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!

Three Speed Ride Seattle 2019 Report

Ah, Seattle. You always seem to be wet, at least when I visit. (Unless it’s in the middle of summer.) This weekend has been a pretty wet one, and of course it was a decent steady rain when I got up this morning. Will anyone show up to my silly ride?

And amazingly, people did show up! Nine total, including myself. We even had surprise out-of-town guests Andy and Vince from Portland. Plus Kris who came on up from Olympia. The ride was split fairly evenly between three speeds and non. Kris had a lovely “Orbit” bike from Leeds, Ed had their Hercules, Vince his MTB three Speed conversion, and Blair his Raleigh Superbe. There was also a good number of rain capes.

We went up our only real hill of the day, two blocks of steep by Volunteer Park. Then a descent down Interlaken to the University Bridge, and then we’d hop on the Burke-Gilman trail and head west.

We had a pause at the PCC Market in Fremont for provisions at our picnic/tea stop. We continued west on the Burke-Gilman to the bitter end, Golden Gardens Park. This beach provided a great view of the Puget Sound. Also, it had picnic shelters. Of course, the rain stopped right before we got to the park, almost to spite us. (And it would remain dry for the rest of the ride.) Tea and coffee was made and consumed, along with some pastries and other snacks.

Andy and Vince broke off here (Blair broke off before the U Bridge) so then there was six of us. We headed back east, toured Hiram Chittenden Locks, the busiest such structure in the United States. Then eastward along the Ship Canal Path to the Fremont Bridge (saying adieu to Andreas and Kris). Four of us made it to Fremont Brewing for beverages.

Despite a crappy forecast, the ride was a success! 18 miles total. I definitely want to do another Seattle Three Speed Ride in 2020. But it might be late spring or summer instead. Keep your eye out for details!

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.