Issue 80 - 5 August 2001


Again I don't seem to have done any serious cycling since the last issue of FSN, and although the Bromptons have proved useful for both commuting and leisure travel, there have been times when I have deliberately chosen to travel without a folder - though coming to regret this in some respects at one stage of the journey.

When (not?) to take a folder

On Tuesday 31st I went down to London (via Marylebone) again; once again I was visiting a number of photographic shops, disposing of a camera and lens, and intending to buy a new lens. In the end I actually bought another lens as well, as Graham McDermott, who I was meeting in London, pointed out one of the rather uncommon Pentax 40mm pancake lenses. Mercifully this visit was incident free, though of course I kept well clear of W H Smith, buying magazines and papers at Morgrams near Birmingham Snow Hill instead; incidentally, they didn't provide me or other customers with a receipt or carrier. As well as visits to a number of shops, Graham and I went to the Barbican, where the are two very good, if very different, exhibitions of photographs until September of work by Fay Godwin and by  'Great Eyewitness Photographers'. 

Because of the amount of time in shops and the Barbican, I had again decided a bicycle would be an encumbrance, though very useful getting to and from Tipton station. On arrival (on time) at Marylebone I was rather surprised to see a Brompton chained up on the cycle stands on the platform - most owners choose to take a Brompton with them, rather than leave it chained up. On the way back I saw one Brompton and owner at Waterloo and another at Marylebone (neither were members of the Folding Society), and on the platform there were both a red AM Moulton and a black Bike Friday chained up. On the way back on the train I pondered on the fact that I now had to walk back from Tipton to home, and that the idea of leaving the Brompton at Tipton station would have had its attractions - it would really only have been in the way for the rest of this journey. The most obvious danger of this approach is the risk of it being stolen, and on our return to Birmingham, another problem was highlighted. It turned out that our train was timetabled to fail to provide a connection from Smethwick Galton Bridge to Tipton by 2 minutes, and the next local to Tipton involved a wait of an hour. If I'd had a bike with me, I could simply have ridden home from Galton Bridge, but without it I looked around for station staff to see if they could advise me of any alternative local buses. Regrettably, even the ticket office was not occupied, so after some thought I decided to go out onto the main road and look for a bus. Unfortunately I just missed an 87 to Dudley, so I walked a couple of kilometres towards Dudley, but decided walking the whole way (about 6 km more) was not appealing, and waited for the next bus - 20 minutes wasted. At this stage it would have been a nuisance if I had left a bike at Tipton, as the bus route didn't pass that station, and in fact took me a bit closer to home.

Folders undoubtedly give a lot of flexibility to arrangements when travelling, but even they can be a bit in the way at times, such as when shopping, and I'd certainly be worried about theft if I left one chained up at a station for a prolonged period. I have tried using a micro scooter to get to and from the station at this end - much less trouble to carry round on the train and while shopping etc, but not really suitable for the 2.5km each way to and from the station here, and not very easy to use with any luggage.

Bromptons at Crich Tram Museum

After the trip to London without a bike, I had a visit to Crich Tram Museum arranged for the next day (Wednesday). I rode my SP to Tipton and caught a train to New Street, where I met Paul Evans (a regular on the Origami Ride, usually on a Moulton APB7) with his Brompton to travel to Matlock, changing trains at Derby. Paul had only acquired his used L5 Brompton a few days before, and after a tyre failure (Raleigh Record) had just fitted Schwalbe Marathons. The rear one seemed to be rubbing on something, and as far as we could see, it was just making contact with the bracing tube at the front of the rear forks. On my T5, which has Schwalbes, the clearance there is quite small, but there certainly is clearance. Of course mine is an old bike with an earlier version of the rear forks, but I've not heard anyone else mention a lack of clearance with Schwalbes on the back, so I'm rather puzzled by this. We did think of taking the Brompton tyre off the front of my SP and fitting it to the back of Paul's bike, putting the Schwalbe on the front of mine, but this seemed like a lot of trouble, so in the end he put up with the slight rubbing for what was only going to be a relatively short cycle ride. My SP suffers from a more serious potential rear tyre clearance problem, in that anything other than a Primo makes contact with the mudguard fixing bolts, due to the fact that the centre of the wheel is slightly further into the dropouts than on a hub-geared model, where the locating washers on the Sturmey hub provide a little extra clearance. All of this goes to show that the New Series Moulton is not the only bike to have rather tight clearances which can restrict tyre choice - indeed it makes me feel that perhaps I have been rather unfair to the NS in mentioning the subject so often while generally ignoring similar problems on Bromptons and other machines.

