Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The "Unnoticed"

Since the early 70's and the beginning of my love relationship with the Raleigh Roadster I have come across many, "3 Speed People" Its not always obvious, but at special times of my cycling life, it comes out in conversation.
Most 3 Speed People don't consider them self as an athlete. They hardly look at them self's as a cyclist at all, but when the subject of bicycles comes up they in most cases say something like, "Oh I have a bike, Its just an old 3 speed." Embarrassed to admit there love for what they think wont be admired by someone riding some new 14 pound Carbon rocket.
Never once has the new "3 Speed Person" acquaintance taken me seriously when I say, "That's my favorite style of bike" It usually takes more story telling to convince the person that I'm in fact telling the truth.
Three Speed People have many similar traits. They love a good book. They love going somewhere on their 3 Speed and finding a shady spot to read a good book.
Don't get me wrong, most 10 speed folk like good books too, but if the shady spot part appeals to you, then maybe its time for a 3 speed.
Three Speed People don't wear special clothing for their rides. They wear clothing.

Three Speed People for the most part don't "Sprocket Talk" It bores them. They would rather talk of beautiful places and beautiful friends and beautiful times with beautiful friends in beautiful places. Slow going in a rush-rush world. Heads up and happy. They smile when they ride because it makes them do so. The challenge of heavy bike and 3 speeds never comes up. They would never think about how far they could ride or how fast. They never compare there "3 Speed Achievements" to other riders. They don't stand along side of friends bikes and squeeze brake levers and lift their bikes, Well maybe to see how heavy it is and not how light. I have always wanted to finish a time trial last on my Roadster with a "Mess of fish" in my wicker basket.
Three speed people like riding in the rain. They have fenders. They talk about the smells, the sounds, the lighting and the rides finish, usually at some beautiful spot. Three Speed People Love Life's simple pleasures as well as difficult tasks. The love people and special moments with friends. They dont need to try to be better, they just are because of just that. Three Speed People don't take them self's too seriously allowing them to at the same time take their surroundings, friends and family very seriously. They see more, find more, enjoy more. They eat real food on rides and not "Powerbars" They take the time to stop.

They use their bike to go to the beach. They ride to the store, to the library or just visit. They don't carry a cell phone to text, They prefer knocking on a door to say "Hello" rather "Thumbing" a keyboard. The "Walking Machine" and not much faster. A "Pace Line" to them is some part on some dirt path somewhere where they dismount, lift the bike and get back on the trail. If done right, its the shortest line. Let it fall and go play ball. Well, not fall. They carry more things, sometimes even their pets.

Sheldon and Cutler West

Three Speed People sometimes hear things like, "You rode from where on that?"

Here's where it becomes complicated: Three Speed People are. They can become over time, but just like putting on a Bunny Suit doesn't turn you into a rabbit, buying and riding a 3 speed, may not turn you into a 3 Speed Person. Its a way of life and a way of mind.

The 3 Speed Person is part of the New England scenery. They have been and will be. Roadster and Rider fit, Elegant and proper not always Understood and only sometimes, Unnoticed.


  1. Excellent!

    And yes I am a 3 speed person, have been for years. When I go for a ride, it turns into a ramble. Don't really care where I am going, it is all about the fact I am riding and seeing things.


  2. Nissy Dewey was a 3 speed person as well as Sheldon Brown and Dr. Cutler West. Deb Meyrson, Liz, Coops, Doug Harris, Warren, and a huge list of friends that caused me to write this post.
    Many riders are in fact 3 Speed People and the use of the bicycle (3 or more gears) helps them with there pleasant life style. Achievements are easier because there focused on their life and not just the Bicycle.

  3. Gosh. You have made my day! Well said. I just wish there were a few more of us in my neck of the woods. It's always a toss up between my DL-1 or the Pashley as to which I ride to the farmers market on Saturday morning, or to breakfast, or just to ride on a lazy afternoon. The calming is so wonderful, the ride so relaxed and enjoyable. It is truley a joy!

  4. Great post. I favor my DL-1 lately.