The Lake Pepin 3-Speed Tour ™
"Reviving the heart and soul of fine English cycling, one pastry at a time."
May 12 & 13, 2018 in Red Wing Minnesota
An all-English and lycra-free event!
This is, without question, the most memorable cycling event you'll find. Why? It's simple: time travel. If you are with us next May, you will be cycling through the Golden Era of English cycle touring: the 1930s.
The Lake Pepin 3-Speed Tour is based on cycle touring in pre-war England. It was a gentlemanly time; few people owned a car and recreation based on automobiles was extremely limited. To get away for the weekend they would pack a few things, mount up, and head to the country. Most every farmstead had refreshments or a room to rent, every little village had a family-run restaurant; just look for the “Cyclist Teas” or “CTC Recommended” sign. It’s a romantic image to be sure but firmly based in reality. It’s a reality that is fairly easy to reproduce given the right scenery, equipment and most important: attitude. One cyclist in a thousand will understand what I’m offering and that person, as you, will glaze over and say “I simply must go!”.
To gain a better perspective, here is a list of things we leave behind: derailleurs, lycra, target heart rates, SPD, SIS, STI, HRM, XTR, etc. There will be no sprinting, spinning, drafting nor will there be any carbon fibre, drillium, eludium or unobtanium. Please note we are not advocating being a retro-grouch or ridicule those with alloy handlebars but instead we are asking you to strip away all you know modern cycling to be and hop aboard your £5 Thrift Store Raleigh and come with. Leave your lycra and Johnny-Rebel competitive spirit at home and instead, bring your sense of adventure. Wear something appropriate for eagle watching or sitting in a café and bring an honest-to-goodness rain cape because, of course, it rains in England. Be prepared to make new friends and be swept away by the scenery. Be prepared to stop here and there to take a photo or complain about your hard saddle or make an entry in your Tourbook. Be prepared to keep in mind it's not the destination you'll remember but the journey. -STO
"If you do just one Bummel in your lifetime, make it this one." -STO
Touring in the Old English Tradition!
English cycle touring in the 1930s was punctuated with many stops for food, water, tea and sometimes a pint at the local pub. Scenic overlooks were an invitation for a brew-up or a nap in the grass and were seldom missed. For weekend tourists, traveling light was the order of the day and most people simply carried a change of clothes and rain gear. Devoted club cyclists of the 30s also enjoyed "pass storming" and "rough stuff" cycling. Fast forward 80 years or so and it still makes sense.
Our judgment may be questioned by modern standards but that doesn't mean we will suffer on this tour. If you choose to camp or if you bring an extra duffel, your gear will be transported in the 3-speed lorry so all will be traveling light.
There are many small villages with bakeries, coffee shops and even the [Lord] Nelson Cheese Factory. We do our best to hit them all. The Wisconsin side is peppered with scenic overlooks, historic markers and vistas to rival Old Blighty. Again, we intend to hit them all. If one gentle walk up the Bay City Hill isn't enough, we have other highly recommended optional routes that will add more pass storming and a bit of rough stuff to your résumé. The Lake City Brew-Up will provide a relaxing and fortifying moment. At the end of the day we will gather at the local pub for a reflective pint or two but don't get the wrong impression; we are not bar-bashing but simply enjoying the moment.
"We have all day to arrive at our destination so let's not spoil it by showing up early." -STO
The route begins in Red Wing Minnesota and heads around Lake Pepin clockwise with an overnight in Wabasha. The total is about 85 miles for those foolish enough to keep track. Both days have many route options with quieter roads and additional pass storming and rough stuff. For those new to this form of vintage cycling, we recommend you follow the basic route as outlined in the Tourbook. Before the Tour, have a look at a general map of the Lake Pepin area and plot your possibilities. For those who insist upon using GPS, we insist you leave it at home. Instead, follow your sense of adventure or ask one of the veterans. Remember, your discoveries are yours and yours alone and you will cherish them as jewels in the years to come.
See: www.mississippi-river.org for more info on the Lake Pepin area including historic background and maps.
"Enduring the rigors of high adventure creates a bond between rider and steed that is not easily broken." -John Calkins
Another reason to label this ride as a better-than-average-kerfuffle is the pocket-sized Tourbook. It was a last minute surprise for all the 2003 riders and in the end was a big hit. The Tourbook introduction is reprinted below, every rider receives a copy and no, I won't put them on eBay. The 2004 Tourbook had more pages and map of Wabasha. The 2006 Tourbook had more space for notes and the 2007 version had feature illustrations from the 1934 BSA Cycles catalog. It also has turn-by-turn route directions and a map of downtown Wabasha showing hotels and camping.
