Wisconsin by Three Speed – Part 1

IMG_9222 I wanted to differentiate my Instagram posts for this part our our tour experience from the Lake Pepin Three Speed Tour with a unique hashtag.  I chose #WIx3spd.  Since the three of us traveled a goodly distance to participate in the Lake Pepin event, we decided to make the most of our travels by adding on three more days of self-supported touring in the SW Wisconsin Driftless Region.  This post covers roughly half of that.

IMG_9223 We arrived at the Goose Island Campground near La Crosse in the dark, and in the midst of a cold front blowing in with force.  The warm, humid air of the Red Wing/Wabasha area was quickly being replaced with unseasonably coolness.  It was a blustery 40 degrees as we brewed our coffee, ate our breakfast, and sorted our gear for departure.

IMG_9226 IMG_9228 We finally did escape for our journey, but needed to traverse La Crosse from south to north before reaching the much anticipated rail trail.

IMG_9229 Then there were miles and miles of no traffic, quiet trails.

IMG_9231 IMG_9234 IMG_9235 IMG_9236 IMG_9243 This is what I get for forcing a posed group photo.

IMG_9249 Yes, we’re on three speeds and touring with all our gear.  And we’re liking it.

IMG_9250Monday lunch in bustling downtown West Salem.

IMG_9251 IMG_9253 Sometimes, we’d just stop to look around and think about how lucky we were.

IMG_9254 IMG_9256 IMG_9259 Pro three speed touring rig.

IMG_9260 IMG_9261 This event was Shawn’s vision.  He planned the route, pitched the use of our three speeds, and we took the bait.  I’ve done plenty of overnighters, but I learned much about multi-day touring from this man.

IMG_9266 This was a fun stop where we had a lovely chat with the lady inside.  As it turns out, however, we ended up using some of her information that turned into a bit of less-than-positive adventure.

IMG_9273 IMG_9275 IMG_9277 IMG_9281 After riding fairly straight and level rail trails for a few hours, we were eager for some new interesting scenery.  We eventually made it to a long tunnel (more than 3600 feet, I think) and rode right through a hillside.

IMG_9283 IMG_9286 IMG_9287 IMG_9290 IMG_9293This is where we spent Monday night…Norwalk Village Park.  The information provided to us by the kind lady in Sparta helped us decide to stop here instead of riding on to Wilton.  Because, yes, the showers would be available.  It was cold and windy, but this city park restroom was heated, had showers, and had hot water.  Unfortunately, the restrooms had also been so “defiled” (as Shawn phrased it), that we tended to use the women’s side instead…and then only minimally.  At least we had a fierce “guardian lion” to keep us safe.

You might not be able to tell it in my two photos of Steve above, but this is also where on Tuesday morning that Steve informed us that he had been struck with vertigo so severe he thought he couldn’t ride anymore.

IMG_9296 IMG_9297 Steve’s news had us scratching our heads and exploring options and alternatives.  Eventually, he decided that he could probably make the 5-6 miles (including another shorter tunnel) to Wilton, where he had booked a hotel room for two nights.  So we broke camp, rode carefully to Wilton, deposited Steve in his hotel room, and found him some make-do medication in the local convenience store.  And we left him there.

IMG_9301 IMG_9302With a fair amount of sadness (and guilt), Shawn and I pedaled out of Wilton and into a completely different tour experience.  Not only did we have a man down, but the terrain was about to become more challenging.

17 thoughts on “Wisconsin by Three Speed – Part 1

  1. Wonderful that you were able to do this with everything greened up yet before bug season. The Wisconsin Bike Federation has fantastic maps for cycling that state. We rode the Eloy-Sparta trail a few years ago on a tour. Those tunnels sure save a lot of tough climbs!

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  3. Great adventure! I’m intrigued by the hammock for actual sleeping all night in. What brand do you have? Any advice regarding them? What do you do if there’s no trees (sometime less in the West)?

    • I’ve got a Hennessy Hammock with the zipped entry bug net. It’s one of the least expensive models.

      My only advice would be, if you do not sleep well on the ground, would be to get one. Camping is hugely more fun now. There are many great options out there today, and I didn’t really do much research myself. I knew I’d need a bug net down here, so when I spotted the Hennessy package it just looked right to me. Sometimes I wish I had a larger tarp. The only other thing I’ll mention is that you need to take extra measures to stay warm when you have air circulation under the hammock. In my case, that’s mostly a good thing because I can now extend my camping season deeper into the summer at both ends. I don’t sleep well when the low temperature is above 80 degrees.

      What to do if no trees? Well, I’ve used column supports for picnic table covers (hammock oriented diagonally above the picnic table), and one time I tied my hammock to one end of a picnic table (and one tree). But I generally try to plan ahead a little to arrange for some kind of hammock support. Since I didn’t know how things were going to work out up in Wisconsin, I was prepared to lay my hammock on the ground and tie the ends to a couple of bicycles to form a kind of tent. But it all worked out fine up there, and I was able to sleep blissfully suspended each night.

  4. hi,
    are there anywhere more pictures or infos about this wonderful orange rivendell? i’m especially interested in what kind of shifters are used.

    greetings from germany

    carsten (grasschwein)

    …..sorry for my scary english 😉

    • There are some older posts in my blog that describe the conversion of the Rivendell Quickbeam I normally have configured with a fixed gear to a Nexus three speed internal gear hub. I made the change to participate in the annual Lake Pepin Three Speed Tour. Shifting is handled with a Sturmey-Archer thumb shifter mounted on the stem.

      I’m short on time at the moment, but I might be able to find them and send links later. If you want to search in the meantime, it would have been 2013 or later, and probably late 2013 or early 2014.

      • I found a picture with intalled Shifter in the Archiv posted in March 2014. I am looking for something instead of the Nexus Twistshifter and hope the SturmeyArcher will do the Job well.

      • The SA shifter is very convenient on the stem. It is indexed and, when adjusted well, shifts properly to the right gear. It isn’t perfect, but performs better than the grip shifter (in my opinion).

      • Thanks for your help. So i will try to get a Shifter and mount it to my bike.

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