The Folding Society

Issue 51 - 25 April 2000


This weekend (29-30 April) is the Veteran-Cycle Club event at Kidderminster, with a jumble sale and the Equitable Silent Cycle Auction on the Saturday morning, and the Memorial Ride on Sunday. As this means I shall be busy on Sunday, this issue of FSN is going to members a little earlier than planned. I hope I may see some of you at the Memorial Ride - there are usually a number of Moultons, but not many folders, on this ride.

It was good to see both A to B and The Folding Society getting a mention in The Guardian on Saturday 8th April in their article "Top gear! A bike that takes the hike out of any old trip". Spread over 2 pages, this was, as you might expect, a fairly general article, with no new information for enthusiasts, but it was reasonably accurate and factual, rather than seeking to 'funny' at our expense, as is often the case in media coverage of specialist groups. Many thanks to Paul Stobbs for sending me a copy of the article, which I had not seen when it originally appeared.

Future direction

What do you want from The Folding Society and Folding Society News? I haven't had much feedback from members about whether they are happy with what we are doing at present, and any changes for the future. Perhaps no news is good news, and you are all satisfied with things as they are. Personally I think it is desirable to keep the whole thing very relaxed and informal, as it is at present. With A to B doing such an excellent job, we really don't need a paper magazine, and moving in that direction, or providing other services to members, would mean we would have to charge for membership. Apart from the obvious drawbacks to members of having to pay, this would introduce a lot more problems in terms of managing the finances, responsibilities etc, and after experiencing that in other clubs, I'd prefer to avoid it in future. 

Originally FSN was intended to be a very brief newsletter giving information about events, fresh news, etc. Somehow it has grown considerably from there, with some reviews, technical articles etc, and I'm very grateful to members for sending in a good supply of material to allow this to happen. However, the additional work this creates does present problems. Originally, a lot of material was put onto our web site for reference, but the increasing amount of time spent on FSN means that such material is now appearing in FSN instead - its not available in reference form on the web site, although of course all the back numbers of FSN are available there. I'd really like to improve the reference part of the site, but I'm not prepared to spend the time on doing both that and producing the current number and size of FSNs. The solution to this which I proposed some months ago was to produce a shorter version of FSN, which gave links to the web site which people could go to for detailed information. I still prefer this approach, but the reaction from the membership when it was proposed before was not very enthusiastic. I am attracted by this approach because it would enable the reference web site to maintained better, without creating more work for me, and it would also mean that some more specialist topics would appear there rather than being emailed to all members, many of whom may not be interested. I'd welcome any comments or suggestions - you can email me in the usual way at .

In the last editorial I touched on the subject of the range of choice of good folder now available to us. Apart from causing difficulties for those trying to choose which folder to buy, it presents us with difficulties in reporting on them all. Unfortunately none of the manufacturers - even those who we know quite well - seem to send us press releases about new products, so we have to rely on information from our network of Ferrets instead. To give a proper impression of these bikes, we really need to be able to test them, and not just for a couple of hours or days either - I think you need to live with a bike for at least a month to be able to assess it properly. Needless to say, as manufacturers don't even send us press releases, we don't usually get offers of free tests - short or long - of their products either. Instead we usually have to buy a bike in order to test it, and that means we are very restricted for financial reasons, and the type of bike which we are willing to spend our money on. The answer to this, unless we start getting offers of bikes to test, lies with our members. We need some reports from owners, particularly of bikes we haven't reported on yet, though alternative views on the more established makes would be very welcome as well. How about some reports from owners of Fold-Its, Tactics, Bernds, Strida 2s and Dahons of almost any type to start with? 


The Mystery Brompton Riders meet is due to take place from 12th - 14th May in Weymouth - despite the name, all folders and separables are welcome, or indeed members riding other types of cycle. This promises to be even more informal that the meeting last year - absolutely no preparations have been made, and there is no organiser that we have been able to identify. However, we hear a number of well known members are planning to be there, and I guess that we shall congregate around the Pavilion in the morning and evening to socialise and decide what to do and where to go. No doubt our activities will be influenced by the weather - let's hope it is better than it has been for most of April. We hope to see many of you there.


If you receive this issue of FSN in a plain text form, please remember that a formatted version is available on our web pages at, and you can receive the formatted version (suitable for reading with a web browser) just be emailing us to let us know you prefer this version.

