Monday, March 4, 2013

Society of Three Speeds

Something truly special happened on Sunday.  Shawn created magic.  This magic is called The Society Of Three Speeds.  I first heard about the ride when I came across a small printed handbill at a bike shop I visit regularly.  Always up for a new group to ride with, I dusted off my old three speed, picked out an appropriate outfit and showed up.
I'd never heard of the Society Of Three Speeds before, and for good reason.  This was the first meeting and ride ever.  It was announced that all riders on this maiden voyage were eligible for a free membership, and that we would be receive our membership kits later on the ride. 
Each rider introduced themselves and their bike and talked about why their three speed was especially special to them. A nice gentleman fixed my brakes so they'd stop squealing.  Another nice man tightened my seatpost so it would stop wiggling.  Everyone was proud of their bike and excited to share the story of how they found it and fixed it up.
We queued up in front of the closed off pavilion in Kenilworth Park while Shawn told us the history of the park and its name and quizzed us on who developed Laurelhurst Park (the answer is Miche).  After the photo shoot, we were off.
I was enchanted by the route for two reasons.  One, we were right in my neighborhood but I felt lost.  We took back ways and alley ways, cut-throughs and short cuts.  We rode on unimproved blocks and over the Reed footbridge.  Two, I've planned many rides and it was apparent that a lot of thought and care went into this short but adventurous romp. 
When we reached the foot of Mount Tabor, Shawn stopped and turned around to face us.  "This is the challenge part of the day" he announced.  We rode up the inactive volcano on our less-than-ten-speeds.  Some walked up stairs, others walked up streets, still others simply stood and huffed up the hill. 

At the top, enjoying the sunshine from the pavilion where the Tweed Ride will be starting this year, folks took out their thermoses and cookies and started heating water for tea.  I felt unprepared but put out my trail mix and hard candy to share anyway.  Folks even broke into spontaneous poem recitals, each about three speeds.
After snacks, Shawn, self-appointed President for life of the Society Of Three Speeds asked to step up one by one to receive our kits.  Each person was presented with a membership number and card, rule sheet, two stickers and four buttons, all handily stashed in a tiny bag.  I could barely contain my delight as he swore in the lot of us.
We pledged to ride our three speeds with immense pleasure, to never denegrate these humble bikes and something else which I've already forgotten.  Hopefully it wasn't that the rules of the Society are top secret and never to be shared or blogged about.  We are fifteen strong.  I am number eleven, but I'll never admit to it.


  1. I love this story. And the idea of this group!

  2. Love your photos, I just joined too! Hopefully being 12,000 miles away from Portland I won’t be subjected to any spontaneous poetry recitals.