.
I think he used what he had. As Old Zephyr mentioned, his previous bike was a single speed Huffy.


Originally Posted by bikemig
The wire baskets are an inexpensive solution to touring if a bit heavy. The real question is why anyone would choose to tour in the flat and hot midwest as opposed to say the mountains out west. Oh wait, he is riding a 3 speed . . . .
The three speed is an upgrade for him. It's not just that, though.

His tours are all in the midwest. It helps to be able to start and stop at his front door. If you read his journals, he is still working fulltime, so he needed to save his vacation from last year and combine it with this year's as well as get management approval to be away for a bike tour.

I suffer from many of the same constraints, but his journals give me hope that I could break away for a bike tour.

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Old 07-03-13, 07:13 PM
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I have toured fairly extensively on a 3 speed, in reality it is a four speed, you can always walk up the steeper hills. I carried a couple of spare sprockets and a bit of chain so I could gear down very low for the steeper hills and gear up when I hit the flats. To each their own.

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Old 07-03-13, 07:26 PM
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This may be of interest to only a few die hard SA fans, but I have gotten two sprockets onto an SA AW hub, buy removing the two spacer/shims. Its just an 18/22, but it does make a difference and takes a small enough amount of chain that it the dropouts are long enough you can just slide it up a bit.
https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4154/5...b1f11e9e_z.jpg
I ran this on a Fuji I toured on for a few years but stripped the axle. Will probably build a new wheel, have a forty spoke shell, and know where there is a NOS forty spoke 27" araya clincher at a bike shop.

I have yet to look at the journal but will do so soon. I like the idea of tooling around on what you have. Wish that the terrain here was more three speed friendly, Its not, but that does not stop me

Just looked at the journal, and that is a very cool bike. I seriously like the wire baskets. To bad I ride a 60c frame, cause getting the rear wald baskets to fit is very hard without doing a lot of extra brackets in the workshop.
His underslung water bottle holders on the front basket are fantastic. His charging system seems pretty cool as well.

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Old 07-04-13, 05:26 AM
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Shipwreck,

I have done the two cog conversion too on an old Sports. Worked pretty good for the area I lived in, IIRC mine was a 18/22 also. The drop outs can only handle a 4 tooth difference without having to change the length of the chain. For my 3 speeds I use anywhere from an 16t to a 24t cog depending on overall conditions.

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Old 07-04-13, 07:10 AM
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Morton 708
East Peoria 453
General Downing Airport, or a bit past-687
Pretty sturdy climbs for just coming out the door. Illinois River Bluffs are fairly steep, especially for a three speed, believe me, I've done it. Yet he mentions nothing about it, except some hills on the way between Hannah City and London Mills (of Spoon River Anthology fame, some pretty rugged country itself, for the Midwest.). And he crossed a fairly steep bridge, the Bob Michael, and then, after a few miles started climbing the opposite river bluff, then tackled some 100 foot plus rollers on gravel and dirt roads. My hat's off to him.
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Old 07-04-13, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Gravity Aided
Morton 708
East Peoria 453
General Downing Airport, or a bit past-687
Pretty sturdy climbs for just coming out the door. Illinois River Bluffs are fairly steep, especially for a three speed, believe me, I've done it. Yet he mentions nothing about it, except some hills on the way between Hannah City and London Mills (of Spoon River Anthology fame, some pretty rugged country itself, for the Midwest.). And he crossed a fairly steep bridge, the Bob Michael, and then, after a few miles started climbing the opposite river bluff, then tackled some 100 foot plus rollers on gravel and dirt roads. My hat's off to him.
Well put. I grew up in Peoria, and I know the climb out of the Illinois River valley is significant -- it was hard when I was a boy riding a 5 speed Schwinn Collegiate Sport, and it was work last year when we visited Peoria and climbed the bluffs, even on touring bikes equipped with low gears. It would be a lot harder on a heavily loaded 3 speed.

