|The 2015 Lake Pepin 3-Speed Tour|
Date(s): May 16 & 17, 2015. Album by STO. Photos by STO. 1 - 72 of 72 Total. 15249 Visits.
|The Missing Man Formation|
The 2015 Lake Pepin 3-Speed Tour was expected to be a difficult one. As the Nutters gathered in Red Wing the main subject was the weather. Missing from the start was a good forecast; rain was predicted for both days and Sunday was predicted to be severe but we pressed on with our opening festivities anyway. John Palmer read the letter from the Queen; she apologised again for not being present but wished us well and congratulated us on carrying the spirit of the United Kingdom upon which the sun never set, blah, blah, blah. The Vicar did a bang-up job with the Blessing of the Bicycles and soon he bid us to “Go forth and ride!”
With that, we were off. Ian and I hopped on the old Saxon tandem and soon I realised that proper tyres were missing; not more than a mile into it, the rear tyre broke a bead and the tube failed explosively. I managed to get it to the side of the road and both Ian and I were relieved. As we changed the tyre and tube (thanks to Andy and Noah) an unidentified gent rode up and wished us a safe journey on behalf of Dave Brierley. We scratched our collective heads because Dave was missing; having moved to Connecticut months before. The unidentified gent was his brother-in-law delivering a long-distance message.
Pressing on, we had a quick stop for some ice cream at Flat Pennies then faced the issue; the Bay City Hill is the nemesis of all the Riders of the Realm. Up we went, sometimes riding, sometimes walking, but it was up indeed. Some gathered at the top to catch their breath and courage but some (Ian and I) pushed off quickly and plummeted down the backside. The BCH is always a thrill but try it on a heavy tandem sometime and the term “terminal velocity” may have a new meaning.
A few more hills found us welcoming the hospitality of the Smiling Pelican Bakery. Sondra had prepared Bakewell Tart as the feature of the day and it was delicious. Many Nutters were overcome and had no choice but to nap in the garden or chat on the porch. We lingered as long as possible but the call of the road was unmistakable. Off we went, admiring the scenery, ignoring the slight headwind and enjoying every minute.
Just outside of Stockholm a front tyre problem nearly had us over the guardrail; another defective wire bead caused us to walk the ¼ mile into town. A tyre, tube and rim strip change went well but the highlight of Stockholm was the pie; chicken pot pie and vegetable pot pie to be precise.
On to Pepin; Marlis, Jeff and Rob made an important find on the Municipal dock; 2 gents with a pontoon boat were willing to transport the group, including bicycles, down to Wabasha. The first SAG ferry! If possible, we would like to arrange this for next year as well.
The rest of the non-aquatic Riders of the Realm had to trudge on through the Chippewa River delta and on to [Lord] Nelson. The renamed [Lord] Nelson Creamery provided ice cream for those needing a break, the rest, including the Saxon crew, pressed on to Wabasha.
The Eagle’s Nest provided a comforting sight and Jan and Jim provided a hearty meal for everyone; nothing missing here. Dark clouds and threat of heavy rain ended the evening early so we could not do our usual howl-a-long.
Sunday morning dawned with hope that the showers would continue to be missing but of more immediate importance was Ian; he was worn out and would be unable to continue. Now my stoker was missing and I was faced with the task of riding solo on the Saxon. Formidable it seemed. I faced the issue head-on and decided to load my gear in the Lorry to lighten up as much as possible. I had ridden the old Iron solo before and knew it shouldn’t be much trouble. The trouble would be the same as riding 2-up; the hills. At any rate, we had plenty of egg bake, oatmeal, pastries and fruit to get us to Lake City. After many good-byes, handshakes and hugs I was off.
In case of trouble, Melanie stayed close on the Moulton and we both flew down the road with the big tailwind. A little extra effort got me up the hills and the old Iron handled perfectly with only the captain on board.Lake City came up quickly and we were busy with the Brew-Up by 11am. In short order, blankets were spread, stoves were bubbling, crisps, cheese, tea, and sandwiches were appearing everywhere. Pimms Cups were a treat (where did Troy find fresh cucumber?) as well as Port and perhaps a spot of brandy for medicinal purposes. Again, nothing was missing here. Eventually, Noah and Andy Holzer were declared the winner of the newly-named Malcom Merriweather Trophy.
We wanted to linger all afternoon but the skies were getting dark and we wanted to gather at the old stone Wall in Old Frontenac. A cherished spot, this, and a welcome tradition; we chat, take more than a few photos and linger. The architecture of this neighbourhood is comforting and reassuring in a way that is missing in all modern architecture.
We eventually left that lovely spot and many Nutters chose an alternate route. Hill Avenue, Ski Road or Flower Valley Road to name a few. It’s all an adventure, of course, and these lovely roads are a way to make it last just a wee bit longer. Red Wing was the final destination and a wonderful place to bring the Tour to a close.
We all have voids in our lives; whether it is a missing stoker, friends or opportunities but we all press on. Not from desperation, but of hope. Eventually we fill that void with an alternate; new friends, routes, abilities and vistas. What better way to travel this path than the humble 3-speed.