There has only been one item of major news appearing since our last issue, and this seemed important enough to warrant a special email, which you should all have received (apart from those who have joined in the last 7 days) - the new Bridgestone Moulton. It's a separable, rather than a folder, and the separation is very similar to that of the original Moulton Stowaway, so it's far from compact when split, but it's certainly an interesting machine to many of us. See the Moulton section below for some additional comments.
Many of us must have been hoping that Sturmey-Archer would be rescued after its recent problems, but all hope seems now to have been abandoned - the Evening Post of Nottingham, dated 19th October, has as its main story "Sturmey Archer doomed as rescue talks fail".
Apart from the Bridgestone Moulton developments, most of the news reaching us seems gloomy at present. Reports have reached us from several sources that the magazine Bycycle is in trouble, and has reduced its staff to a minimum. For those of us in the UK, rail travel has become a difficult undertaking at present, as following the recent derailment at Hatfield, major safety work is being carried out on various parts of the network, resulting in sudden closure of lines, sometimes with virtually no warning and no alternative service available. Of course roads are sometimes closed as well, but at least there is some alternative available in that case.
My own cycling over the last two weeks has been minimal, due to the weather limiting the occasions on which I would want to go out for pleasure, and the Motor Show and the resultant crowding of the trains meaning that I have made very few trips over to the University. As bad as the crowding on the trains around the Motor Show has been the incessant, boring chatter of passengers about cars! The Newt and the Micro are the two bikes which have seen limited service during the period. The Micro went out only once, and proved quite enjoyable until I had a puncture in the front Primo, caused by a very vicious thorn, about 1 Km from my destination.
Our roving reporter, John Pinkerton, has now finished his travels (for the moment!), and is back in the UK. He assures me that everywhere he went on his recent travels around the world, he brought good weather with him. Regrettably, this magic has not applied to his return to the UK, and after my visit to him today I got extremely wet in the 2.5Km ride back from Tipton station - my rarely used over-trousers having almost no effect even on such a short ride.
With winter approaching, wet weather gear and warm clothing and lights start becoming more important topics. The day I had the puncture on the Micro, I got absolutely soaked (just before the puncture - fortunately it was not raining while I carried out the repair). On the lighting side, I seem to have a satisfactory solution which suits my particular needs - a Knightlite at the back (legal LED), and its equivalent at the front - also an LED which I believe is legal as well. The front light provides good light to be seen by, but provides only a faint beam (although it does manage one, which is more than most LEDs) to see by. That generally suits my needs, but if I do need a front light to see by, then I fit a Cateye 1500 (now obsolete unfortunately), which has a high setting for a good beam and a low setting for extended battery life (still requires new batteries twice a week even on the short trip to the university). Front lights which cast a reasonable amount of light tend to have very poor battery life, and I'm not a great fan of dynamos - others like them, but I've found them unreliable. A good source of additional discussion on lighting is the Audax UK web pages (http://www.audax.uk.com) - good lighting for long rides on unlit roads is a serious concern for Audax riders. Clothing presents more of a problem - I can keep the main body warm, if not dry, without much problem, but very poor circulation means that feet and hands are impossible to keep warm when cycling in cold weather, and satisfactory wet weather gear at a sensible price also eludes me at present - jackets which start out seeming reasonably waterproof seem to lose that property within a year, and I haven't found any satisfactory trousers or over-trousers yet, and shoes are just as much of a problem.
In the last issue, we reported that our 'portable paraphernalia' web pages had been updated to include a section on portable (mainly handheld and palmtop) computers. No sooner had we produced the report than two major new models were launched by Handspring - the pages have now been updated to include these, and we hope to further extend the coverage in the not too distant future with more detailed reports on some leading models. We may also add a section on cameras, and digital cameras in particular, especially now that the Nikon Coolpix 990 has come back from being repaired (5 weeks) after taking a slight knock during the Bradford on Avon events in September.
Finally, in a week where much of the cycling coverage in the national newspapers has been concerned with the sordid details of the Tour de France doping scandal of 1998, it's good to hear of the outstanding achievements of Chris Boardman and Yvonne McGregor - nothing to do with folders, but congratulations to them anyway.
All being well, our next issue should be out around 12th November, and should include our report on the Airnimal, and perhaps an extended test of a folding micro scooter.
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 http://www.foldsoc.co.uk/fsn/fsn063.html, 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.
Well-known folding enthusiast and co-organiser of CycleFest Pat Strachan is reported to be the latest owner of a new Airnimal, and as we hope to complete our own delayed test in time for the next issue of FSN, we should have more news on these interesting new machines soon.
A Ferret has passed on to us some rumours that Bike Friday is to make a reappearance in mainland Europe. Enthusiasts will know that for a time Bike Friday were represented in the Netherlands by Enno Roosink, but that arrangement came to an end a couple of years ago. According to the rumour that reached us, deals are in the offing to bring Fridays into Germany and back into the Netherlands. We'll let you know if and when we hear anything more official on this subject.
