It will be our tenth anniversary in spring of 2023! Stay tuned for special stuff.

Thanks for stopping by!

The Society of Three Speeds (or SOTS, if you are into that whole brevity thing) was founded in 2013 in Portland, Oregon, USA. To put it simply, our society appreciates the humble three speed bicycle. Once the ultimate in human-powered transportation, the three speed bicycle has been sidelined by first the road bike or “ten speed” and then the mountain bike. The three speed has been either disparaged or just forgotten about during the past 40 years or so.

But there’s nothing wrong with a three speed bicycle!

We aim to provide the resources and inspiration for people to enjoy and ride three speed bicycles, whether vintage or modern. For a nominal fee, you can become a member of the Society of Three Speeds and get a membership packet sent to you!

We also typically put on a series of Three Speed Rides in and around Portland, Oregon through the year. The first one occurred in 2011, and we have about three rides a year, though pandemic has put a hold on in-person rides for the indefinite future. Fear not: we also have two annual challenges that can be done on three speeds anywhere in the world: Three Speed April and Three Speed October

Please peruse the many pages on this website for more information. Please be gentle on us, this website is still a work in progress, and it is a labor of love by one obsessive man. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

Viva Three Speeds!

Updated 25 August 2022

85 thoughts on “Welcome!

  1. Hello from the middle country. Wichita Kansas here, and a new convert to the three speed style. I love riding my Superbe!

    1. Hello Jake from Wichita! Ottawa is not too far. Maybe we need a rendezvous of 3 speeds for the flatland!?

      1. Yeah, you midwest folks need to get together! Maybe do some big event out there in the spring that brings the three speeders from all over.

        Wait! Didn’t I just describe the Lake Pepin Three Speed Tour? 😉

        1. Ouch! Even with the pleasant emoticon attached to the end of the statement, it still stings a bit when one is confronted with the truth! I’ve looked at that tour many times… so why don’t I just do it? I’ts difficult to identify specifically why. Maybe this will be the year.

          1. Yeah, why don’t ya do it? 😉 Seriously, I come from half-way across the country to do it, and you’re loads closer! I know one member who regularly travels from Kansas City for it. In any case, there’s nothing stopping you folks down Kansas/Missouri way from doing some three speed events of your own!

  2. What ho! I’ve been fluttering about on the periphery for a while but just couldn’t resist a membership pack, and besides, all my 3 speed chaps are up on blocks, as it were, this time of year. Snow is thin but temps are low here in the midwest so I raise my cap in a warmly gloved hand and bid you all a very heartfelt hallo!

  3. Hoping to do the Pepin tour this year- it’s only about three and a half hours from my house – or 15 hours 3 speed time – would be very nice to meet you all!

  4. Does anyone on the list live in Southern Ontario, Canada? I feel a bit like an orphan out here. There are some superb paved trails in the Pickering, Ajax and Whitby area as well as a number roads with little traffic. This is largely due to the fact that our Mayor (Ajax) is a bike nut!
    I do all our domestic shopping on a Raleigh 20 pulling a WIKE trailer. So far I have calculated that with this rig the number of my shopping trips has now exceeded 1000! This is 8 years averaging three trips a week.

  5. I enjoy your site. I have ridden and raced road bikes for years and accidentally acquired a pair of vintage 3 speeds over the last few years. One is a rebadged early seventies Raliegh. Reminds me of when I was a kid. Our scout troop planned a bike camp trip about 50 miles away. My ten speed’s rear derailleur ate my wheel on the first hill. My dad brought me a rusty ladies three speed as a replacement. He got it out of a neighbor’s garage-full of dust and cobwebs. I was aghast but give the choice of ride it or go home. I tried it. By the time I arrived -not the last one there. I was in love with the rusty relic and regretted giving it back. The two I have now bring me right back to that summer trip. Who knew time travel could be had so cheaply?

  6. I have no less than ten bikes which I have acquired over the years. Four of these are 3-speed Raleighs -two Twenties and two Sports. The remainder includes a Carbon Fibre Trekand a celeste road race Bianchi with Campy components. The point of all this preamble is to state that for general purpose riding, to me when compared with modern examples of similar design, the only shortfall is the weight ,- which in itself is reflected back in increased strength and durability. Apart from this, they remain just fine. As previously mentioned, one of the Twenties with a WIKE trailer, is used for all our domestic shopping.

  7. In my previous post, how could I omit my Dawes Kingpin/ It was originally upgraded in 1992 and further modified in 2012. For some time it was my favorite bike and even today is regularly ridden. There are You Tube videos if any one is interested

    1. I have a Dawes Kingpin with a 3speed Sturmey Archer hub and a 16 cog wheel that I am thinking of changing to 18 teeth as it is hilly here in Sussex. Do you have any experience of changing the rear cog to a larger size please?

      1. It’s just held on by a circlip, you just leaver it off with a screwdriver.
        You’re only adding another two teeth so there should be plenty of space in the dropout to slide the wheel forward. You won’t have to fit another link in the chain unless there is a fairly tight mudguard clearance.

  8. I always enjoy this site (and Shawn’s books/comics). When my beloved three speed wore out last year, (after 20 years of hard use) I was having a lot of trouble finding a replacement. Old Raleigh’s are expensive here on the East Coast.(my LBS has a nice one now, a little over a thousand dollars) After months of looking I settled for a new “Schwinn” online. I’m pretty impressed, can’t really find anything wrong with it. There are some things I am going to tweak, but for a few hundred bucks I’m not complaining. Just wanted to put this out there if someone else is in the same situation. Don’t give up!

  9. Here’s to a better 2021 fellow epicyclic cyclists… Happy New Year from across the Pond! 👍😊
    Ps Check out “Off Road Roadsters” Facebook group… may be of interest?

  10. Just paid my dues as a new member and look forward to seeing what comes about in year 2021. My affinity of Raleigh three speeds dates back to summer 1976, when as a 16year-old I managed a rental fleet of about 50 Raleigh Sports at Black Butte Ranch resort, in scenic central Oregon. It was a fabulous summer job, which coincided with Bikecentennial ’76, the nationwide event that attracted thousands of randonneurs who pedaled past Black Butte Ranch resort along Oregon’s highway 20 during the first few days of the eastward ride across the nation.

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