Three Speed October: Wrap it up, plus SoTS renewal discounted (still) until Nov 11th

Hello, friends of Three Speeds! Yes, Three Speed October is officially over, so no more rides can be done. But you can still report the rides you have done!

If you haven’t signed up yet, go here:

If you have signed up, but haven’t reported, now is the time! If you signed up, you would have gotten a Google Form emailed to you for Week One. Fill that out to get the Week Two report. If you haven’t received it, first check junk/spam, and if it isn’t there, let me know.

The deadline for reporting your rides for the Challenge is 11:59 PM Pacific Time on Friday November 15 2019. If you are mailing in reports, they must be postmarked no later than November 15th.

The sooner you report, the sooner you are eligible for the prize pack! We’ve got an awesome patch made by Falls Creek Outfitters, plus stickers!

And I’m also extending the sale on the “renewal” of Society of Three Speeds memberships until Monday November 11th. The regular price to get another year of postcards and special stuff is $16 (plus shipping/handling), but until November 11th, get it for just $12! (Plus shipping/handling) You can order that here.

Three Speed October 2019: The final weekend!

Hello friends of Three Speeds! This is a short-but-sweet post. Apologies for not doing a Monday update this week, I’ll have a more substantial Three Speed October post next week.

This is the final weekend of the challenge. Meaning: If you are finishing up your third and final week, now is the time to do so! Keep on filling out your Google Forms. If you haven’t received one for your appropriate week, please get in touch.

For those of you who have missed one (and only one ride) during one of your weeks: This is Make-Up Weekend. From now until 11:59 PM your time on Sunday November 3, you can make up one biffed ride from a former week. You can only make up one ride from one week, so if you biffed more than one week, or you had a week with only one ride, then you are out of luck, alas. There is a special form for the Make-Up Weekend, so if you need it, please get in touch.

And yes, if you missed a ride from Week One or Two and are still finishing Week Three, you can do both a regular ride (or two) plus one Make-Up Ride this weekend. No, you cannot use a Make-Up Ride from Week One or Two as also a Week Three Ride. No double dipping! Confused? Please get in touch.

So far, we have seventeen people who have completed the challenge. Yes! If you have completed the challenge, you should have gotten a Completion form emailed to you where you can select your prize options. Haven’t received one yet? Please get in touch.

And a reminder: It’s totally groovy that you’ve been posting your #threespeedoct2019 reports to your blog, Instagram, Tumblr, flickr, or even Facebook. But remember, to make it count, you MUST fill out the Google Forms! Please fill them out sooner or later so I can get all this business sorted out, and get prize packs made!

Alright, have a great weekend, three-speeders!

Three Speed October 2019, The Monday Report for Oct 21

Hello folks! We are closing in towards the end of the challenge. Meaning: if you haven’t started already, it’s too late. There’s not much of a report for this Monday. Not that things aren’t happening (they are!) But since I’m traveling sans laptop, it’s hard for me to write something really extensive and intensive. You’ll get a better report next Monday.

For now, here’s a few details. As of 7 PM Pacific Time on Sunday October 20, we have:

  • 46 people who have registered
  • 24 people who have completed Week One
  • 16 people who have completed Week Two
  • 5 people who have completed Week Three, meaning we have five people who have successfully completed the challenge!

For those of you who have completed the challenge; I’ll be sending the info on prize pack ordering later this week.

For everyone: Keep on filling out those forms! I won’t be able to send/resend forms until I return to Portland (the earliest date will be Wednesday). But for pretty much everyone who has registered for the challenge (except Recycled Android), you should have gotten an email sent with the form for Week One. Check your junk/spam if you haven’t seen it, especially if you have hotmail, yahoo, or aol addresses. If you can’t find it, let me know.

And: If you registered and haven’t done a ride yet, you won’t be able to complete the challenge. So let me know that you are out, so I don’t keep on nagging you.

Everyone: Ride your three speed, challenge or not!

It’s DO OR DIE Time for the Three Speed October Challenge!

Hello, friends of Three Speeds! Today, Friday October 18th, is technically the LAST DAY you can START this challenge and complete it in time. So, are you on the fence? Now is the time to decide.

I’ve gone over how “the calendar” works in exhaustive (hopefully) detail in this post here. Please check it outHere if you have any questions.

