Yes, people automatically reach for a purpose built touring rig for an overnight these days, but “back in the day”, that rig would be a three speed. And there’s nothing wrong with doing a little touring action on your humble internally-geared bike. I’ve done overnights and tours on my three speed!
So here’s a little self-challenge for you, which you can do any time: The Three Speed Bike Camping Challenge!
Sometimes folks like the structure of a set of rules to a challenge. If that’s you, try to hit these points:
- The ride must be at least three miles (one way).
- You must spend one full night at the destination.
- You must (theoretically) pay for your night’s stay. This means you can not just simply ride over to your friend’s or family’s house and crash for the night or camp in their backyard. Saying that, you don’t have to exactly “pay”. You can stealth camp or use a free camping spot (like in a National Forest).
- This ride must be self-contained, meaning you will need to carry everything you need on your bike. No vehicle support allowed or “dropping off” of stuff in advance, but yes you can buy things along the way.
- You can use public transportation! You can take a bus, train, ferry, or the like to a certain spot, then ride the rest of the way in. Please note that you would have to ride at least three miles after the transit ends and still carry all the stuff on your bike from that point on.
- If all else fails, you can drive to a point and ride from there. But if you live in an area where you can feasibly ride the whole way from your home, or can use public transit, please do so.
And let me be clear: These are just guidelines. If you need to bend some of them to make it work, do so. (Well, except the self-supported part.)
If you do end up doing a bike camping trip or tour, please let me know! I’d love to share your trip report here. If you post on Instagram, use the tag #threespeedbikecamping
Want to reward yourself for your Three Speed Bike Camping Trip? Well, I have some lovely Three Speed Camping stickers! These 3 inch stickers are weather-resistant and will set you back $2 plus shipping/fees. Haven’t done a camping trip yet, but want to? You can still get the sticker! Just promise that you’ll do your trip by the end of next year. I should have some patches at some point too.