Internet/web update

Please remember that the Folding Society web pages are now at All new material is being put at that new address, and the old site now only consists of a link to the new one. If you haven't yet changed the address in your 'favourites' list, please do so now.

Riding comfortably - Part 3

In the last two issues of FSN, we have looked at the importance of being able to achieve a comfortable riding position to efficient and enjoyable cycling, and have investigated how some leading folders lend themselves to achieving this for different sized riders and riding styles. Before we look at some more folders and separables, we'll revisit a couple of points from the previous articles.

Firstly, what is the 'right' riding position? As we mentioned in the first part of the series, this depends on the size and proportions of the rider, but also on the riding style. While a preference for a very upright or very flattened riding position is very much a matter of personal preference, there is widespread agreement that the best saddle height for normal riding is such that with the pedal at its lowest position, the rider has his or her leg just straight when the heel is placed on the pedal. This gives an efficient pedalling action, though for rough off road riding and other special requirements a slightly lower saddle height may be preferred, even if it is less effective. Speaking for myself, I have always found this rule works for me.

A second factor in setting saddle position is its position fore and aft. As I commented in the last issue, this adjustment is not meant to allow adjustment of the distance of the rider from the bars, even though that is how it is most often used. The general rule to be applied is that with the rider in the normal riding position, and with the pedals parallel to the ground, a plumb line dropped from the centre of the rider's forward knee should pass through the axis of rotation of the pedal. Generally I have not found this quite such a critical factor as correct saddle height, and on most bikes the fore and aft movement has been used primarily to get the correct distance from the bars, as in many cases this makes much more difference to riding comfort, and it is not easy to adjust it in any other way. However, if you do have the means of adjusting stem reach without moving the saddle, it's a good idea to apply the above rule.

Now one correction to the discussion in the last issue. In this I referred to the Bike Friday swan neck stems as not providing any adjustment after manufacture (they are of course made to order, though buyers of used bikes or those who do not get their measurements quite right originally would not necessarily be perfectly suited by this). The 3 swan neck stems I have for 2 Bike Fridays are all like this, but in fact the current design allows a considerable variation in height - described as 3 - 4 inches. This is a considerable improvement, and though it still means that, as with most other machines, you need to decide your reach requirements accurately, it should easily compensate for any minor errors in initial measurements, or provide the opportunity to adjust height to suit different conditions (touring, commuting, racing etc). I'll probably get one of these stems, and will report on it at a later date.

Now lets move on a little, firstly to cover another 'B' bike, one I did not include in the last issue, namely the Bickerton. Saddle height adjustment of the Bickerton should accommodate even the shortest riders, and at the other extreme seems sufficient for riders of above average height - I'm not sure what the practical maximum rider height (or more accurately leg length) is. The folding mechanism for the handlebars means that the range of adjustment for height, reach etc is enormous, but is quite difficult to set accurately and restore after folding. Anyway, the bike flexes and moves so much in normal use that the position varies as you ride, and the concepts of riding position and comfort are not really meaningful - sorry if I have offended any Bickerton fanatics!

The Bernds is another 'B' bicycle not covered last time, and one I have no experience of. It seems to cater for a reasonable range of rider heights, and does not look to have a particularly unusual saddle to bar reach measurement. If any owners can elaborate, we'll provide more details in the next issue.

The Brilliant/Pashley Micro is strictly for people of average male height or less - at least in terms of saddle height; at its lowest position, even the shortest riders should be happy. The handlebars are normally very high indeed, even with the saddle at maximum height, and the reach is on the short side, resulting in a very upright riding position. I have discussed the Micro and the changes I have made to mine in past issues of FSN. If you choose to risk making similar modifications, and you are of average male height or less, you should be able to achieve a very comfortable riding position, despite the limited adjustment provided on the standard machine.

I have no experience of the Fold-It, so I can't comment at present on this, but if there are any Fold-It owners out there who can provide information, I'd be happy to publish this in a future issue.

I don't have any significant experience of the Strida - Mk I or Mk II - either, but I think its limitations are quite well known, It's really a machine for quite short commuting journeys without serious hills, and for these conditions a comfortable ride is not such a serious issue. The main problem is that as the saddle is raised, the rider comes closer to the bars, which is the opposite of the usual requirement. I believe the riding position of the current Mk II Stridas is better than the originals, but as mentioned before, this is not a machine on which the issue of riding comfort is of such importance, as it is unlikely to be ridden over anything other than short distances.