But wait! Maybe you read this post on Saturday October 19th, or show up on my Seattle Three Speed Ride, and still want to do this! Guess what? You still have a chance if you do this:

  • Start the challenge TODAY, Saturday October 19 and do a ride TODAY.
  • Do a ride on Sunday October 20th.
  • Both those rides count toward week one, which would start on Monday, October 14th. This means you only filled in two rides in the first week. This is okay, but keep on reading…
  • Complete week two and three successfully, meaning all three rides for each week.
  • Commit to riding a Make Up Ride for the first week during the Make Up Weekend of November 1-3. (You can also do regular rides towards Week Three on other days that weekend.)

So lovers of Three Speeds: You still have time.

Right now, I am in Seattle enjoying the damp weather and getting ready for tomorrow’s ride. Hope you can join me!

Three Speed October 2019: My Week Three, Ride 2 (Mon 14 Oct)

On the ride in.

One ride away from completing my personal Three Speed October Challenge. Don’t worry folks, I’ll still be (mostly) riding my three speeds through the rest of the month!

I took out the Robin Hood path racer project again. I don’t ride this bike as much as my superb Superbe, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t love it. It’s just set up as a sportier (read: less capacity) bike. With its sexy Lauterwasser (the Soma repro) handlebars, it definitely looks like a fast bike. Nevermind that it’s still the same 20-30 HiTen steel as practically every other British three speed!*

I haven’t really done many changes to the bike since I built it up about two years ago. The only thing that’s been replaced (besides the chain) is tires. I’ve had four different sets since I built it up:

  • Schwalbe Delta Cruisers in cream. These were “hand-me-downs” from the Superbe.
  • Grand Bois tires. Yes, Grand Bois. 650A is still a common size in Japan, and Grand Bois is supposed to be the “best”. So I mistakenly took the advice of someone off the internet and located a pair of these impossible-to-find Japanese tires.** Yeah, they are the most supple tires you can find for 650A, but they were expensive (I paid $60 each) and yet were somehow narrower than any other common 26″ x 1 3/8″ tires, 32 mm wide. (Most common is 35-37 mm). They probably would have been the cat’s knees if they were the same width as Col de la Vies (40 mm), but at that narrowness the higher pressure I had to keep them at negated most of the benefits. I had them on for a couple months, then managed to compromise the sidewall on the front. So much for that.
  • Sunlite Nimbus tires, which I believe are just relabeled Kendas. I had a set on the old Rudge (found in a free pile) and liked them fine. In fact, I think they are probably the best of the cheap tires in this size, especially with their “hybrid” tread.
  • And now, Panaracer Col de La Vie. I like these tires, but decided they’d be better off on the sportier three speed vs. the more utilitarian Superbe.
The forelorn “bike corner” at the hostel.

Today’s ride was actually an honest-to-goodness commute. Most of my work happens at home, but on Monday October 14 I happened to cover a shift at my old job, the hostel. Yep, I stayed on the payroll and work an occasional shift (at best, once a month). Part of it is to keep those long-standing side-benefits of working at a hostel going. (Like staying for free at other hostels.) But part of it is to also remind me of why I left. There’s always the part of me that looks back on things and says, “Maybe that wasn’t so bad.”*** So I start to think, maybe I should have stuck around. Going back every once in awhile convinces me that I made the right decision, and sticking around for even two days a week would’ve been too much.

In any case, it was a nice 3 mile ride to work. A beautiful October day, sunny and in the mid-60’s. Fall has been really poppin’ here in Portland, and I paused at Laurelhurst Park to admire the color display.


Work at the hostel was, ehh. But I got to hang out with Blackie for a little bit, that’s all that matters!

The ride home was nice. It was a pleasant but cool evening, about 47F when I left the hostel. The bright B+M headlight powered by a Sanyo dynohub lit the way home.

Overall, six miles of riding today.

The ride home.

*Yes, I know about the fancy Lentons, Clubmans, and the like with their light 531 tubing. But let’s face it, 99% of the old British three speeds we see here in the US aren’t going to be that!

**Norther Cycles in North Portland was coincidentally placing a direct order with Grand Bois when I was searching.

***However, this hasn’t been the case for looking back at the five years at the house in Woodlawn. If anything, each passing day makes me realize how bad it all was.

