Several new 3-speed Tourists gave us a record attendance of 47 Riders of the Realm. The weather was perfect and spirits were high as we began our day with historic markers, scenic overlooks and the ever-looming Bay City Hill. We celebrated the climb with a friendly gathering at the summit then the welcome plummet down the back side. We noticed a rare tailwind was starting to build and push us down river.
The Smiling Pelican survived the arrival of hungry Tourists and we laid claim to their garden as we lay in the grass and ate pastry, pie, quiche, torte and cookies. Our tradition of re-decorating their beautiful garden with rusty lumps of English iron has been firmly upheld.
The optional route to the top of Maiden Rock bluff was altered because of the discovery of a good map and advice from 3-speed Tourists familiar with the area. The route began on County Road AA; a Wisconsin “Rustic Road” and a cracker of a climb. Most everyone walked this vertical challenge and once to the top we realised what we were doing: a traditional English phenomena called Pass Storming! Turning off the pavement onto a dirt road we approached the kiosk provided by the Wisconsin Land Trust. To get to the overlook we were then required to ride through the fields, ruts and woods; traditional rough-stuff cycling! The view from the top was worth it; almost the entire length of Lake Pepin was visible. The descent into Stockholm was quite memorable indeed; the sweeping bends and high speed required a steady hand and complete faith in our Trusty Steeds as our velocity approached a record-breaking 40mph.
During lunch in Stockholm we upheld another 3-Speed Tour tradition: rain. It was light rain and not enough to don the capes but the tradition continues; we have never had a 3-Speed Tour without rain.
Riding the tailwind, the eager Tourists pressed on to more scenic overlooks and markers plus the familiar Depot Museum in Pepin. We hated to leave that familiar spot but we heard our calling: ice cream at the Nelson Cheese Factory. Nutters of the Realm are not known for watching the clock but after enjoying a cone (or 2) we realised there was only 2 hours before dinner so we pressed on, crossing the Mississippi and settling in Wabasha.
The Eagle’s Nest coffeehouse simply outdid themselves with a reception on the patio including English ale and inside we had live music from John Bernadot plus the Carrigan girls. Outstanding food was provided by the Wabasha Bicycle Club. Our Keeper of the Cask Dave Brierley declared the cask open and our glasses half full then we had our traditional toast to those who could not join us; indeed, they were sorely missed.
Sunday morning dawned clear and cold but Jim and Jan at the ‘Nest warmed us with more hospitality, excellent breakfast and hot tea. They were outside to bid us farewell as we began our return journey upstream. The wind was against us but had died a bit from the previous day and provided little resistance.
Some of us made a quick detour through Reads Landing for an interesting look at the local architecture but in short order we were back up on the highway and on our way over hill and dale.
Lake City provided a welcome break at the Chickadee Cottage Tea Room with scones and hot tea. Some 3-Speed Tourists explored the backroads out of Lake City and found an interesting gravel road that connected with the Old Frontenac optional route. The group gathered at the traditional spot along the old stone wall at Manypenny Avenue and Faribault Street for photos.
Pressing on, we quickly agreed to explore an interesting side-road around Frontenac State Park that promised a diversion from the busy highway. The gravel lane was a delight; well-maintained and very scenic. We passed through a narrow valley with old farms and soon found ourselves pass storming again! Most everyone walked the grade but a pair of fierce cycle-chasing dogs encouraged a re-mount and a quick sprint over the top. Descending the other side was very unusual; the downhill kept going and going until it seemed like we were below river level. It also provided our first casualty; Karl had a pinch flat on a one-lane bridge. Chris stopped to help and later they claimed the bridge was “…haunted by trolls”.
Rolling into Red Wing brought our little Bummel to a close. Hands were shaken, hugs were given and promises made to see each other again for another record-setting traditional tour.
Date(s): May 20, 21, 2006. Album by Jon Sharratt. Photos by Jon Sharratt unless noted. 1 - 106 of 106 Total. 9409 Visits.
Since finding this (self guided?) tour on-line last winter, I've been dying to find a way to go on it but alas, it was filled up by the time I discovered it. Plus, I didn't have a three speed other than an old Shimano hub, without the shifter arm, cable or changer. I don't know why they're so rare in this area, but English three's simply aren't to be found. I have discovered and purchased two three speeds, but they are in need of complete rebuilds, though, and they are both American made. I hope this won't keep us from riding this tour someday. I really would like to meet everyone. It sounds like such fun. - johann kuester, Sat, 4 Apr 2009 12:22AM
1 Scot McCollum and Carrie MelinEdit will be married next weekend.Edit "I've heard of riding iwth no hands, ..." View Comments...
2 Group Photo 2006 3STEdit Photo courtesy of Chris KostmanEdit