The Tactic Panache is yet another machine that I have not been given the opportunity to test. From reports elsewhere, it seems to handle a reasonable range of rider heights, to have a reach acceptable to most people, and also has a telescopic stem, so that height can be adjusted to suite the rider. I'd welcome any comments from anyone with more direct experience.

The original Moultons of the 1960s provide plenty of height adjustment for taller riders, but very short riders find that the saddle may be a bit high at its lowest position, and the reach may be a bit extended. The bars are mounted in a standard stem, so longer or shorter ones might be fitted to suit. Very small riders may find the sizing of the Moulton Mini range of that period - 7/8 scale versions of the standard models - more suitable. The less common Mk III Moultons were also sized to make them more suitable for shorter riders, though the range of adjustment should still make them suitable for all but the tallest riders. Of these early Moultons, the full size Stowaway was of course the only one to separate - all the others had fixed frames.

The original Moulton AM range too provides adjustment of saddle height to suit all but those of exceptional height. Handlebar height is altered in the normal way, but as the bikes are a standard size (like all Moultons), short riders may find the bars a bit on the high side, and tall riders, or those who like a very upright riding positions, may need some form of extender to raise the height. As the stem is standard on these models, such devices are available, and stems of different reach can easily be substituted. The latter AMs such as the Jubilee, Jubilee L and GT have the wishbone stem, which can be adjusted easily for reach and height. This stem is available with 3 different lengths of arm to suit different sizes of rider - 90 mm for shorter riders, 140mm for those of average size, and 190mm for taller riders. The various adjustments provided by the wishbones and stem mean that choice of arm length is not very critical - you can achieve almost any position you want with this system, and you can even adjust it for different types of riding - perhaps lower for fast rides, and higher for touring or commuting. While the length of arm chosen is not all that critical, due to all the adjustments provided, replacement arms are very expensive, so it is best to avoid any gross error when specifying the arm length. The New Series Moultons are just as adaptable for riding position as the models like the GT, so almost anyone should be able to achieve an ideal riding position on one of these machines.


Cycling should be an enjoyable experience, even when just commuting or going to the shops. Achieving a comfortable riding position is crucial to this, and its worth taking the time to make sure that your bike is set up properly. With a folder, it is sometimes difficult to keep this position, as folding often involves moving the saddle, bars etc, so it's a good idea to mark the ideal position with an indelible marker pen (don't file grooves in components - that will weaken them and could result in a breakage) to make it easy to get the right position every time. Some bikes are designed so that you don't lose the correct saddle position etc when you fold - Bike Fridays are particularly good in this respect. A trick some people use with a Brompton to make it easier to get the right saddle height each time is to put a small rivet or screw with a very small head into the seat tube near the bottom of the pillar, so that pulling the pillar right up gives the correct height every time - the screw head or rivet stops at the collar at the top of the seat tube.



While Pashley-manufactured APBs are still sold by dealers as in the past, Bradford on Avon built AMs and NSs are now sold either direct from the factory or via a very small number of specialist dealers, perhaps the best known of which is Avon Valley Cyclery (AVC). The machines sold via specialist dealers are based on rolling frame kits supplied by the factory, so there are differences in specification. The most significant differences in the specifications of factory and dealer machines is that the factory bikes have Mosquito bars and a single chainwheel, while those built from frame kits do not have the Mosquito bars and have provision for a front changer and multiple chainwheels. AVC have had close links with the factory for many years, not only are they located close to the factory, in Bath, but Richard Grigsby of AVC has used AM and NS models in competition. 

Rumours of special 'Mini Cooper' style version of the NS seem to have been confirmed. The model comes courtesy of Avon Valley Cyclery, and will be known as the NS - RG, the 'RG' standing for Richard Grigsby. This model is firmly aimed at the faster, more competitive rider, and will be fully Campagnolo equipped, including double chainring and 10-speed cluster. We have seen a provisional specification, and it incorporates a number of interesting features, more of which in due course. The bike will be finished in a special colour scheme, probably metallic black (or perhaps a British Racing Green?) with a red, green and white seat pin. Details are still being thrashed out, and the proposed launch date is late summer. Many thanks to Chief Ferret Graham McDermott for first putting us on the trail of this very interesting new development. We wonder if Graham himself will be getting one - it is several moths since he had a new bike, so he must be about due for a change!

