BCU's Globe column #3 out today, topic: 3-speeds and tweed

Tweed Riders

Three styling riders at one of 2009's Tweed Rides.

In the 1970s, 10-speeds were de rigeur. Two decades later, mountain bikes were on every biker’s wish list, and most recently, “city bikes,” single speeds and “fixies” are as equally common. Somewhere, perhaps amid piles of half-constructed bikes and welding machinery, the barons of the bike industry are surely wondering to themselves: What will the next sales king look like?

Well, one dark horse candidate is gaining a small, growing and intensely loyal constituency. Some owners call it a “tank,” but for the more refined it’s commonly referred to as a 3-speed. The bike itself has been a common enough sight for over a century—big burly fenders with built-in reflectors and lights, chain guards, and internally-geared hubs, all on a super solid and heavy steel frame. All in all they generally weigh 10 to 25 pounds more than a common road bike.


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