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A Society of Three Speeds status report, July 2022

Hello folks! Summer is here (in the Northern Hemisphere) and I hope you’ve been getting in some good rides on your three speed. I’ve been mostly riding my Brompton, as it’s my newest bike, and its multi-modal ease means I’ve brought it to a lot of places. I still love my Raleigh Superbe, but it needs a bit of work to get it back on the road. (I hope to do that soon!)

Some of you may have noticed how quiet things have been around here. The last ride I led was last summer, and the Three Speed April photo challenge sort of sputtered out at the end. I don’t have any rides planned in the near future. And a few of you may have noticed (Tim H, specifically) that I took the Three Speed Weekend in October off the calendar.

So you may be asking yourself (especially if you are Michael R): What gives? Is Shawn giving up on Society of Three Speeds?

The answer is no. But I’ve been reprioritizing things, and directing my energies elsewhere for the moment. I got a lot going on like Pedalpalooza rides, the Bikes and Film Cameras Club, zines and comics to make, and my day job. Honestly I’ve been lacking the enthusiasm for SoTS.

The cancellation of the Three Speed Weekend has been mostly precipitated by my day job: another event has come up for that weekend, and for the following weekend. The end of October into November also looks busy. So there was just not a good date to shuffle the Weekend back to.

And here’s the thing: I want to make that Three Speed Weekend “special”, and I haven’t had the time or energy to do that right now. I don’t want just another three speed ride. I’ve done that for years. I was hoping that the last Three Speed Ride would see good numbers, especially after everyone being bottled up for a year. I only saw four people. I headed out to Lake Pepin this year, and it was the biggest turn-out yet. For me to do just another three speed ride would be demoralizing for me.

I should also note that there will be no Three Speed October Challenge in 2022. I had a good turnout in 2020, but the participation dropped by two-thirds last year. That’s also demoralizing. I realize that people were eager for something like this in 2020. But I also realize that administering a bunch of challenges is a lot of work. I did a quarterly “mail in” challenge from fall of 2020 through winter of 2022. At any point I would be sorting out prize packs for the last challenge, administering the current challenge, and planning the next one. That’s a lot of work. For awhile it was worth it because people seemed into it. But that dropped off last spring. The only challenge that people seem to be into is the Midnite Bicycle League (and I still need to get prize packs out, and it’s July!) so I’ll be sticking with that one. One challenge a year is enough, especially since I have other things going on. Three Speed October may return at some point, but I don’t know when.

No ride for the rest of 2022. No challenge for the rest of 2022. Is it all doom and gloom?


Here’s the thing, friends: March 2023 will mark Ten Years of Society of Three Speeds. That’s a good milestone. There’s almost 350 members from all around the world. Three hundred and fifty people who love three speeds. That’s great, and it humbles me.

I want this anniversary to be special. I want to concentrate on a good ride, a ride that enthusiasts from all over the Northwest (or even further!) want to come here for. I want there to be other special things too. This is going to take some work, and I want to give myself the appropriate amount of time to get it all done. Expect something in March or April. I will keep you all informed of what goes on. And I hope you can make it!

Until then, ride your three speed with pride and pleasure!


2 thoughts on “A Society of Three Speeds status report, July 2022

  1. Hey Shawn, thank you for the update. Planning, organizing, and running an event takes alot of time! Maybe some of us 3 speed folks should try to just get together and ride? Hillsboro to Stub Stewart overnight any takers? Micheal? Vince?

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