My hat is off to him as well!
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Old 07-04-13, 08:56 AM
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At least much of his route is improved by a trail from Morton to Peoria (and beyond, if you're going that way.)getting that far, but then he was off on the side roads and travelling through rolling country to London Mills. Real good first day.
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Old 07-04-13, 09:33 AM
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Back at the end of the 50's I Bought a triple cog machined from 1 piece of steel ,
that replaced the single cog and washer-spacers.
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Old 07-04-13, 01:05 PM
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I am only on day 23 of the guys journal, but its a good journal. The bike was having lots of broken spokes, had six replaced and used up the six spare spokes he got at the same time over the next few days. He found a bike shop that was closed, so went back to a junk yard where he had seen some bikes, used his last spare to find something that more or less matched, bought the bike and took all the spokes off it! Its great to read about this kind of stuff.
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Old 07-05-13, 05:23 AM
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I finally got caught up on his current journal, plan to go back and read the others. This guy is proof that you don't need a lot of high dollar fancy equipment to have fun touring. I wish he had a bit more in his bio. He seems to have a solid electronics background, but not so strong on mechanical. Looks to be riding in street clothes too.

I wonder if his wheel had been properly trued and tensioned prior to leaving if he would still be having the issues he is? Regardless, I find it inspiring and hope he keeps it up.

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Old 07-05-13, 06:48 PM
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I'm guessing, maybe, he has a little too much load on the back wheel. Perhaps evening it up might help some.
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Old 07-06-13, 05:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Gravity Aided
I'm guessing, maybe, he has a little too much load on the back wheel. Perhaps evening it up might help some.
He has a couple of batteries on his front basket along with whatever he has packed in that.

I suspect that he started riding on set of stock, machine built wheels that were not properly tensioned and stress relieved. From his description of what he is doing when replacing spokes he doesn't fully understand the how a bicycle wheel works. I toured trans continental in 1977 with most of my load on the rear wheel and never had a broken spoke. But my wheels were hand built and properly tensioned.

I agree that moving more load to the front is not a bad thing. Even on an empty bike the rear wheel carries some 65%-70% of the weight.

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Old 07-06-13, 12:08 PM
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A lot of Beenie Weenies can get awful heavy, awful fast. Believe me, I know. Having some for lunch, but no chocolate milk. Clearing out some of my touring stock of Beenie Weenies. This fellow goes a great distance on bikes designed and concieved to get you to the grocery store. His "Open Road" really covered the miles. I saw one like it in a garage sale near me, and thought of him.
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Old 07-06-13, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Gravity Aided
A lot of Beenie Weenies can get awful heavy, awful fast. Believe me, I know. Having some for lunch, but no chocolate milk. Clearing out some of my touring stock of Beenie Weenies. This fellow goes a great distance on bikes designed and concieved to get you to the grocery store. His "Open Road" really covered the miles. I saw one like it in a garage sale near me, and thought of him.
My first several tours were on a single speed Western Flyer, which was pretty similar to his Open Road. I used baskets back then too. We used to buy C-rations (if you want to get technical they were actually MCI's) at the local army surplus store for our trips. Load the baskets up with those a couple of gallons of water, and minimal camping equipment and off we would go.

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Old 07-06-13, 09:01 PM
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Sounds like a lot of fun. Think I did my first on a Gambles Hiawatha with three speeds, I think it was a re-badged Phillips.
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Old 07-07-13, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by wahoonc

I suspect that he started riding on set of stock, machine built wheels that were not properly tensioned and stress relieved. From his description of what he is doing when replacing spokes he doesn't fully understand the how a bicycle wheel works. I toured trans continental in 1977 with most of my load on the rear wheel and never had a broken spoke. But my wheels were hand built and properly tensioned.


Aaron
When he first started having the problems, he stopped at A&B cycles in Springfield MO. He had two broken spokes, and they replaced six in total. It should have been fixed then.
However, there are several bike shops in Springfield that I would have recommended before A&B. Its an ok shop, But rather, shall we say, "Boutique". I doubt that anyone there asked what he was doing with the wheel to be wearing the spokes so much.

And I do agree that canned food, heavy tent and all did not do the machine built wheel any good. However, I do really admire the whole find replacement parts at a place on the side of the road thing.
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Old 07-07-13, 07:11 PM
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Sometimes, you gotta improvise. He's doing a good job of improvising this whole tour, and keeping himself out of trouble. I admire a guy who can take the basics and make something out of it.
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Old 07-07-13, 07:48 PM
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Awesome. This guy is my hero.
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