In this second week of the Three Speed October Challenge I completed the minimum criteria of three rides of at least three miles. A pair of autumn snowstorms and other logistical problems limited the number of three speed rides and frustratingly prevented me from bringing my third bike into play again. Next week. . .
Day One: Sunday
The snowfall that began on Saturday continued through the night and into Sunday morning. I lingered about the house once again before heading outside. I wheeled my trusty grocery-getting Raleigh 20 Three-speed out of the garage and through the garden, ducking under branches sagging under the weight of the heavy, wet snow.
This ride turned out NOT to be qualifying ride as it was less than the required distance but I include it anyway in the interest of promoting the practicality of three-speeds.
I’d like to claim that the riding conditions were like this:
. . .but that was just a gust of wind blowing snow off the trees. It was actually fairly pleasant out and looked more like this:
The snow was already starting to melt on the streets so the trip to the grocery store was a sloppy, slushy ride but the fenders did their job. Once I was finished shopping I loaded up the R20 with the goods. The small wheels and low center of gravity makes this bike practical little cargo carrier. That old two-stay pletscher rack has been often loaded up with far heavier loads than I suspect it was ever meant for – in this case 40 pounds of kitty litter plus two panniers of food.
Later in the day, I brought out the Raleigh Superbe for a qualifying ride of about 16km, heading down to Whyte Ave for a burger, beer and socializing at the Next Act Pub. By that time, the roads were clear of snow and the temperature had risen to merely bracing. I traveled by way of the Legislature grounds and across the high level bridge. While on the High Level I stopped to take a pic of the new bridge being constructed to replace to old Walterdale Bridge. It’s well behind schedule, but is going to be quite impressive when finally finished – in the pic one can see both the smaller old green bridge and the swooping arches of the new one.
Day Two – Monday
Monday was Thanksgiving, and my only ride was to pop out on the R20 to The Italian Center Shop to pick up some feast ingredients. This locally owned neighbourhood grocery store has everyday staples as well as lots of interesting imports and is one of my regular stops. It also has a nifty mosaic outside. This trip is usually about a three mile ride exactly, but in this case I forgot my lock and had to double back for it putting it easily over the qualifying distance.
Day Three – Tuesday
This day’s ride was another 20km round-trip commute on the Superbe. At -6°C it was another brisk morning, but beautiful under a wonderfully illuminated mackerel sky. Much of the snow had melted the previous day and now the resulting roadside puddles were frozen over with a thick layer of ice. The asphalt roads and paths, however, were dry and offered good traction. I was already close to being late for work but I stopped to make my annual frost angel.
And that was all the three speed rides I manged for the week. On Wednesday and Thursday I rode speedier bikes because I was on a tighter schedule. On Friday I rode my winter bike as another snowstorm rolled in, dumping a much greater amount snow, causing traffic havoc as cars slid and spun out on the slushy, icy roads. I chose my route carefully and avoided interacting with the city-wide bumper car madness.
BONUS THREE SPEED CONTENT!
On Saturday evening, I rode the winter bike to Bikeworks for a bit of after hours bike repair and socializing. While I was there I spotted this gem of a wheel that somebody had donated:
It didn’t take long for me to convince myself to buy the wheel to use for a future project. I’m thinking I’ll use it to build another winter bike. When temperatures drop below -20°C an old three speed hub keeps working perfectly while freewheels and freehubs sometimes freeze up. And of course, the enclosed drum brake is perfect for nasty winter riding conditions.