"This little pocket book is meant to be part queue sheet, part tour guide, part map and part memoir. On each page you will find a listing of a town or attraction or a spot to write your notes. In the middle you will find a map of the Lake Pepin area. All the entries are in the same order as you will visit them on the tour. Feel free to write in what you see, what you’ve learned, where you ate and, best of all, what you think about the Bay City Hill. You will also find illustrations from the 1937 Raleigh Cycles catalog. Store this book in a safe spot when you get home and when you come across it ten years from now you’ll stop dead in your tracks and read it again."
"It's cycling as it used to be and it's cycling at its best: pure, simple and spectacular." -STO
Camping: Most riders prefer the hotel-motel-B&B version of camping but tent camping is available in Malone Park. Reservations for tent camping are not required but please let me know so I can give the city a tent count. Showers are now available at the new bath house. Interesting note: Malone park is closer to downtown Wabasha and the Eagles Nest than some of the hotels.
Rooms: You must make your own reservations! Hints: The AmericInn costs more and fills early but has a pool. Big River Resort (651-565-9932) is clean and economical. All are walking distance to the Eagles Nest Coffeehouse (our meeting place for Saturday night and Sunday morning). Right across the street is Turning Waters B&B; FYI- they are now opening a brewery!
See: http://www.mississippi-river.org/our-towns/wabasha-kellogg-mn/ for more Wabasha lodging and general Wabasha info including an interactive map.
See: http://www.EaglesOnTheRiver.com for waterfront B&B accommodations.
See: http://www.minnesotabedandbreakfasts.org/Inns/RiverNest.htm for the newest B&B in the region: The RiverNest is located upstream in historic Reads Landing.
"What delightful whimsy!" -Tom Maher
Saturday lunch is where you find it; some exploring is necessary! Suggestions are: Gelly's, Bogus Creek or The Stockholm Pie and General Store in Stockholm or the Pickle Factory in Pepin or, if you can wait long enough, the Harbor View in Pepin offers fine dining indeed. Saturday dinner and Sunday breakfast require meal tickets; see the next paragraph.
To provide an accurate count of Nutters and funds for the Eagle's Nest, Saturday dinner and Sunday breakfast is pre-paid via meal tickets. Upon registration, let me know how many extra friends or family are in your dinner/breakfast party. Tickets will be distributed at check-in.
Saturday dinner is 5-7:00 PM at the Eagle's Nest Coffeehouse; cost of meal ticket is $20. Beer will be available for $5 (cash bar: no ticket). Vegan option is available; please let me know.
Sunday breakfast is 8:00 AM at the Eagles Nest. Breakfast will be served buffet style along with buckets of hot tea or coffee. Cost of meal ticket is $15.
Sunday lunch is again on your own. My recommendation is to join in the new Brew-Up; brew-your-own tea on a vintage camp stove down by the waterfront and find appropriate treats in Lake City. See below.
"There are those that rue the day they were not there." -Kit Spackman
New for 2008 and a smashing success every year is the Lake City Brew-Up. Join the Nutters with your vintage camp stove and enjoy a Nice Cup of Tea and a Sit-Down in Ohuta Park along the waterfront. Be sure to bring your favourite biscuits, cake, clotted cream, jam or ham. Ohuta Park is at the end of Chestnut or Walnut Street.
Yes, there are rules: In keeping within the spirit of riding through England in the '30s, your kit for the Brew-Up should be hauled upon your Trusty Steed. (Also because the 3-Speed Lorry may not be there.) Perishables like milk, butter or other treats may be purchased anywhere you wish. Judging is done via 2 categories: 1/4 menu, 3/4 presentation. We will not time the brewing process. Hint: the key to a cracking presentation is artwork; the winning couple in 2010 displayed an original watercolour painted during the tour at various scenic overlooks. The 2012 winners did a reading from a Jeeves and Wooster play.
This little competition is quite good-natured fun and sharing of your home-baked treats is strictly encouraged. Winners enjoy the adoration of all and receive a stunning traveling trophy in the form of a Silver Jubilee plate. Rules are subject to revision and bribes are strictly encouraged.