Brake levers on the New Series with Mosquito bars

As mentioned above, NSs from the factory all come with Mosquito bars, while those from dealers all come without them (drops or flat bars to taste). The jury is still out on the Mosquito bar - some people like them, while others are not as happy. The main criticisms are that they a bit narrow for some people's taste, and although they give a very comfortable basic riding position, it is almost impossible to vary that position by moving the hands on the bars while riding. Some owners of factory-built machines have changed to more conventional bars, while others retain the Mosquitos. The Mosquito bars have the brake levers mounted in the ends, which means that there is absolutely nowhere to mount a mirror on the bars, which is also a drawback. It is also far from obvious how you remove these end-mounted brake levers. Why would you want to remove them? Well, there are several potential reasons, and as it is slightly awkward the first time you do it (quite easy the second time, when you know how!), we are going to briefly describe what is involved here. First, though, back to the reasons for needing to remove them:

My reason for undertaking the job was to replace the wishbone arms - my ex-demonstrator was fitted with the 140mm medium length arms, and I am rather short. I was able to get the bars into a perfect riding position for comfort, but they looked rather ugly in this position; John Hall, who bought my Jubilee L, had the original short arms on that bike, but he wanted longer ones, so we agreed to do a swap. That way I also got to put back a part of my 'old' Jubilee L on the newer bike. Incidentally, it's as well to specify the right length arms when buying a Moulton with the wishbone stem, as a new set of arms are priced at around £170. The arms come in three lengths - 90mm, 140mm and 190mm, but with all the adjustments they provide, you are unlikely to have a problem unless you make a gross error in specifying which you want in the first place, or you buy a used machine from someone a very different size from yourself.

If you are only going to replace the cable inners, you will not need to fully remove the levers, just the ends, but for the other jobs, including replacing the cable outers, you will need to completely remove the lever units. Note that because of the difficulty of access, you will almost certainly need new cable inners if you remove the existing ones, as the deformation of the cable ends caused by the fixings makes it almost impossible to re-use the inners, so make sure you have new cables available before you start - the cables are the bullet ended ones used for the type of brake levers fitted to conventional dropped bars. Also, if you are intending to renew the entire cable system, remember that you will need an additional cable for the back brake, running from cable connector to the actual rear brake.

Next, the tools you need. If you are only renewing the inner cables, and don't need to fully remove the complete brake lever assembly, all you need is the allen key (3/32") for the cable connector (the one fitted in the rubber mounting under the saddle) and a 3mm allen key. To remove the complete lever assembly, you also need a 4mm allen key, and this can be a problem, as standard keys are barely long enough for the job - those fitted to most folding tools are too short. We'll come back to this in a moment.

Step 1

NS brake leverSlacken off the 3mm allen headed bolt - actually it is a grub screw - which holds the tops of the levers on. The top part of the lever can then simply be lifted off - see illustration..

Step 2

Remove the cable inner - just release the other end and push it through. If you are only replacing the cable inners, you can go to step 5. Be careful not to dislodge the cable outers - if you do move them, you may need to remove the entire lever assembly to re-seat the ends in the lever, as described later. 

Note that you must remove the inner cable to get at the bolt securing the rest of the lever assembly, and that as mentioned before, you will almost certainly then have to replace the inner, as it is almost impossible to thread back one which has had the end deformed by the securing bolts.

Step 3

Allen keyTo release the main part of the lever assembly, you need a 4mm allen key, but standard ones are barely long enough to reach into the brake assembly, and as you then only have the shorter section of the allen key to hold, you will find it difficult to get enough leverage. I bought this excellent long allen key from my local cycle dealer, Fred Williams Cycles of Dudley and Wolverhampton. It is also a ball-ended type, which makes it much easier to use for other jobs as well - a good investment.

NS brakesWith the allen key, you need to access the bolt which operates the expander which holds the lever assembly into the end of the bar. This is below where the cable end is normally located, which is why the cable had to be removed, and why you need a long allen key. The bolt you are trying to reach is still hidden in this view - the key needs to be pushed down through this aperture to reach it.

NS brakesAlthough the bolt operates an expander, as shown here, you actually need to turn the key anti-clockwise to slacken it, as it is a left hand thread.

Step 4

Once the levers are off, you can do whatever is necessary - replace inner and/or outer cables, change the arms or bars, or whatever you wish. It's a pity that the fixing of the wishbone arms necessitates threading the bars through the arms - if they used a two bolt fixing and a removable section, the arms could be changed more easily. To thread the bars out of the wishbones you will need to take the wishbones off - a perfectly straightforward and obvious process which does not need further explanation.

