Here's my summary of this weekend. Thanks, it was fun.
THREE SPEED TOUR, 2003
Three speeds, two days, and one more reason your spouse will ask "What now?" This is how Jon Sharratt characterized the first Lake Pepin 3-speed Tour, a theme ride for old English steel with Sturmey-Archer hub gears (first made in 1907). A measure of generosity was that 4-speed versions were allowed but no derailleur bikes. Cotton khaki clothing was recommended.
The event was considered ambitious ride by many of the 13 at the start in Red Wing Minnesota. Led out by white bearded Noel Robinson on a vintage Philips, we did the 40 miles stately cruise to Wabasha via the Wisconsin side. The limited gearing created much fear of our one serious climb: about two miles up the Bay City Hill. This hurts even on "fast" bikes of 10 to 27 gears. Many individuals and small groups of faster bikers passed us on this popular Wisconsin side. While stopped in Maiden Rock, we watched a group of about 35 ride by, doing Twin Cities biker Jane Lincoln's birthday Ride. We cheered the Lincolns as they passed and they looked decidedly puzzled.
For some, it was the longest ride in many a year on an upright bike of any kind or "wedge" as theyıre called by dedicated "bent" riders and, for many, it was bikes old enough for AARP membership. Weather also helped make it memorable. A first day rain shower soaked those who hadn't sought shelter. More authentic was the English like all-ride rain for the next day's 30 mile return on the Minnesota side.
In summary, it was a 70 mile highly scenic ride along a naturally dammed-up Mississippi River segment lined by forested rock bluffs. But it wasn't just a ride, it was a happening. We rode together, talked to each other, stopped at every visitable place: overlook, interpretive sign, and most places food could be bought. Jon had prepared a guide book of sights and decorated with illustrations from a 1939 Raleigh catalog. We all had Saturday dinner together in the Grumpy Old Men's Slippery's Bar and Restaurant. We read how the Indian maiden Winona precipitated herself and then later experienced of rain precipitating itself. It was a return to the fellowship of the ring, chainring of course, and only one per bike please. British accents were emerging as we traveled on and admired old Raleighs, Moultons, and one beautiful restored Bates. One rider had an Armstrong and we thought "why not?" There are bikes makes Lemond, Merckx, and other racers, why not Armstrong? New friendships were made this two days and likely a new ride tradition as well.
The riders and their bikes:
Richard Booth from Illinois, 1951 Raleigh Lenton
Dave Brierley, Armstrong
Chris Cleveland, 1951 Bates
Ron Grogg, Moulton Mark 1
Michael Knutson, Raleigh DL-1 Roadster
Terry Osell, Osell Custom
Noel Robinson, Philips
Doug Shidell, Raleigh Sports (one of Jon's)
Jon Sharratt, Moulton Mark I
Melanie Steinborn, Moulton Mark I
Dave Siskind, Raleigh Sports
Mark Stonich, Moulton Mark II
Ron Storm, Raleigh Sports
A friend of Noel, Glen "Sunny" Nelson, drove our overnight gear to Wabasha and we met Gregg Westigard in Wisconsin who had ridden cross country in 1961 who joined us for dinner on Saturday. One other biker, Dean Hanson, met us at the start with his old Raleigh Clubman but didn't ride.