From a cycling point of view, it's the quiet season at the moment. The weather here in the UK does not encourage much cycling - grey, wet, and windy, or alternatively cold. Because this reduces people's interest in cycling, it also makes it a quiet time for announcements by manufacturers, so there's not much to report at the moment. At times like this a folder is particularly useful, since we can let the train take the strain for more of the journey, and reduce the cycling element. Travelling to and from work in the better weather I usually don't use the nearest station, but prefer a longer ride. When it's wet and miserable, as at present, I can use the nearest station. With a folder, even a pleasure ride can be truncated quite easily if the weather deteriorates badly.
To cheer us up in this dismal weather, we've added a photo gallery to the web pages, with some images to remind us of enjoyable events and rides in better weather. The gallery will be updated on a regular basis, so drop in and take a look whenever you feel like it. At present we have a small selection of my pictures available, but the gallery will be extended, and I hope soon to have some of Graham McDermott's superb images to include. Please let us have more pictures for future use - you can post prints, slides or negs (slides and negs in 35mm or APS only please), or email digital images (JPG format, and not more than 50K each image please). If you want anything you post to be returned to you, please enclose a suitable SAE. You can find the gallery on the web pages at http://www.whooper.demon.co.uk/foldsoc/gallery/gallery.html
An oddity of the working of the web pages is that if I change the main index page, it will not necessarily become available immediately. If you want to be sure of seeing the most current version of the main index page, it's a good idea to specify the URL http://www.whooper.demon.co.uk/foldsoc/index.html
Those of you who do not have a full set of FSNs may be pleased to hear that back numbers are now being made available through the web pages. It takes quite a lot of work to format them suitably, so although all issues are listed on the index page, some may not be available immediately. The URL for the index to these back numbers is http://www.whooper.demon.co.uk/foldsoc/fsn/fsn.html
The dismal weather has been accompanied by an abnormally high number of punctures - I've now had two in only about 300 miles. Both were caused by thorns, and occurred on the Birdy - one front and one rear puncture. Another Birdy owner warned me that getting the tyres on and off is difficult, but with the first puncture, on the rear, the tyre came off quite easily, and went back without the need for a lever. Oddly, though, the front puncture was much more troublesome, and I had a real struggle getting the tyre off; replacing it was slightly easier, but still hard work. However, these are the first punctures on the Birdy in about 1100 miles, and the bike is still on the original tyres, though the back one is now looking rather worn.
While the weather is bad, and riding is curtailed, it's a good opportunity to do some maintenance on the bike(s). My NeWT (Bike Friday New World Tourist) has now had the V-brake braze-ons fitted, but due to pressure of work and a foot injury I've not been able to go and recover the parts. I hope to get the parts this coming week, and do a bit of testing before having the frame resprayed (powder coated). There will be more news on this soon, I hope. The Birdy is also due to have some improvements made - I plan to uprate the gears to give a wider range, and in particular more low gears, and I hope to be able to fit a Brompton bracket to the front so that I can take advantage of the very useful bar-bag mounting bracket from Steve Parry which was mentioned in the last issue of FSN.
The other thing we can do while the weather is not very suitable for riding is to plan some rides for when conditions improve. As mentioned in the last issue, I've got two expeditions planned already, with another one still under consideration. Which leads conveniently to the next subject
There is no May Folder Forum this year, although a November Portmeirion event is planned once again. Suggestions of a very unofficial arrangement whereby those interested might meet at a designated time and place over perhaps a weekend do not seem to have come to anything at present, but there are still plenty of opportunities for us to meet up at the regular monthly rides. The Bristol Mud Dock events are continuing to take place on the first Saturday of every month, and Origami Rides take place on the second Saturday of the month in the Midlands. Please remember that although the usual meeting point for Origami rides is the Tearooms at Meriden, the meeting point for the February ride will be at Coventry station. The London event, meeting at the Pagoda in Battersea Park at 2.00pm on the third Sunday of the month, now seems to have become established as a regular event too. For more information on these and other events, please look at the relevant section of the web pages http://www.whooper.demon.co.uk/foldsoc/events.html
On the subject of events, some Moulton enthusiasts have been asking when the 1999 Bradford on Avon weekend will take place, as it was not mentioned in the last issue of The Moultoneer, and the January/February issue of that magazine has been delayed. I'm told that the relevant dates are 4-5th September. These dates were in the last issue of FSN, and are also on our web pages. The dates of a number of other Moulton Bicycle Club rides are also on the web pages. The most up to date news on Moultons can usually be found on our web pages!
Staying with Moultons, New Series models are now in the hands of quite a number of enthusiastic owners. Most of these seem to be allowing the bikes to hibernate for the winter, but the intrepid Peter Evans, undeterred by the minimal clearance between mudguard and tyre, is continuing to use his, and indeed he seems to have stopped using his other bikes, so enthusiastic is he over his new acquisition. In one email he reported that he had successfully managed to fit the Schwalbe City Jet tyres (now apparently out of production), even though officially the Continental GP is the only suitable tyre because of the small clearances. Rumours and counter rumours continue to circulate regarding whether AM has any plans to increase the mudguard/tyre clearance on the NS Moultons; our best guess is that no major change will be made, but perhaps a modification to the mudguard and its mounting may provide slightly more comfortable clearance, although still limiting the choice of tyres.
Turning to Brompton, it seems that the enthusiastic reception given to the special silver-coloured example which was briefly on display at Phoenix Cycles last year may result in some new colour options being made available on production models.
Valley Cycles, the UK distributors of Bike Friday, have a number of bikes for sale at good prices - for more information see the Sales and Wants section on the web pages at http://www.whooper.demon.co.uk/foldsoc/sandw.html or telephone Valley Cycles on 01933 778170, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Copyright (C)1999 Ferrets Anonymous
Last updated: 31 January 1999