Step 5

If you are retaining the Mosquito bars, you now need to put it all together again. Note how the ends of the cable outers need to be seated in the ends of the lever mechanisms. If you have removed the complete lever assembly, thread the cable outers through the small hole in the straight section of the bar, and push them up until they are just clear of the ends of the bars - no great force is needed, and they find their way through the bars quite easily. Now seat the end of the mechanism on the end of the cable outer, and carefully push the mechanism back in, pushing the cable back out through the hole in the bars at the same time - you may like to gently pull on the outer while doing this, but make sure that the end of the outer stays seated in the mechanism as you do this. Make sure that you have the long allen key and the tops of the levers to hand as you do this. Once the mechanism is in place, and before tightening the expander bolt, pop the lever end on and rotate the mechanism to put the lever at the right angle - the cut out which locates the lever will be at the bottom. Then carefully lift the lever itself off and tighten the expander bolt - remember that you need to turn it clockwise to tighten it, and don't push down too hard or you may unseat the cable outer. Finally put the lever end back again, and tighten the 3mm screw which holds the lever end to the mechanism. 

Step 6

Reconnect the other ends of the brake cables and adjust the brakes as necessary. Note that the design of the levers allows them to be used as a very effective hand brake - just apply the front brake, and while you are holding the lever in, twist it round. However, for this to work, you do need to keep the front brake adjusted fairly close, but of course not so close that it rubs on the rim as it rotates when the brake is not applied.

Overall, this is not a difficult job to perform, at least when you understand how the brake levers are mounted. If you compare it with what is involved in doing the same thing with more conventional levers, there are no additional problems once you know how the levers are fixed, and if you have a long enough 4mm allen key. I was tempted when replacing the wishbone arms to replace the bars with conventional flat ones and bar end extensions, but in the end I decided to stay with the Mosquitos for a number of reasons:

  1. I couldn't afford the replacement - not just bars and extensions, but brake levers, gear change lever and grips as well
  2. I do like the position the Mosquitos provide, except for lack of variety
  3. With the shorter arms, there may be space now to ride with the hands on the straight part of the bars as an alternative to using the forward section.

The description above just gives information on how I did the job on my bike. I am not recommending that you should follow this procedure, nor that it is the best way of doing it. In particular, do not attempt this or any other job on any bike unless you are capable of judging whether the procedure described is correct, and you have the knowledge, experience, skills, tools and components required to do the job safely.

The Great Cover up, Uncovered

By “Leslie Norman”

I remember as a boy earning my pocket money by carrying out a weekly cleaning and lubrication program to my father’s “best” cycle. After cleaning, various oiling points were opened, the regulation number of drops of oil applied and then closed. The full chain cover had a removable screw through which the chain could be oiled as it was slowly “pedalled” backwards. Over a period of many years I can never remember ANY parts needing replacement due to wear other than brake blocks, tyres, tubes, light bulbs and the like. So I was surprised when – at an elite cyclist get together - one complained to me that in everyday riding he was wearing out a chain wheel and set of derailleur sprockets every 5,000 miles and could anything be done about it? A chain lasted a mere 1,000 miles. He rode through the worst of the Winter weather, and therefore these parts were constantly splashed with rain water, often laced with salt and dirt. Result: lubricant was washed off or mixed with grit to form an excellent grinding paste….the precision parts worn out in no time, despite regular cleaning and lubrication. His plea: why couldn’t these parts be protected? Why not indeed!

Contrast this with an everyday cyclists experience years ago when cycling was a way of life for so many ordinary people and things were made to, and expected to last. The chain, chain wheel and sprockets were covered by a carefully engineered cover. This was then filled with a small amount of lubricant which not only looked after these parts but also on some machines lubricated the gear system. The case (sorry) that springs to mind is the Sunbeam, which developed to have a bottom bracket mounted two speed gear used in conjunction with a rear wheel hub gear giving six widely spaced ratios. It is not unusual to find all these parts in fine working condition after a lifetime of use. The simple conclusion is that a combination of weatherproof cover and proper lubrication can give these parts virtually unlimited life, some must have recorded 250,000 miles of use, equal to five trips around the globe.

