First of all, apologies for the late production of this issue of FS News - largely due to problems with the computers, which have meant reloading most of the application software onto them - a very time consuming process. Perhaps because we are entering the quiet season for cycling, there is not a lot to report this time anyway.
The web pages on our own site are progressing slowly - the computer problems mentioned earlier have prevented us spending the time on making many additions.
Happily my own Brompton is now back on the road - many thanks to Nicola at Brompton for expediting despatch of the remaining parts. It is really good to have it available again, as it is so convenient and versatile on trips which involve longer train journeys. And though our local trains carry cycles free and with no restrictions, it is going to be particularly handy over the next couple of weeks, as the Motor Show at the NEC will make the trains very crowded, and a less easily folded and less compact bike is a real embarrassment in those conditions.
The newly modified Brompton had a baptism of water, rather than fire, on a visit to Bradford on Avon on 23-24th October. I rode from Bristol to Bradford on Avon on the Friday, when the weather was not bad, but torrential rain on the Saturday meant that at the end of a two hour ride (just passing the time before the start of a meeting) I was soaked and the bike was filthy from riding the canal towpath. This was my first outing in the wet with the shorter L type rear mudguard, and I now understand why a mud flap is regarded as essential by owners of this model - but why isn't one fitted as standard? The weather conditions and a heavy load in the front bag meant that it was difficult to assess the modifications, but the Alhonga brakes certainly inspired much more confidence than their predecessors, and the reduction in weight resulting from the elimination of dynamo lights and rear carrier, and the fitting of a carbon fibre seatpost, was certainly noticeable when carrying the bike.
The only problems were with the water and mud thrown up by the back wheel and a (front) puncture while riding the Kennet and Avon towpath - the third time I have punctured there in 4 visits on various bikes. Incidentally, I would advise avoiding that towpath at present - part of it is closed near Bathampton, and the temporary alternative is surfaced with coarse but soft material which makes pedalling very hard work I was in bottom gear on the flat. Other parts of the towpath seem to have had a fine, sticky, sandy dressing put on, which also makes cycling hard work, and very dirty if it is at all damp. The test ride of the Brompton on 22nd showed up a more serious problem, which was that I had not shortened the new chain enough, with the result that it came off the fixed idler and the chain skipped on even the lightest loads. When replacing the chain, keep the old one to get the length right, and remember that in the normal riding position the tensioner arm should be almost horizontal, and almost as tight as it will go. A reminder of this, with illustrations, will be on the web pages soon.
A report on all the mods to my Brompton, and some other suggested improvements, will appear on the web pages in the next few days.
A couple of articles which members of the UK User Group have sent for the next issue of the Bike Friday User Group UK Newsletter are being put on the web pages in the next few days, well ahead of publication of the paper version of the newsletter. In the one, Ray Racy describes some of the interesting improvements he has made to his Pocket Rocket. The Bike Friday User Group UK web pages are at http://www.whooper.demon.co.uk/bfriday or you can get there via a link from the Folding Society pages.
There is not much to report this time, but we did capture a picture of the new (at least to the UK) Bernds, which is being sold by Avon Valley Cyclery. You can find the photo (taken with a new digital camera!) in the news section of the web pages - see the index at http://www.whooper.demon.co.uk/foldsoc
Keep 12th December free
Most of you will probably already have seen an announcement about this date, which is when the notorious Xmas Pudding Ride gets under way again. Survivors of last year's run out to Essex have petitioned for another bash. So this year we head for Uckfield, Sussex (about 1 hr from London Victoria) followed by a little cycling and a lot of lunching. See how many puddings are on the menu this year! Trained professionals are scouring the area for a suitable hostelry as we speak. Expressions of interest to Rob Cope please (firstname.lastname@example.org), for some idea of numbers. More details as we get them...
Following the successful get together on Sunday 18th October, regular meetings are likely to be 3rd Sunday of the month, but not in December (everyone should go to the Pudding Ride instead). Venue not confirmed: watch Brompton Talk/ A2B-Mail or email Rob Cope (email@example.com) for details. More information will also appear in FS News if it is available in time before the event.
The longer established monthly events are due to go ahead in November - Mud Dock on Saturday 7th and Origami Phoenix on Saturday 14th. The provisional plan - not finally confirmed - for the Origami Ride is a visit to the National Motorcycle Museum which is close to the NEC and an easy ride from the usual start point in Meriden. Watch the Origami web page for further information - http://www.whooper.demon.co.uk/origami
The computer problems mentioned before have unfortunately prevented much progress on the topics mentioned in the last issue, but at least some of the reports should be out Real Soon Now.
Finally a correction to a comment made in the latest issue of A to B Magazine - on page 4 there is a reference to "the normally unflappable Mike Hessey"; anyone who knows me will be all too well aware that I am extremely flappable!
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Last updated: 31 January 1999