"The 3ST had an unexpected impact on my cycling; it was as though I had been introduced to an entirely new sport. Quite shocking really." -Mike Jenkins
For many years, we have relished our stop at the Old Stone Wall in Old Frontenac; an idyllic spot for photos and a relaxing chat. A new addition for 2014 is the Light-Up; bring your fathers old Dr. Grabow or your new Askwith and have a go. Presentation is everything, of course, so plan on a nice bit of kit and be ready to tell the tale. I plan on having my new Tom Thumb pipe on display, perhaps with a new handlebar holder and a bit of roadside spearmint. Actual smoking is not necessary, no judging, no pressure. On the corner of Manypenny Avenue and Faribault Street.
What to bring:
"No need to hurry, unless the bakery is about to close." -Ron Grogg
Details and Entry Fee:
Registration is open for Veteran Nutters and first-time Nutters. By definition, a Veteran is a Nutter who has completed at least 1 Lake Pepin 3-Speed Tour and knows they should not cover their potato bin nor crash their Rudge with an expensive Carradice rain cape. Almost someone will be glad to hear the STO's rain cape has been de-moulded and repaired.
Registration is fixed at $30; this includes your event reservation, bag tag, and Tourbook BUT NOT MEAL TICKETS. Entry fee must be included with registration; no more "...save me a spot" business. Reservations are capped at 130 Nutters of the Realm and are refundable up to 2 weeks before the event and may not be applied to next year.
Saturday dinner meal ticket is $20, Sunday breakfast meal ticket is $15. See the "Meals" section above for more information.
In summary, the Full Monty is $65 per Nutter.
Veteran Nutters who have lost their job may take advantage of our "Nutters in Need" Programme and may ride for free. Spouses are now included even if they have a job. Vice versa works as well.
Payment is acceptable via Paypal or cash, check, money order, .999 silver bullion or, as usual, rusty lumps of iron from your shed.
Paypal address: email@example.com
Deadline for refunds is 2 weeks before the event. If you prefer, your refund may be applied to the "Nutters in Need" programme; your entry fee will be donated to a Nutter who has lost their job or, for other reasons, cannot afford to ride.
Other details: Meet at Colville Park in Red Wing Minnesota on the east side of town, just off Highway 61 across from the correctional facility. For those arriving early, The Staghead is an excellent place for those Nutters who wish to gather Friday night for a pint; Noel says to get there about 4-4:30. We gather here Sunday afternoon after the tour as well and have the place reserved just for us.
Be ready to go at 7:00am Saturday morning. Red Wing is 1.5 hours south of St. Paul. General driving directions to Red Wing are available from Google Maps. We have made arrangements with the Red Wing Police to leave our cars in the Colville lot overnight.
See: http://www.redwing.org/ for the complete list of Red Wing info.
A note about fitness: We maintain a modest pace but riders must be able to easily complete 45 miles in a day. That seems innocuous enough but add headwinds, big hills, gravel and rain and your spouse may decide you've taken leave of your senses.
Your camping gear may be transported in the 3-speed lorry for the trip to Wabasha. Hence, we encourage you to tip a few quid for Bobbi's petrol and her lost weekend. Camping gear goes in the trailer and the trailer is then parked at the campground. All other gear goes in the lorry. The lorry is not available during the day; it does not necessarily follow us and should not be considered a SAG wagon.
Please note there are NO organised food stops, rest stations, or mechanic support.
"For those who dream in Whitworth." -Ken Keberle
Contact the Shirt-Tail Organiser. I also maintain a mailing list for those who would like regular email updates with event news, updates and questionable attempts at humour. All messages guaranteed suitable for bird cage lining or composting.
See the FAQ
"Survival is generally not an issue unless we get bad pastry." -STO
What's it Like?
"3 speeds, 2 days, 1 more reason your spouse will say "What now?" STO
Noel Robinson: 3-Speed Tour Founder.
Jon Sharratt: Shirt-Tail Organiser.
Inspector Brink: Keeper of the Cask
Dave Brierley: Keeper of the Cask Emeritus.
Ron Grogg: ABCE and 3ST Opportunist.
"In the world of bicycles, perhaps we are now at the hub of the universe. Could it be that the world spins on a Sturmey Archer hub? Sometimes in high and sometimes in low; seldom in normal." -Dave Brierley, Keeper of the Cask
"The secret to building character lies not in pushing your personal limits but in the fellowship of good friends, good food and drink." -STO
Brake cables tensioned: 21 September, 2017.
Website © 2016 Jon Sharratt, all rights reserved
"3-Speed Tour", "ABCE", "All-British Cycling Event" and "Gentleman Cyclist" © 2016 Jon Sharratt, all rights reserved.