|Stephen and his 1953 Raleigh Sports|
The day was a pretty good one: partly cloudy, high in the upper sixties, with a slight chance of showers. One of Portland’s biggest regular bicycle events, Sunday Parkways, was also happening right before the ride (this detail was intentional.) All in all a good day for a Three Speed Ride!
At about 4pm eight people and their three speeds met up at Gammans Park, one block from Arbor Lodge Park in North Portland, right off the Sunday Parkways route. Eight was an okay turnout, but to be honest I was hoping for a bit more. (I need to figure out a better way to connect with the latent Portland three speed community!) Still, everyone on this ride had a three speed, which is better than the last two!
And what three speeds were there? Besides my old warhorse Raleigh Wayfarer, we had:
- A couple of 1970’s era Raleigh Sports. The brown women’s frame was in particularly good shape.
- A Brompton. Okay, since Bromptons usually have that weird double cog action, it’s a six speed. But it uses a good ol’ Sturmey-Archer three-speed hub as the base of its gearing, so I’ll let it slide.
- A beautiful old Sears Fleetwood, resplendent in chrome. (American bike-makers tended to like the chrome a bit better than the Brits.) Originally this Sears came with the dreaded Shimano “333” hub, but the owner replaced the wheel with one with a Sturmey-Archer hub when that one died.
- In the modern bike department, not one but two Linus three-speeds. Kirk won his in a raffle at Portland State University during bike commute month. But the bigger deal is that April just bought a new Linus mixte at Clever Cycles earlier in the day! This was the big debut ride!
- It would take something special to top the all-chrome Sears to make “Best In Show” (if I was even awarding such things. And something special it was: Stephen’s 1953 Raleigh Sports. He bought this bike at an estate sale a few years back. As far as he can tell, it’s only had one owner, someone who went to the University of Oregon in Eugene in the mid-50’s (see license plate!) Not much has been done to the bike since then. Note the full chaincase, matching pump, and Dynohub (with working lights!)