Three Speed October 2019, The Monday Report: Oct 14

Hello folks! Welcome to another Monday during this beautiful Three Speed October. How’s everyone doing out there? But first, this important note:

This is the last week you can start the Three Speed October Challenge. In order to complete the Challenge by the end date of Sunday November 3, your first week must start on Monday October 14th. This also means your second week starts Monday October 21st, and third week Monday October 21st. Please note that your first ride doesn’t have to be on Monday October 14th. You can do your first ride as late as Friday October 18th. So this means Friday October 18th is the DO OR DIE date. See this post for more details.

Also, since it has been asked: If you decide to start the challenge NOW, but have done rides on three speeds in the past couple weeks, YES you can use these rides towards the challenge! Also, I will keep the registration open until Friday November 8th, so if you didn’t get around to registering, or figured you had enough rides to qualify, you can still get in on the action!

Okay, let’s get on to things. As of noon on Sunday October 13, 2019, we have:

  • 42 people who have registered for the challenge
  • 20 people who have completed and reported their first week
  • 7 people who have completed and reported their second week

I’m not going to share every bit of each report, but here’s some things that stuck out:

Enjoying week one, no spandex, gentle pace, makes a nice break !

Dave in Thunder Bay

A report from the aforementioned Dave (and Bev) in Thunder Bay:

We started week two with a change from our “around town” rides. We transported our bikes by vehicle to the hamlet of Silver Islet, a small seasonal community of rustic cottages located at the end of the Sibley peninsula outside Thunder Bay. Silver Islet was the site of a rich silver mine that operated in the 1870 to 1880 period (more information is available here: ).

After the closure of the mine, the community continued as a base for fishing and forestry, eventually becoming a summer cottage community. In the early days people and supplies arrived by ship from Prince Arthurs Landing/Port Arthur, now part of the city of Thunder Bay. There was no electricity or telephone connections to the town site until the 1990’s, although a highway was built to the hamlet in 1940.

A relatively short ride of 6.2 km (3.8 miles) with a 69m (226 ft.) elevation gain, essentially the main (only) road through the hamlet with a return loop along the highway. Even so, standard gearing had us grinding to a halt on some short steep climbs and relying on the “24 inch” gear:

However, “what goes up must come down” and we were able to use third gear on the last downhill, reaching 47.6 kph (on the Humber) without spinning out!

We encountered a brief rain shower near the end.

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1950’s Humber roadster, Dave’s bike for the ride.

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1973 Raleigh Colt, Bev’s bike for the ride

And Tim in Springfield, Ore. has some pics of his first week:

We’ve got some reports from 3Speed Seattle:

Three Speed October 10/7

Week Two, Ride One

Miles: 4

Monday, and it’s the start of my “weekend.” Which means time for me to head to the pool to get in some lap swimming time. My usual pool is the Evans Pool at Green Lake, which means I have to bicycle up Stone Way Hill (5% grade). Living at the bottom of Stone Way, I have to bike up said hill alot. 

After my swim, I decided to add in a nice, leisurely ride around the lake before heading home. From the cloudy, windy weather, this might be my last non-raining day for awhile. 

Three Speed October 10/8

Week Two, Ride Two

Miles: 8

On Tuesday nights, I frequently make my way from my place up to a pizza place on Aurora Ave to hang out with friends. This requires climbing Stone Way, circling half of Green Lake, and then climbing again. 

Despite the weather getting pretty cold lately, I knew I would over-heat trying to gain elevation, so I stuck to a t-shirt for the ride up. I brought a sweatshirt to throw on for the downhill trip home, though! Got to catch a lovely sunset over Green Lake

Three Speed October 10/9

Week Two, Ride Three

Miles: 8

A bright, sunny October day meant a good day for me to bicycle to Ballard to visit my Captain. Of course, no matter how good the weather is, biking through Ballard itself is always a mess due to the “Missing Link” of the Burke-Gilman trail. I’ve finally given up on risking my life on Shilshole Ave and instead go two blocks up onto Leary Way, which is equally industrial but is 4 lanes, so the drivers are less homicidal. 

A bunch of road construction means that Ballard is even more of a nightmare to ride through then usual, but I finally managed to make it. Then, on my way home, I paused at the grocery store to pick up a little friend. 


And to close it off, here’s a selection of Instagram posts: