Links, Resources, Inspiration

PLEASE NOTE: I try to keep as up-to-date with this page as possible. But I can’t always be on top of things. Please let me know in the comments if I missed something, or if a link is dead, or a club/organization is no longer.

Sheldon Brown: Saint Sheldon had a passion for three speeds, and his site is still a “go-to” for technical and repair information. Here are the most pertinent links for three speeds:

How to Adjust a Sturmey-Archer Three-Speed Hub. This useful info comes from the now-defunct Old Bike Blog, which is worth checking out.

Installing and Adjusting 3-Speed Wheels. More useful basic info.

There is the Lake Pepin Three Speed Tour in Red Wing, Minnesota.  This annual ride occurs every May. The tour is an 85 mile (135 kilometre, if you are a Francophile) circumnavigation of Lake Pepin, a natural feature of the Mississippi River with charming towns (like Wabasha, MN) and stunning views  along the way. It’s typically the second or third full weekend (Saturday and Sunday) in May. In 2017 it will occur on May 13 and 14. I went for the first time in 2014, and went again in 2015 and 2016, and hope to attend in 2017!

The Gentleman Cyclist Google group is associated with the Lake Pepin folks. A good list to join if you are interested in three speeds and old English bicycles.

For the Love of English 3 Speeds is a long going and very active discussion going on over at Bikeforums. In its 12,000+ posts, a lot of info about three speeds has been shared. It’s a good spot to look up info, or ask a question you need answered. (Or a way to waste a day or two if you read through it all! 😉 )

Bicycling Backwards is a place which celebrates the wistful whimsy of slower days and gentler ways awheel. This ride happens in October along the Glacial Drumlin State Trail just east of Madison, Wisconsin.

St Clair River 3 Speed Touring Club. Located in the Downriver region of St. Clair County (north of Detroit), the club strives to provide touring/riding opportunities for 3 speed bicycles that would otherwise not be available in other cycling activities. (Though I hope they do something soon!)

Three Speed Bicycles. Yet more info!

Three Speed Hub. A wealth of information, including loads of vintage British catalogs.

“The Oldbiketrader web site is dedicated to the promotion and continued success of Sturmey-Archer Products and Raleigh Vintage Bicycles.” They’re so retro-grouch, their website looks like it’s from 1997! (Aol email!)

And get jealous that this guy in Edmonton regularly finds pristine condition Raleighs for nothing/next to nothing.

A blog about three speeds from Toronto: Three Speed Mania.

From Portland, on a green Raleigh Twenty: Little Green Bike Blog.

From Boston: Boston Raleigh Users Group.

The Bike Shed fixes and restores many a vintage bike, but a lot of them are three speeds, both of the English and American varieties. A lot of good resources on restoration and repair in the sidebar on the blog.

From the Bike Shed, a good primer to Schwinn three speeds (and adult utility single speeds) from the 1930’s through 1950’s.

This Crazy Guy on a Bike weblog details bicycling and touring in Northern Ireland during the 50’s into 60’s.  (Yeah, they mostly rode single speeds, but the feeling is there.)

Cycling before Lycra offers a small glimpse into British touring during the Depression/WWII era.

Oldbike is about lots of classic British bikes.

Sturmey-Archer Heritage. Dedicated exclusively to the best planetary gear hubs in the world. (Suck it, Rohloff!)

Semi-Complete List of 650A tires. This updated list consists of all the tires known to currently exist in the 650A size, also known commonly as 26″ x 1 3/8″, EA3, or ISO 590. This is the common size of most old three speeds. (Yes, we know, there are exceptions to this.) UPDATE 7 Jan 2015: This link appears to be dead. We are investigating. Maybe we will have to create a new list from scratch? UPDATE 30 Jan 2016: Back from the dead, apparently!

Toggle Chain Tour. Founded in the UK in 2010,  the Toggle Chain Tour was first centered around an annual weekend bike ride for steel-framed hub-geared bikes. Now it’s acting as a meeting place for like-minded traditional bicyclists. UPDATE 26 July 2016: Appears to be dead. UPDATE 13 Sept 2016: The regular webpage is dead (killed by hackers) but they do have a Facebook presence. Alas, the message board is gone.

Services/Retail:

BikeSmith Design. From Minneapolis, BikeSmith provides specialized components, tools, design services that are outside the scope of the typical bicycle shop. They specialize in such three-speed specific things like cotter pins, cotter presses, and bottom bracket cup tools.

Red Barn Classic Bicycle Accessories. A cottage industry project out of Harrisonburg, Virginia, who handmade bicycle racks, chainguards, and other functional and decorative accessories for vintage bicycles, including a rear rack to fit a Raleigh DL-1 Roadster!

Gentlemen Cyclist Parts. From the man behind the Lake Pepin event comes bits and bobs like steel pulleys and fulcrums for your Sturmey Archer cable, LED bulbs for your vintage dynamo powered headlamp, and of course the classic stainless steel tea mug. (There’s more, too!)

Other Bike “Clubs”: Some other places to go if you like bikes, sending people money, and getting some cool stuff. If you are already here, you probably do.

Tarik Saleh Bike Club. The rules of TSBC are very simple:

  1. Ride Bikes.
  2. Try not to be an ass.

Association of Caffeinated Wheelmen: Drink coffee, ride bikes. Ride coffee, drink bikes. Yes, I’m sure women can join too.

Defunct, Inactive, Rarely Updated, Focus Shifted, etc:

The Southern California Three Speed Touring Club is defunct. See comment from Noel below. 

The Tin Can Ten. A hub-geared bicycle race in EnglandUPDATE 26 July 2016: Appears to be dead.

3 Speed Touring in Japan. Don used to be all about three speeds, but he’s all about bikepacking now. He finally “killed” this site, his new interests are over here. But there’s still some good three speed stuff on the old site, just dig into the archives.

Classic Three Speeds. Another blog focused on three speeds. Pretty active in 2013, a handful of entries in 2014 and 2015, and nothing since then.

Three Speed Gallery. Reader submitted photos and text of their three speed bikes. Archives are still there, but no new submissions since November 2014.

updated 21 December 2016

7 thoughts on “Links, Resources, Inspiration

  1. Noel says:

    FWIW, the Southern California Three Speed Club died partly through the owner’s (that’s me) neglect, partly through lack of interest, and partly through incompetent and unreliable web hosting.

    I still love the idea, and still ride my three speeds regularly, but frankly, SoCal cycling is all about Lycra, carbon, and flash. I don’t know if three speed touring will ever catch on here beyond a few crusty old nutters.

    • Aha! The mystery solved. Thanks for checking in. I am still sorry to see it go, but yeah, it’s hard. I think there is interest out there (even in SoCal!) but it’s all about figuring out a way to get those who would be interested in all this. And the “traditional” channels are usually not the way.

      Anyway Noel, please let me know where to send your complimentary Society of Three Speeds membership!

  2. Recently there has been a thread on the iBob list ( https://groups.google.com/forum/?utm_source=digest&utm_medium=email/#!forum/internet-bob/topics ) about the load capacity of the SA 3 speed hub. How low can you gear a bike without doing damage to the guts of the hub and whats the weak link?

    I thought maybe an article posting should be started here on the links page where anyone could post through comments a link to ANYTHING they encounter on the web or in forums that touches on 3 speed hubs. It could become a really good resource assuming this blog is searchable.

  3. Arnie says:

    I would love to join up with a group of British 3 speed bike riders in Southern California. I ride a 1955 Men’s Rudge Whitworth. Nobody to ride with! Sob sob!

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