Ride report: The 3-speed Sloth

Halfway through my trip to work on Monday, the first longer ride on my new 3-speed with studded tires, I knew what I’d write about it: I can’t tell whether the tires worked really well, or whether the roads weren’t icy.

Then I arrived at the snow and ice covered Eliza Furnace trail, and my opinion changed. The knobby, studded tires definitely make a huge difference compared to my normal almost-slicks. I don’t know how much of it is because of the rubber knobs and how much is the carbide studs, but the tires definitely inspire confidence on poor weather roads.

As for the bike itself, it’s not my new favorite ride, but it definitely serves a good purpose at this time of year. I thought the gearing was too high, until I readjusted my shifter cable and discovered I didn’t have 1st gear previously!

This bike makes a good winter rider for poor quality roads, providing a low enough gear to get up the hills without a dangerously fast gear for the potentially slippy downhills. The fenders kept my feet dry through the slush all week, and the toe clips let me wear my boots instead of cycling shoes.

I only wish I had another generator light on the front! Batteries are a bad deal.

  1. Nice mixte! What is it?

    Did you build up the rear wheel? I am still a fan of drum brakes. Especially in the wet weather we're having this week (wah, here in the land of milk n' honey, that is…).

    But, you know the axiom about beater(/winter) bikes, how they tend to get too fancy…
    =- Joe, of Walnut Creek

  2. This is a bit of an unknown bike. It is labelled "Z Series" as the brand and "Alpine 10" as the model, it seems. I originally got it for Marla, but it twisted like crazy with the kid seat on the rear. It's a lot better with the basket.

    Yes, this is the wheel I built up as described in a previous blog post. The hub is from an iBoB, who widened the hub spacing using a bit of creative brazing. The odd result is that with all the spacers on the left side, the wheel has a bit of reverse dish to keep the rim centered.

    I have nothing against hub brakes, I just don't have any 🙂 The tires are such a pain in the butt on this one that I'd hesitate to bother taking one off unless absolutely necessary. If I were going to spend too much on a front wheel, though, I'd get a hub brake and generator in one, I really miss my generator light.