Issue 60 - 17th September 2000


The last two weeks I have been kept busy, first with the events leading up to the Moulton Bicycle Club Weekend at Bradford on Avon, then with the weekend itself, and subsequently with processing, hand printing and collating some 700 photographs taken during the events. That work is still not complete, and of course there are many other things to catch up with after being away for ten days, so this is a short issue of FSN.

Our report on the progress of the Moulton event can be found on the web at, and there are some additional notes in the Moulton section below. 

Next Issue

The next issue of FSN will probably appear around 1st October.


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.


The most significant item of news is that reports are now circulating that Sturmey-Archer is being closed down. Quite how this relates to other recent reports that the land on which the factory is located had been sold, and that another company had bough S-A is unclear, but as and when any more information is available we will let you know.


I travelled down to Bradford on Avon on 2nd September, and stayed there until 11th, as I had been asked to photograph the events leading up to the Moulton Bicycle Club weekend. I used my New Series to get to and from stations and for local travel, but managed only just over 100Km during the 10 days.  To avoid the nuisance of splitting and bagging the bike, especially as I had a lot of equipment with me, it was booked onto the train. The week's activities were part of a celebration of the fact that Dr Moulton was 80 earlier this year. There were three events during the week for invited guests, followed by the usual Moulton Bicycle Club Weekend. A huge marquee on one of the lawns of The Hall housed an exhibition of Dr Moulton's work and space for dining, as shown in our web page report of the event (

Highlights included:

The events during the week were an enormous success - everything went very smoothly, all the guests were hugely impressed and a great time was had by all.

The MBC weekend was equally successful, with one of the largest turnouts ever for all the activities, especially the dinner on the Saturday evening, although we very much missed some regulars, including Graham McDermott, Peter Evans, Ian Wright and Nigel Sadler who were unable to attend for various reasons. The dinner was held in the marquee which housed the exhibition, and at the end of the dinner Dr Moulton unveiled the New Series Speed. Also unveiled was a fine oak bench, made from wood from the grounds of The Hall, which was a gift from friends, employees and the MBC to Dr Moulton. 

Sunday's ride was marred only by the fact that the sun was too hot (!!), and the lunch stop was at an establishment which was trying to surpass the performance of the lunch stop of the first Folder Forum - any more specific description is unprintable in a newsletter which may be read by children.

The events were a huge success - it's difficult singling out individuals, but particular thanks must go to Shaun Moulton and the staff at Bradford on Avon who put in an enormous amount of work getting the exhibition together and organising things in general, to Jim Stembridge who organised the MBC weekend, the caterers at The Hall (as opposed to the Sunday lunch stop!) who coped very well with the large number of diners, and of course Dr Moulton himself, who extended his hospitality to us, and provided the reason for all the events.

Although my brief was just to photograph the events, I was kept very busy throughout the 10 days, and sadly this meant that I never got to ride the new bike at all, so I can't offer any riding impressions.

Photographic notes

My choice of equipment for this photo assignment was naturally influenced by the need to carry everything on the bike. I took 3 cameras - a Pentax MZ5N, Pentax ME Super and Nikon Coolpix 990, plus a collection of lenses, a Metz hammerhead flash and a tripod. Most of the work was done with the MZ5N, using a 28-105mm Sigma lens, and a 24mm Sigma (manual focus) lens for some wide angle work. The ME Super was used to a more limited extent, with the same 24mm lens plus 28mm, 40mm and 50mm prime lenses. The Nikon was used nearly as much as the MZ5N, especially in order to get pictures onto the web or onto press releases quickly. In all I took over 400 pictures using conventional cameras, and about 350 with the Nikon. Speed of operation and battery life of the Coolpix 990 are vastly superior to my older Coolpix 900, with which I simply could not have carried out the same assignment, but the Pentaxes certainly handle much better, and still produce better results than the digital camera. However, the 3M resolution of the digital camera was adequate for most purposes. Regrettably, at some point the Nikon took a knock (I think from the MZ5N or flash), and the optical viewfinder glass was cracked; it didn't affect performance, but it looks like being an expensive repair to a camera less than one month old.


John Prince writes regarding a number of points in the last issue FSN:
"Congratulations on another couple of interesting reports - I am one of 600 who thanks you for your time and efforts!

I am not familiar with the "Durham Landing Gear Folder" - how on earth did it get THAT name?? However, I find great difficulty in making sense of the following (contradictory?) statements  ...

1) 'Only aluminium can provide light weight and sufficient rigidity in a small frame'

2) 'I prefer a steel frame (to aluminium) - no significant weight penalty'

Now one of those comments was made by a qualified engineer (you!) and it is well known that Dr Moulton shares this view. Others rave about the virtues(?) of titanium and this caused an interesting article in A to B ... any one care to comment? I keep repeating that Mr Pedersen constructed a full sized working cycle with a steel frame in the early 1900s with an all up weight of 10 pounds, yes pounds NOT KILOS!


Mike, you are just going to have to bite the bullet and try some out. 

But think of the advantages ... no back ache ... neck ache ... wrist ache ... bum ache ...

I think its only the relatively high prices that stop the recumbent becoming a hit.

Your comments on trikes are interesting, but I see that you have forgotten CULTY. This workhorse will carry unbelievable loads; with only 2 feet (track) separating the rear wheels its happy on cycle tracks, and as it leans into the corners you still get your cycle thrills.

And the prices (basic model about 1300) now are very interesting (is it the cheapest recumbent trike with full suspension?).


