Apr 4, 2011

TC3-SAS Grand Rounds Ride: April 16

The mid-April 3-speed ride tentatively proposed in my MBL post is on! Somebody from Wisconsin is coming in for it. If anybody travels all the way from Wisconsin for one of our humble 3-speed rides, I'll go with them - through hail if it comes to that.

So here ye, here ye:

The Twin Cities 3-Speed Adventure Society will be rolling out from Longfellow Grill at 11:00 AM on April 16. The plan is to do the Grand Rounds, but the management reserves the right to change that up if weather or other adversity stamps its authority on this ride.

I also got a question on the MBL thread today about how tolerant TC3-SAS is about the number of gears on the bikes at these events - they have a 4 or 5-speed works jammed into an AW 3-speed shell. The answer, of course, is that we of TC3-SAS are extremely tolerant, and celebrate diversity in drive trains as well as race, creed and gender and preference.

That question got me thinking about what the minimum qualifications - or membership guidelines - might be for TC3-SAS. Never one to miss an opportunity to meditate on trivial subjects, I reflected on this for an hour or so in the dentist chair today, so here's what I've concluded (on a provisional basis).

Lance Armstrong and I agree that it's not about the bike. While I'll be pumping up and down on an old 3-speed for these rides, I select that bike based on the ride experience it gives me rather than the bike itself. It's upright, it's slow, it's kind of quirky. It's low-tech....

Yes, this is an English bike, and it's in pretty good shape, but it's nothing to write home about. I got it for $40, it's from 1973 or so, and it's a "Sport", not the higher end Club model. Nothing special here. I'll most likely be wearing shants (aka knickers), some modern gloves and an expensive helmet, and a wool sweater or high-tech jacket; nary a stitch of tweed or a tea cup in my possession.

While we appreciate cool bikes for what they are - cool bikes -TC3-SAS is not a bike beauty contest (or a freak show, for that matter). Nor is it a faux fashion event. Wear what you like and what works for you. Ride what you like, too, for that matter. That said, I think it would be best if we stayed away from titanium and carbon fiber; not because we are luddites and neanderthals, but because titanium and carbon fiber are by-products of what I am seeking to avoid on these rides...

TC3-SAS is about freedom, movement, curiosity, empowerment and sense of adventure. It's about truly enjoying the places we go and the ride to get there and back. It's about moving slowly enough through our environment to really experience a sense of place and distance, and to realize a sense of accomplishment as well. It's not possible (for me at least) to really get a feel for a neighborhood or get the vibe of a town if I am time-trialing through it in the drops with my tongue flapping in the front spokes.

I think we are more interested in riders that are eager to enjoy a ride, explore their city and have fun. This is no geriatric toodle, but it's no-drop and anybody that gets too "testosterony" will be sent ahead to scout out a rest stop or buy treats for the rest of the group.

If you are the kind of rider who would get pissed off if the group stops to take a photo because it would screw your personal best time around Lake Calhoun, then TC3-SAS probably isn't your cup of tea - go drive to the ride and hit Black Dog or hook up with TCBC or something like that. On the other hand, if you want to go for a ramble, challenge yourself, meet some interesting people and enjoy the ride over the gear, this might just be the ticket.


  1. Would a vintage Schwinn Suburban be OK? I need more excuses to ride mine.

  2. Yes! Remove the aero bars and second-hand HED wheels and you'll fit right in.

  3. Where has TC3-SAS been all my life? I'm not cool enough to ride with the hipster sort, but I can dig this. I am in, unless it's very rainy, as old Stallion of the Night will rust terribly if she moistens.

  4. What a nice comment, Tori! We are redefining cool with this TC3-SAS thing. A Hipster bought a Phillips 3-speed at MMRB last week when I was there.

  5. Wow! Sounds like a really cool ride! Good luck and have fun! Love to be on it, but I'm over here in Portland.

    And by the way, we had a 3-Speed Ride over here a couple weeks ago: