Hello there, friends of Three Speeds! And Happy Holidays. I realize that I don’t post on this blog as much as I should. Back in the olden days of 2013 or so, I usually had a post every week or every other week. I was just more enthusiastic back then: my love of three speeds was newer and I had just started this Society. Over the years enthusiasm tends to wane. But I still love three speeds! I’m going to make more of an effort to post regularly on this blog, especially outside of “Challenge” times. And to get the ball rolling, I’m going to do a post like I used to “back in the day”, when I talk about a three speed I spotted!
My post office box is located at the East Portland Station. I’ve had this box for eighteen years now. When the pandemic started, I thought about getting my mail forwarded to my house so I would avoid contact with people. Then I realized that since I didn’t have to go anywhere, ever, biking to my P. O. Box once or twice a week is a great excuse to get out and get some exercise. Plus, the post office is a great “bike spotting” spot.
Right before Thanksgiving, I spotted this lovely Gazelle at the post office. Gazelle is a Dutch manufacturer once connected/owned by Raleigh, though I don’t know if that’s the case anymore. Anyways, they make lovely “all dressed” Dutch bikes, with bottle dynamos, hub brakes, enclosed chaincases, beefy rear racks, and of course, a Sturmey Archer hub. They are very practical for urban transportation.
I figure that I’d see more of them in Portland, but it seems like the usual suspects (Clever Cycles and the like) end up importing Workcycles and more exotic (and expensive) brands. Don’t get me wrong, those are nice bikes, but maybe a little too much tool for the job. And those bikes are heavy. In the case of Workcycles, they make up for it a bit by having bigger hub gears (eight speeds or so). Still, that doesn’t make the bike any less heavy. There always seems to be a Workcycles for sale on Craigslist. I get the feeling that the seller wanted an all-dressed city bike, so they go to Clever and end up being wowed for a bit. Then they realize how heavy the bike is and Portland is in no way flat. They then part with the Workcycle and move onto some hybrid from Bike Gallery.
Anyways, I didn’t have any Society of Three Speeds paraphenalia to put on the bike. In these pandemic times I usually ride around with less stuff and forget to add stickers or hang tags to the gear.* And sometimes when I see a bike like this, I wonder if it’s worth it or not. There’s something about some riders of specific European city bikes in American cities: They don’t want to call attention to what they’re doing. Some of them may read Copenhagenize enough to believe bikes are tools with unsentimental value, much like vacuum cleaners. They don’t want to call attention to what they ride, even though they made a big point in picking out a bike that calls attention to itself. (And if I point out the bike I may get “In Holland these bikes are so common that no one bats an eye at them!”) So a club dedicated to three speeds may not get a warm response.
Anyways, Emee and I saw the bike and rider with a woman and her Gazelle on Thanksgiving Day:
*Please note: I do not sticker other people’s bikes, but I’ll sticker public bike racks. I’ll put a hang tag on someone’s bike.