All of you who were members at the time of our last issue should have received the message I put out between issues about the Bridgestone Moulton. Not much more has emerged about the bike since we posted that news, but keep an eye on our web pages for details, pictures etc - we'll update them whenever we hear more. The Alex Moulton factory was a bit put out when it heard that the news had broken, but swiftly and sensibly decided to make the best of it and turn things to their advantage. To the best of our knowledge, the bikes won't be available in Japan for at least a few weeks, and it is likely to be at least the second quarter of 2001 before they reach the UK. If we can get our hands on one before then, we'll publish a test report.
Reaction to the new machine has been mixed, with most people reacting very favourably, although the price, which seems to work out at over £1100, is rather disappointing, but inevitably there are some who complain. The chief source of complaint, apart from the price, seems to be the tyres, ie the use of the same ones (369, 17 in) as on the AM series. Naturally, the detractors can't agree on what 'should' have been used - 349 (16in) or 406 (20in). Actually I think that the choice is in many respects good news, certainly for AM owners, as it ensures continuity of supply of a tyre in that size, and I predict that with a major company like Bridgestone in the market, we shall actually see other tyres in this size appearing.
Dennis Duggan, Membership Secretary of the
Moulton Bicycle Club, has written taking issue with my views on
the importance of tyres to the performance of a bike:
"I always enjoy reading my copy of the Folding Society News. Mike is to be congratulated for producing such an informative and well-written electronic magazine.
Tyres seem to be an oft-mentioned topic in FSN (as well as other cycling journals) and much is said about the benefits and/or disadvantages of various different makes and types of tyre. Some are said to be 'twitchy', or have poor adhesion in the wet, or not good on loose surfaces, or prone to punctures etc etc. You know, I have been riding bicycles for 42 years now. My own stable consists of nineteen machines of various types, and I have ridden dozens of different bikes over the years. I must say I have never given any thought to the tyres on any of them! So long as they stay inflated and have some tread they are left to get on with their job. And I can honestly say that they all do this job perfectly well, irrespective of who made them and what tread pattern they have. There is no way I can detect any difference in the behaviour of one tyre from another. Surely, at the relatively slow speeds achieved on a bicycle, it is an affectation to say there is any discernible difference in tyre performance. We are not talking Formula 1 speeds, for heaven's sake!
In fact I would go so far as to say that if a bike for road use is coaxed to a speed where tyre performance does become noticeable then it is probably being ridden dangerously.
Okay, my views might provoke rage amongst FSN readers. Maybe the subject is worthy of further discussion. Does anyone agree with me, or am I totally out of touch??"
Anyone who has ridden a Brompton, or an early Moulton, on Raleigh Record tyres and then on Primos knows what a difference tyres can make. Formula 1 cars have lots of power, but cyclists don't, so rolling resistance is very important to them. I rest my case!
Richard Mathews responds to a letter in a previous
issue of FSN:
"With reference to Roger Hainsworth's letter. I have no experience of Bikebuddy's cages, but I use clip on cages from St. John Street Cycles. When I rang SJS to ask if the would fit a Brompton I was told not without Jubilee Clips, which would rather defeat the object. I decided to try anyway. I bought two, they clip on to my seat post quite securely. The only thing I added was a cotton lanyard so I did not loose the safety clips. I fit them fore and aft and just turn them around when the front bottles empty. Glad to say I have not lost one yet. Hope this helps."
Jim Ward, an expat who last wrote to us from China,
has now moved to Manila, and writes:
"I am the expat who sent in a short message on Bromptons in China and extended an invitation for riders to contact me if passing through Shanghai. As I recall you put into a May 2000 newsletter. In mid September, after 5 years in China, I transferred to Manila, Philippines, and wonder if you might put out my e-mail address again in the next newsletter and again am interested in meeting or greeting fellow folding bike users here in Manila."
We're happy to do this for Jim - his email address is email@example.com
If you have a folder, separable, or accessories to dispose of, or you want to buy, you can use the Sales and Wants page (http://www.foldsoc.co.uk/sandw.html). If you want to have something put on the list, just email us the details (firstname.lastname@example.org) - 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 4th November - Mud Dock
The gatherings on the first Saturday of the month at Mud Dock in Bristol are still taking place and receiving good support. Meet at Mud Dock from about 10.30am onwards.
Saturday 11th November - Origami Ride
The November 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 email@example.com, or look at his web site at http://www.users.mwfree.net/~pinkertn/origami.html.
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 http://www.a2bmagazine.demon.co.uk, or you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 of all issues of Folding Society News are available on our web site - go to http://www.foldsoc.co.uk/fsn/fsn.html for the full list.
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
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: 28 October 2000