The ride out of Matlock involved quite a climb, and I was glad of the extra gears of the SP compared with Paul's L5, which was fitted with the standard Brompton Mk II gearing, ie very high. Of course the extra friction from the tyre rubbing on the forks was also a distinct hindrance for Paul. Once we joined the canal towpath, riding became easier, and the excellent surface and delightful surroundings made this short section of the ride most enjoyable.

We left the towpath just before Whatstandwell (we could of course have got off the train there on the way to Matlock, but we wanted to ride along the towpath), and began what turned out to be a long, steep ascent to the museum at Crich. It was steep enough to force me to push part of the way, despite the range of gears and a relatively light load. Using bottom gear for part of the climb disclosed that the gear mech was rubbing against the rear tyre at one point - clearance between the mech and 7-speed derailleur is extremely close on my early SP. Consequently I avoided bottom gear for the rest of the journey - I was able to make adjustments the next day to restore the normal clearance of half a gnat's whisker between the tyre sidewall and mechanism!

We left the folders locked to railings inside the museum while we spent the afternoon looking around and riding on the trams. We did think of trying to take the bikes on a tram, or at least taking a photograph of them with a tram, but didn't get around to it. It's an attractive spot, and everything is well presented. The tram ride is fairly short, but enjoyable. The really odd thing though is that the location is an old quarry (hence the location at a considerable height) - fine for the museum, but quite out of character for where trams would usually have run. I'd regard it as a good spot to visit if you have any interest in trams, and it's good value, but it's hard work getting up there on a bike.

The ride back down the hill was exhilarating, though the narrow twisting and rough road meant that we didn't build up much speed, and the brakes were given a good test. The V-brakes of the SP had no trouble with this descent, and Paul's Mk II, upgraded with the latest Brompton brakes, also had no difficulties. We caught the train back to Derby from Whatstandwell, arriving a few minutes late, but in time to get on the Virgin express back to Birmingham. Unfortunately, this was delayed leaving Derby by 25 minutes, waiting for train staff. Although this was frustrating, it was very reassuring to know I had a bike with me today, unlike the previous day, so that if I missed local trains at Birmingham, I had plenty of options open to me. In fact I only had a 15 minute wait at Birmingham for a train to Tipton, but if necessary I could have caught an express to Sandwell and Dudley and cycled home from there, or I could even have ridden all the way from Birmingham.

Although I had ridden less than 20km during the day, it was a very pleasant outing, and the SP, and Paul's L5, performed well and contributed substantially to the enjoyment. Paul found this a useful test prior to the Welsh Trains Ride at the beginning of September - apart from sorting out the tyre rubbing problem, he has decided he will lower the gearing before that ride.

Everything must go!

Well no, not really everything! However, after rationalising my camera equipment, I do really need to do something similar with the cycles - I just have too many at the moment, and they occupy space and don't get ridden sufficiently. Consequently I've decided that several machines must go - the top contenders are the three conventional bikes (Mercian, Thorn Audax and Marin East Peak), and one or both Bike Fridays (New World Tourist and Pocket Rocket). If you are interested in these get in touch. I might consider offers on the other machines in the stable as well, though I should warn you that I'm unlikely to part with the New Series Moulton or SP Brompton.

Next issue

The next issue of Folding Society News is scheduled for 19th August, but if news and articles by members continue to be in short supply, then it may have to be put back.


