Little Tex completed the 2011 Lake Pepin 3-Speed Tour but passed away shortly before last year's event. The author brought a framed photo of Tex on the ride in May 2012.
Little Tex completed the 2011 Lake Pepin 3-Speed Tour but passed away shortly before last year's event. The author brought a framed photo of Tex on the ride in May 2012.

From the get-go, I knew the Lake Pepin 3-Speed Tour was going to be different. While the start venue in Red Wing, Minnesota, was rather normal (a parking lot, vehicles with bike racks, registration tables, etc.), spandex and carbon fibre were nowhere to be seen. Riders dressed in tweeds, Bermuda shorts or, for the ladies, classy dresses. They lovingly hefted shiny steel bikes off racks. Most often the bikes were British steeds equipped with Sturmey Archer three-speed rear hubs.

We were about to embark on the May 2012 edition of a ride that would recall a different era. An era long gone in Britain and one that likely never existed on this side of the pond. A time before WWII when cycle touring was more about what you saw, who you met and what you ate or drank than how far or fast you went. We were heading into a time warp. Kind of "Downton Abbey" without the drama. Comfort, conversation and ceremony would be hallmarks of the experience.

Read the entirety of Phil Van Valkenberg's account of the Lake Pepin 3-Speed Tour in the May 2013 print edition of Silent Sports. To order a copy and/or subscribe to the magazine, call Cathy at 888/706-4045.