So why does the everyday cyclist still accept dirty, greasy exposed machinery…..tiresome regular maintenance and cleaning….. and continuous replacement of expensive parts? I realise that many of these parts and systems originated where frequent replacement and maintenance are an expected thing, all very well if you are road racing or racing up and down mountains. I can see that covers would get in the way, cost weight and money and be out of place.

Other mechanical means of transport also had their days of exposed bits ... cars and motorcycles with uncovered valve springs, carbs. with no air filters, even exposed chain drives, but under ever present customer pressure for cheaper, quieter, longer lasting vehicles these poorly executed mechanical details had to change. Even motorcyclists, who are said to be a conservative bunch, saw the introduction of special chains fitted with "O" ring seals. These kept the lubrication in, despite running exposed and reduced maintenance to cleaning the exterior of the chain. Penalty is slightly higher initial cost and slight transmission losses…why has the cyclist not been offered this option? It which probably would not work with derailleur gears due to the chain flexibility required, but would suit hub gears machines down to the ground.

The truth appears to be that very few cyclist bother with essential maintenance, so worn chains are allowed to prematurely wear other transmission parts; the cyclist then spends a fortune on replacement parts which are then allowed to wear out before time: or of course, if it costs to much then simply by another cycle. A strange world where a chain wheel costs £30 and a complete new cycle £80!

What is to blame? Laziness ... too much spending money ... lack of a suitable alternative ... fashion consciousness ... or lack of combined customer pressure to force a change, or do cyclists these days accept a bicycle as a fashion article: something with a limited life??

I cannot help thinking that it must be quite nice for the bike shop owner (and manufacturer) to have a stream of customers coming back on a regular basis for new, expensive parts. He also can look forward to the regular clean, lubricate and readjust to make all those gears work again. Regular replacement of cable operated controls is the (expensive) norm and will be a way of life unless customers, by expressing their wishes, force a change.

Book Review

Well known folder enthusiast Tony Hadland kindly sent me a copy of "Human Power: the forgotten energy", by Arnfried Schmitz with Tony Hadland, to review. I'm not really into the HPV scene, but I found this book an interesting read. It is more in the form of some personal reminiscences by Arnfried, rather than in any way a comprehensive history of HPVs. Despite the quite narrow view of the subject, I found it difficult to put the book down, and felt much more interested in recumbents after reading it than I had done before. Indeed, I felt impelled to take out a subscription in Recumbent UK, and if I had ever received a reply to my letter I might even have been tempted to buy a recumbent! The book is available from Rosemary Hadland at 30 Malvern Road, Balsall Common, Coventry CV7 7DU, price £12.95 including post and packing in the UK.


Roy Benson's query regarding lighting produced several responses, which are summarised below.

Birdy owner John Ironside refers us to a picture which he came across through the Birdy mailing list, at .

Marten Gerritsen provides the following advice:
The Brompton uses a narrow front hub (80 mm), so the standard SON will not fit. A 'BromSon' is under development, but will be a while yet. See the Schmidt website for details ( , German only, the English pages are not up yet). There is no problem fitting a Son to a Birdy, but be sure to get the - no cost - optional headlight with the extra long (1 m) wire.

Raja Lingam sent me a large amount of information on lighting from various sources. When time permits, I think I will combine this and some other information into a section on lighting to be included in our web pages. However, please don't hold your breath for this to be done - especially as I have the excuse that we are moving out of the season when lighting is such an important factor.

Gordon Watkins, who describes himself as 'a normally reticent reader of your excellent publication' writes:
As a fairly regular commuter by train between Norwich and London I share your frustration with reserved but unoccupied seats. Travelling back from London last Friday night we were greeted with a message that, owing to computer problems, there would be no seat reservations. What bliss, a normally overcrowded train settled down quickly and everyone got seated. This is in total contrast to the normal busy train when the passengers with reservations are searching for them, the timid are searching for non-existent unreserved seats and the experienced travellers just sit down where they want reserved seat or not. As regards the unoccupied reserved seats problem could it be that if you wanted more than your fair share of space a suitable scam would be to reserve a seat and then sit in an adjacent unreserved seat. I am sure that no one would be as devious and anti-social  as to try that; or would they?

Richard Mathews writes concerning the new Bromptons:
I have mentioned a couple of times that I could not understand what all the fuss was about re Brompton brakes. I have fitted Aztec blocks to mine and found them quite adequate. Today I have ridden a Mk3 Brompton. I have now ordered a brake upgrade for my  Mk2. Need I say more?! 