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 by emailing us to let us know you prefer this version.


Bike Friday owners who have registered on the Bike Friday web site can access the latest issue of the Foldable Flyer newsletter (Vol 9, No 2, Summer 2001) on that site at It is in PDF format, and can be downloaded for printing and reading using Adobe Acrobat. Owners who have not yet joined the community can register on the site, or if they are already registered, but have forgotten their password, they can use a password reminder tool on the page.


Issue 62 of The Moultoneer, dated July 2001, arrived last week. It includes details of the changes to the range which were referred to in our last issue (FSN 79). There is also more information about the Bradford on Avon Weekend on 29th and 30th September, and there is a description of how Peter Evans has modified his APB to provide electrical assistance.


By David Grimwood

Team BromptonHaving ridden full frame bicycles for many years and having heard varying reports about folding cycles - Bromptons in particular - I was pleasantly surprised when my recently acquired Brompton exceeded my expectations. Primarily the Brompton L3 was to be used in conjunction with the railway system for shorter “sight seeing” cycle rides. Finding that the ride quality was so good, the Brompton has been used instead of my touring bicycles for some longer trips - 30 miles plus being no problem. Ideas for short cycle tours were being developed and more challenging rides seemed to be acceptable on the Brompton. Then came the suggestion of doing the 57-mile Manchester to Blackpool charity cycle ride. No problem on a full size bicycle, but the issue of return transportation made the Brompton worth considering.

“Okay, we’ll give it a try! We can always pull out at Preston if it’s too difficult on the Bromptons!”  That’s the attitude that Bob (owner of a T5) and I set out with.

We left Manchester under grey skies and the threat of rain that soon materialised. As with most mass start events, there is always the danger of getting carried away with the infectious excitement and start riding much too hard. We did just that! The pace through the outskirts of Manchester was fast, catching and passing people along the way. Promising ourselves a slower pace after the first tea-stop, we maintained the pace.

The first stop was Haigh Hall on the outskirts of Wigan. I had already started to enjoy the exclamations and comments about the Brompton and when questioned on the folly of such a long ride on a small-wheeled bicycle I gently argued the positive attributes of the Brompton. By now it was raining hard, and there was a little less than forty miles to ride. This was the time for the slower pace we promised ourselves.  Did we slow down? No! If anything the pace lifted. We were enjoying ourselves! We passed by Chorley and Preston and out on to the Lancashire plain. At one point I was amused to hear one rider berating his fellow riders for their lack of effort. His choice comments on being passed by two small-wheeled bicycles going like the clappers was amusing (but unrepeatable) to say the least!

Blackpool was quickly approaching, but the much-hoped view of the Tower never materialised because of the continuing low cloud and rain. Never mind, we had enjoyed the ride, the Bromptons had performed well and we would soon be in the drier environment of the refreshments tents. The final stretch into Blackpool’s Stanley Park was delightful. People had taken the trouble to stand in the rain to welcome the many hundreds of rider over the finishing line. Each rider received applause as the rounded the last corner and the applause seemed to be that little bit louder for the two riders on their Bromptons. Team Brompton!

I would also like to take this opportunity to extend my thanks to Jem Kime for organising such a pleasant ride from Moulton to Bickerton early this month.  The lunch stop and its views were as good as promised and the camaraderie between the Moultoneers and Bromptoneers was most enjoyable. Many thanks!


By Ralf Grosser
Photograph: Marco Schuett

I arrived in Wisbaden at 8:15. and met the other participants of the Foldermeeting. We got to Ruedesheim by 10:30, almost one and a half  hours behind schedule. 3 Birdys, 3 Bromptons and my Alex Moulton showed up for the ride. After a photo session and minor adjustments, I did a quick spin on Marco's Birdy over the cobblestones in front of the station. Ruedesheim is on the east side of the Rhine river, so we rode north on the B42 to Koblenz. The day was starting to turn out to be quit a scorcher. Remember this is one of the best areas in Germany for growing grapes, and therefore always very hot in summer. For Tal-Total they close 60KM of road for one day for all motorized traffic. You would think this is a cyclists dream, but can at times turn into a nightmare. You have all those people turning up, who don’t ride a bike or rollerblades the rest of the year.

