There is a nice article in the Boston Globe today about the local popularity of vintage 3-speeds. It mentions the Boston Retro Wheelmen, as well as other vintage bicycle resources in the area – including the Boston 3-Speed Club, Boston Tweed, Old Roads, Chic Cyclist, and Lovely Bicycle. Though I did not exactly say the quotes attributed to me in the manner they are phrased (I am not a part of “the slow movement” and I did not get a bike in order to “look good in the saddle”), I am pleased with the focus on vintage 3-speeds and with the recognition of their cultural significance in the Boston area.
En route to any of my daily destinations in Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston, I easily see dozens of vintage 3-speeds along the way. It never occurred to me that this was a special feature of our city, until I began to receive incredulous comments from readers in other parts of the country whenever I would post pictures of locally spotted 3-speeds. Why are there so many of them in Boston? Where are they coming from? These are questions I receive regularly from readers of Lovely Bicycle. I think the answer is in the history of Boston as both importer and manufacturer of bicycles for part of the 20th century, and I am hoping to post a well-researched article on this soon.
As for why so many people are buying and restoring vintage 3-speeds today? From my point of view, it is because they are simpler and more enjoyable to ride than most other bikes out there. This is a great secret that only a vintage 3-speed owner can know!