I am awaiting the arrival of a Mountain Drive from Switzerland to fit my Brompton. As soon as it is fitted it's off to the Lake District to give it a good test, I will let you know how it works out. I am still tempted to use my Brompton for my Mexico trip later this year.

The new Brompton models seem to have aroused a lot of interest. We nearly had one on the April Origami Ride, but unfortunately it was not delivered in time, much to the annoyance of the prospective owner. Not only can owners of older Bromptons buy upgrades such as the brakes and pump, but at least one dealer is offering trade-ins on older models against the new ones. 

Drew Devereux follows up on his article on his self designed and made folders, described in a recent issue of FSN:

I was very surprised about some alleged bike shop folder guru not being interested in buying "It's in the Bag". He is obviously NOT the folder guru, however, so I hope Mr. Pinkerton can keep it all in perspective. 

I thought my little bike (see FSN # 48) would generate more interest than it does. After all, it gets smaller than the Brompton (although this takes 5 minutes) has a full range of gears (from 18 to 100"), and rides like a Cadillac, with a 44" wheelbase. Now it has drop bars and integrated brake shift levers. After putting on a few more braze-ons, it now folds to 31 by 22 by 14 in 2 minutes, holding together and standing up on its own, not bagged (will send pictures). Kids like it. I've been invited to go jumping with them on their BMX bikes. Some adults think it's cool. Others think it's a goofy circus bike. It seems to attract plenty of attention. A dwarf driving a truck stopped me to ask me where I bought it. He liked the very low top tube. Some teens express their superiority with their larger wheels. Almost makes me feel like I'm a kid again. But I can't even give away one of my earlier frames. The folders' time hasn't come yet. Gas is still too cheap in the USA, and everybody drives their car. With all the gridlock and traffic, a turning point may be near. I hear some expensive cars are now sold with folding bikes in their trunks as an incentive to buy. It may be the only way you can get somewhere once that big-rig jacknifes.

I appreciate having this forum to exchange ideas on folders. There are still plans for another "prototype" on my drawing board, taking in all my experience so far, and I'll keep sending my ideas in.

Roy Benson wanted to know about the Schmidt hub generator. They make one for 16 to 20 inch wheels. It is smaller and designed for the faster spin of a smaller wheel. I have one and I drive 2 lamps with it (3 watt) hooked up in series, and it works really well. I got it from Peter White Cycles, There is lots of info and links on his website.

Sales and Wants

The S&W list is still quite active - if you have a folder, separable, or accessories to dispose of, or you want to buy, you can use the Sales and Wants page ( If you want to have something put on the list, just email us the details ( - there is no charge, but please let us know when it is sold so that we can take it off the list. As I strongly suspect that I am not being told when items are sold, I intend to introduce some changes to the Sales and Wants section. In future all entries will be dated, and will be deleted after 3 months unless a request is received to retain the entry on the list. However, please do still tell us as soon as anything is sold, so that we can remove it and avoid creating annoyance to those using the list. Take all normal precautions when buying and selling goods - the Folding Society and its officers are not responsible for the descriptions and products and services contained in the Sales & Wants list.


The events listed below are a combination of those organised by Folding Society members or of potential interest to members.

Remember that cycling can be dangerous (so is travelling by car, bus, train, air or water, breathing and living!); anyone participating in any way in any event does so at their own risk.

Saturday 6th May - Mud Dock
As usual, meet from about 10.30 at the Mud Dock Cafe in Bristol. Contact Gary Lovell, Tel: 0117 932 2026.

Saturday13th May - Origami Ride
The May Origami Ride will be at its usual location, the Tearooms at Meriden; arrive from 10.30 for an 11.00 start. We hope that John Pinkerton himself may actually put in an appearance this month, unless he flees the country yet again! For more information, contact John Pinkerton on 0121 350 0685, email, or look at his web site at

12-14 May 2000 - Mystery Brompton Riders meet, Weymouth Pavilion. "Strictly no organisation, other folders welcome". This notice appeared under "Events" in issue 16 of A to B. Previous events in Weymouth have been very enjoyable, and even if this is a strictly unofficial gathering, I hope a good number of members will be able to get them.  Several leading members of The Folding Society are known to have already booked their accommodation!