Come on Mike, you leave me for dead in the cycling stakes ... and I think you do very well up/down and on the level. Wobble can have three sources ...

  1. Rider induced
  2. Road induced
  3. Cycle design induced

Assuming number 3 is banished in your case, a nervous rider will tend to cramp up resulting in late corrections. A narrow handlebar needs more force but less movement than wide handlebars ... so push too late, too far, and the result can be a magnification of the original fault ... in other words the weave gets worse. This causes more panic over reaction .... and the loop is complete. In some disaster situations (a spin in zero visibility), inexperienced aircraft pilots are advised to release the controls and let the 'plane sort itself out. Perhaps a solution for our cyclist?


I feel I should apologise for the tatty appearance of my Sutton Pedersen. It is a hack bike, used every day and after 8 years hard usage, including my Turkey/Iran/Pakistan/India trip in 1992/3 is overdue for a make - over. I have started today!

Thanks once again; looking forward to your coverage of the Moulton weekend - who knows I might even get there!"

Arthur Wyatt writes:
"Readers should note to their surprise that Norway is a cycling country. The Norwegians walk, cycle and Ski. There are cycle paths all over their country. There is only 300m of road between the centre of Bergen to the Airport 22Km. Try and find the old railway track around Trolhaugen near Griegs House. The Rallarveggen is a cyclists' paradise: 90 Km of the most dramatic scenery up to 1444m; it is served by DNT cafes and Youth Hostels. Have any other Moultons done this (Land Rover)? There is a main cycleway out from Oslo eastwards past the Airport with millions of commuting cyclists on it. Nearly all cars are very considerate - I cant wait to get back!"

Michael Stanley thinks we place too much emphasis on Bromptons and technology:
"We in Texas that believe in folding bikes are somewhat disappointed at the total attention to Brompton bikes. A simple 100 mile trip can be done on an old Raleigh and a six pack of beer. I hope you can perhaps mention in the next newsletter that everybody does not ride a Brompton or care for the exact gear ratios of whatever. the thrill is the ride, not the bleeding gear ratio."

Point noted - you are right, it is what you get from using the folder that is important, not the technology. However, 60% of our members own Bromptons, so it's natural to give them a fair amount of attention. Content of FSN also depends on what there is to report on, and we hear relatively little about more basic machines, and how they are used. The Folding Society, like other clubs, tends to attract the most enthusiastic users, and so tends to direct attention to more esoteric aspects of their use.

Rory Clyne has a query regarding fitting a Mountain Drive (to his Brompton!):
"Following the generally favourable reports in FSN about the Schlumpf Mountain Drive fitted to a Brompton I am thinking of getting one. (I don't want to use the general reduction offered by Brompton as I think the present high gears are useful too.) The job of fitting it does sound rather daunting though, so I would like the job done professionally. I have spoken to various Brompton dealers around the country - as far apart as London, Edinburgh and Dorset - and each is prepared to do the job, although none has ever done it before. I don't want just any mechanic to train himself at my expense, though. Can any reader tell me of a cycle mechanic who has actually fitted a Mountain Drive to a Brompton and would be prepared to do one for me at a fixed price?
Rory Clyne, 30 Isambard Place, London SE17 7DA ("


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 30th September - Bickerton meeting ( other folders welcome)
Bickerton owners and all other folding bike enthusiasts are invited to join the first ever major gathering for fans of the Bickerton folding bike. Meet behind Bath railway station around the Avon Valley Cyclery shop premises. A short ride is planned along the towpath of the Kennet Canal and possibly a visit to an historic pumping station a lunch stop and return to bath about 4 to 6 p.m. for full details send SAE to Derek Baker, 10 Upton Way, Broadstone, Dorset BH18 9LY, e mail,  Tel 01202 692732 mobile 0976258lll and web site

Saturday 7th October - Mud Dock(?)
Mud Dock in Bristol seems to have lost its official status as the location for a monthly meeting, in that there is no longer an organiser. However, we are assured that folder enthusiasts are still meeting there on the first Saturday of every month, arriving from around 10.30am onwards.

Saturday 14th October - Origami Ride
The October Origami Ride will be at its usual location, starting from the Tearooms at Meriden: arrive from 10.30 for an 11.00 start. For more information, contact John Pinkerton on 0121 350 0685, email, or look at his web site at

Saturday 14th October 2000 - Hazelbury Bryan ride
Mark West will be hosting a combined Moultoneer/Folding Society ride beginning from his house in the village of Hazelbury Bryan near Sturminster Newton in North Dorset, England, at around 10.30 - 11.00 a.m. on October the 14th 2000.  The plan is for a gentle ride of around 30 miles in all to take in a number of beautiful Dorsetshire villages and a longish lunch stop in Sherborne, one of the finest small towns in the west country. Sherborne has not one but TWO castles owned by Sir Walter Raleigh and lately by The Digby Family (by lately I mean about 350 years or so).

The return route will be via the village of Yetminster which will allow train-using friends to return home if they alighted here on their arrival (Mark will send out routes to get to his house from local stations and from main centres by car to anyone who contacts him).

Contact Mark on the addresses below for more details:
Mark West
4D Signs
The Old Dairy, Wonston,
Hazelbury Bryan,
Sturminster Newton,
Dorset  DT10 2EE
Tel:  +44 (0) 1258 817878
Fax: +44 (0) 1258 817879

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 JPEG picture of 50K or less is ample for use in FSN or on the web pages.

The Folding Society
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Copyright (C)2000 Ferrets Anonymous
Last updated: 17 September 2000