Autumn is here in the Northernmost Hemisphere, and I’ve been thinking a bit about the past 2 1/2 years of the Society of Three Speeds and what lies ahead. Overall it’s been a good ride, but I’ve felt that things have stagnated a bit in 2015. This year I put together two rides, three if you count the not-really-a-Three-Speed Campout, which we won’t for now. I’ve had a good number of “repeat customers” for this year’s two rides, and that’s always good. It’s always fun to see old friends.
But one thing I haven’t gotten a lot of in 2015 is new riders. After the first few years of new faces each ride, this year has been a bit of a letdown. I’m thankful for hose of you who do come time in time out, but I never meant for my rides to be a “closed club” so to speak. And it gets tiring to invest the energy of attracting new riders when it doesn’t seem to matter.
What could change this? I don’t know. Maybe it’s because the three-speed rides I’ve done the past 4 1/2 years (remember, I did Three Speed Rides for two years before the Society was officially founded) are smaller scale. I look at rides like Lake Pepin, the Bicycling Backwards rural ramble, and the return of the Three Speed Weekend in Philadelphia. They are annual rides that are bigger in focus, and therefore attract more folks from a greater area. And I’d like to do something similar at some point, maybe 2016? Something that would attract three speed enthusiasts from around Cascadia? That would be cool. But what would that look like? I’ve been trying to think of a good weekend-long ride that would be three speed suitable and wouldn’t be too far from Portland. But nothing’s really hit me over the head, so I keep thinking.
Which brings me to this fall. I put a tentative Three Speed Ride on the calendar for this season. But right now, due to life obligations, lack of enthusiasm, and the difficulties of getting a weekend day off from my job, it’s not going to happen. Don’t worry, I will make something happen, maybe in November (stay tuned!) But it won’t be as grand a scale as planned.
And please don’t take all this gloomy talk as a sign that I’m not going to do rides anymore, or (horrors!) close up shop. No, no, no. But I do really need to rethink things, including the membership kit (which I should have redone in, ah, spring.) There will be continued three speed fun, but it may look a bit different than it did in the past. And hopefully in the next year or so, I will finally figure out a grand weekend long adventure.
In the meantime, ride your three speed with immense pleasure. And if you have any ideas, comments, or suggestions, I’m all ears!