Society of Three Speeds

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Mark’s New London 3-speed is enlivened with (retro-) modern parts, including alloy rims and cranks, a new saddle, alloy fenders, and durable tires.  Feeling that the bike is not as great as the sum of its parts, he seeks a new frame to replace the gas-pipe tubing of this old English klunker.  This old Trek road frame might have worked well as a host for his parts, but it wasn’t meant to be.  There are countless other candidates within reach.  Many older road frames with average tire clearances will do– too tight, and the 38mm tires will rub the chain stays, too wide and the caliper brakes will not reach the rim.  The considerations for a 700c to 26 x 1 3/8″ conversion (622mm to 590mm) are much the same as a 650b conversion.  A 26 x 1 3/8″ wheel is also referred to as 650A, and at 590mm it is 6mm taller than a 650b wheel, which is 584mm.  In total, the considerations are about the same for either conversion.

Original parts: New London steel frame, Sturmey-Archer hub and top-tube shifter, front hub, front lamp, stem and handlebars.  Upgrades: VO 50.4 BCD cranks, Honjo fenders (now painted black), Schwalbe Delta Cruiser tires (replaced with Marathon Plus), Sun CR-18 polished rims, Tektro long-reach dual pivot caliper brakes, VO city bike brake levers, and MKS Sylan Touring pedals.

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Mark is a mechanic at Two Wheel Drive in Albuquerque, NM.

I recently received notice in the post that I am the 18th member of the Society of Three Speeds, much to my surprise, as I have never owned a three speed bicycle.

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Join the Society of Three Speeds!  Membership dues are only $7 until April 8th, at which time they will return to $10.  Act now.  Three speeds is all you need!

Rule #1: “I will endeavor to promote three speeds as a viable means of transportation.”

Thanks for thinking of me Shawn.

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Shawn is also the real-life character behind the bicycle and travel comics, Urban Adventure League and Ten Foot Rule.