Before you leave thinking this is just another ride report from yet another ‘bike ride’, please take in the description of this event.
This is a tour on 3-speed bikes (requirement)
English bikes (almost essential, at least a Sturmey/Archer hub)
Pre-war dress (tweed!)
Think about that picture.
A line of 30-50 white tailed Raleigh 3-speed bikes lined up surrounded by lots of tweed.
Now think of seeing a mile of black upright bikes with wool and tweedy prewar fashon rolling by.
Quite a site even if you don’t do vintage. If you do, there’s more than just Raleighs present. Many prewar bikes make the trip.
Every 6 to 10 miles, they stop.
All day they ride past beautiful scenery, lie in the grass with a glass of wine, chat with each other while rolling along, help a fellow rider, make tea on an amazing vistas, enjoy a piece of pie on the porch and a pint on the patio.
The old English way of going for a bike ride is the most laid back I can think of. The bikes are made to haul a modest load (picnic basket, bottle of wine), are sturdy and comfortable. A rolling stroll through the countryside with English manners.
Now the ride report:
5AM- Awake with much anticipation
6AM- Arrive to pick up riding companion
8ish- Redwing starting area. Registration, drop off gear in the lorry, wander, chat and drool over the amazing collection of vintage bikes.
Opening ceremony -Tongue in cheek blessing of the bikes, quite funny complete with multi page bible(ish) read along and song handout done by real vicar in collar.
9ish- Roll out, not everyone, just sort of leave when you’re done chatting in the parking lot.
From here there will be no real time references.
Nice long line of white tailed bikes rolled across ol’ Miss and proceeded to take a variety of routes which all seemed to meet at Bay City.
Bay City hill-longest climb at the start of the ride. Good thing I had a flask of brandy along…reward for the climb, courage for upcoming plunge downhill (these are old vintage bikes remember).
Somewhere near the Maiden rock, we found that a crank cotter pin could be replaced at a wayside. Full selection of pins with pin press and experienced mechanic, right there at the wayside. Just when my riding companion needed one. Much thanks and a beer at the last stop of the day were offered and accepted.
On to the Village of Maiden Rock for a pint and some food on Oly’s patio. Then fresh rhubarb pie on the porch of Smiling Pelican Bake Shop. Oh my.
Stockholm was next inline, several blocks of stores and shops, population- 66. I think every resident must have their own business, not an empty store front. We had a pint at Gelly’s after strolling around town and listening to the live music playing in the park.
A stop in Pepin is recommended. The ride through the marsh is long, straight and boring. Kind of a green tunnel with bad bridge seams. The rise out of the marsh is almost a revelation. Suddenly there are the great views again.
Neson just around the corner, a stop at Nelson Creamery for ice cream or a pint of micro-brew, your choice.
One more up and over into Wabasha and meet at Eagle Nest Coffee.
Camping in Malone Park with the geese.
A pint or so at Eagle Nest
Diner (Irish Stew) and a pint at Olde Triangle Pub
Couple pints at Slippery’s
Time for bed.
Morning coffee (fresh ground) before tearing down camp.
Ride around town.
Meet at Eagle Nest, discuss how MN doesn’t allow Bloody Mary’s before 10AM on Sunday. Breakfast of egg bake, fruit, various breads, coffee, OJ, still no bloody’s…
Rollout about 10ish
We found our Bloody’s at Port 104 in Lake City before the Brew Up. We needed it, a flat on the ol’ Raleigh got us the use of a wrench and a new tube from our fellow riders about half way to town.
The Brew Up is a group tea event in Ohuta Park. What can I say? A hundred people making tea at a park, in prewar clothing and riding vintage bikes. About it…
A visit to a civil war era residential area is next. Why? Well, an old stone wall of course. We’re all full of tea, time to stop for a nice cigar or pipe filled with tasty tobacco. Not a requirement, mostly another nice place to stop and chat.
A ride through Frontenac State Park. Quick stop to realize the Raleigh had a stripped rear axle bolt causing the balding tire to rub on the chainstay. Onward, up and down Hill Ave (gravel).
Straight to Redwing from there, end of the ride.
I believe we did about 85 miles, drank 4 or 5 Bloody Mary’s each, a few pints and most of the brandy in my flask.
Can’t wait ’til next year.
Please visit the Lake Pepin 3-speed Tour website for a much better description of the event.