Saturday 20th May - San Francisco Bay Area Spring 2000 Folding Bike Ride
Meet at 10:30am at the Sausalito Ferry Terminal (Blue & Gold Ferry leaves at 10:40am from Pier 41 in S.F., arrives Sausalito 11:05am).  Ride will leave at 11:15a and proceed along the Mill Valley bike trail, through the wetlands, around Tiburon, and back to Sausalito. Lunch in Tiburon. As always, bring your non-folding friends - we'll convert them during them the ride.  The next ride will be 21st October 2000. Organiser Tom Vogt ( ).

Sunday 21st May Sussex Coastal Plain Ride
30 miles approx Meet Chichester Railway Station 10.00 for 10.30 start. Further details from Eric Jones, Tel 01903 782631

Saturday 3rd June Leominster, Herefordshire Ride
Meet at Etnam Street free car park at 10am for 10.30 start for an easy 20 mile ride along very pleasant country lanes with cafe stops. Further details from Alan Mason Tel 01568 612905

June, 2000 - Vondelpark Amsterdam
Enno Roosink,, tells us that the party is going to be like a fair with lots of activities and exhibitors of special bicycles, recumbents, folders and the like. Please have a look at for details. All participants of our annual Bike Friday Meeting will be attending the Bicycle Party/Fair; the general idea is to ride mixed with the Moultons and the Bike Fridays. The BF meeting will be stretched over the weekends 17-18 June and 24 - 25 June.

July 28-31 2000, Spokesfest 2000, Leicester. Spokesfest will have a large display area in The Shires shopping centre from Saturday 22nd July to Sunday July  30th. and has the use of Humberstone Gate event arena for both the Saturday and Sunday of Spokesfest (29th and 30th July).

CycleFest 2000 - Lancaster, 2nd  –  8th August 2000
The bi-annual cycling feast will soon be coming around again, and it'll all be up and running from Wednesday 2nd to Tuesday 8th August at St Martins College, Lancaster, UK. Quite a bit has been planned already of course, and as usual there's a theme for the sessions - this year it's "Transmissions", and we already have some great speakers booked for this (Tony Hadland, Florian Schlumfp, Izzi Ureili et al) and some interesting new activities planned (50m sprints, midnight torchlight parade and BBQ etc). However, further ideas are always welcome. There will be announcements in Folding Society News, The Moultoneer and other publications in due course. The Cyclefest web pages are currently available at, but will move to a new and more memorable address soon, and will be regularly updated as the event approaches. We hope there will be a major folder/separable presence at Cyclefest 2000 - the very provisional program already includes one event specifically for folders. We also understand that Alex Moulton will have a stand there this year. If you have any queries concerning CycleFest, contact: John Bradshaw, Tel/Fax: 01524 384474 (day) or Tel: 01524 66658 (eve)

9-10 September - Moulton Bicycle Club Bradford-on-Avon Weekend
The annual Moulton Bicycle Club weekend is scheduled for 9-10th September this year, and preliminary information suggests that it should be better than ever this year.

A to B Magazine

A to B Magazine remains the ultimate source of authoritative information on folding cycles. In the unlikely event that you aren't aware of A to B and/or don't  read this magazine, then we would urge you to take out a subscription without delay. A to B can be found on the web pages at,  or you can email them at, or they can be reached by telephone or fax on 01963 351649, address 19 West Park, Castle Cary, Somerset BA7 7DB, England. A subscription to A to B is only £10 per year in the UK, or $24, and the magazine is published ever two months and is packed with news, reviews and other interesting information on effective integrated transport systems in general, and folding cycles in particular.

Note: The views expressed by contributors and correspondents are those of the writers, and are not necessarily those of The Folding Society or its organisers.

Back Numbers

Back numbers of all issues of Folding Society News are available on our web site - go to for the full list.

Contributing material for FSN

We would very much welcome articles, photographs or any other material for inclusion in future issues of FSN, or on our web pages. Please send any material to The Folding Society at the address given below. However, if you are planning to send pictures by email, please send them at an appropriate resolution to avoid high telephone bills - a picture of 50K or less is ample for use in FSN or on the web pages.

The Folding Society
If you have any news or other information of interest to other members of the Folding Society, please email us at the above address.

If for some reason you wish to be removed from this mailing list, please send a message to this effect to the same email address.

All information given here is provided in good faith, but no responsibility can be taken for errors or for any consequences arising from the publication of this information.

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Copyright (C)2000 Ferrets Anonymous
Last updated: 26 April 2000