Starting out, in Ruedesheim, bike traffic was a bit congested, with people showing up on just about anything that had pedals or wheels on it. The road to Koblenz from here is very flat, so you can do this tour even with a one speed bike, as I had done, in 1982 on one of my first tours down the Rhine. Most of the time I had the gears at 62 to 16, and in town just shifted down onto the 50 chainring up front. A three-speed hub geared bike would be adequate for any tour just down the Rhine. In spite of being not a very fast cyclist, I kept losing our group. In the first town after Ruedesheim, Lorch, I waited for them, only to have the local Intelligentsia make smart remarks about the poor bloke, who could not afford a full-sized bike. After meeting up again we continued and again I lost our people.

With hundreds people on bikes on the road, sometimes you don’t know, if the people you are with, are behind, or ahead of you. I had agreed with Marco to wait  in one village, where every year there was a recumbent exhibit by the roadside. Finding this, I looked at some 2 and 3 wheelers, then decided to rest in the shade of a tree.

When traveling down the Rhine, you would think, you are traveling south to north, but with the way the river meanders, you also are moving east to west. This gets quit noticeable on a hot day, when you try traveling in the shade of the trees, but after the next turn find none. I made several stops to refill my water bottle. At the Lorelei cliff I met again with Marco, and waited for the rest of our group. Here I also saw my first other Moulton for the day. This was owned by a middle-aged gentleman. He had bought his APB like I had my AM, from the late Dieter Maier of Offenbach.

Over lunch, some of us decides to take a train back, and some were not sure if they would ride all the way to Koblenz. Having set my goal to do the full trip, I continued on my own. In this kind of heat, I rather liked riding a bit faster, with a little bit of airflow to cool me. We had agreed to meet in Koblenz, but after an hour's wait I took the train home.

I later found out that three of the Birdys had made it to Koblenz, but we had missed each other by about 15 minutes.

The next folder meeting will be on the river Kinzig For Kinzig Tal-Total on 9th September, at 11:00. The meeting place will be Hanau central station - for further information contact Marco Schuett, 06051/72822, email:


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.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 August - Mud Dock
Although there is no official organiser, 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 August - Origami Ride
Origami Rides are usually held on the second Saturday of each month, and the normal meeting point is at the Tearooms at Meriden. For further information, contact John Pinkerton on 0121 350 0685, email, or look at his web site at

17 - 19th August - Bike Friday Homecoming Rally 2001, Eugene, Oregon. Contact Jennifer Hill, for further details

2001 A Cycling Odyssey
There is of course no CycleFest at Lancaster this year, but for those whose year is not complete without a visit to Lancaster, there  is the Cycling Odyssey, described as a unique cycle camping event. Note that there have been some alterations to the details published previously, as the second weekend has had to be cancelled. The event will therefore be held on the weekend 18th & 19th August 2001 based on the usual campsite on the Lune estuary at Snatchems End near Lancaster. Further info from Steve Andrews - please phone 01524 824594 or email The website is at ."

August 24 - 26: Tynebikes Rising Sun cycle festival
A weekend at the Rising Sun Park, Wallsend, Newcastle upon Tyne. For further information contact Ken Davison telephone 0191 296 2918 mobile 07720 916 046 or e:mail or 

8th - 9th September - Welsh Trains Ride
A weekend outing for folders  taking in preserved steam railways (and main line trains), using cycles and other means of transport to get between stations. See editorial of FSN 077 for details, or contact Paul Evans at Paul has now produced a very detailed booklet about the route etc. 

29th - 30th September - Moulton Bradford on Avon Weekend
The date for the annual Moulton weekend at Bradford on Avon weekend has now been fixed, and details and a booking form were in issue 62 (July 2001) of The Moultoneer. Some additional information can also be found on the MBC web pages at

1-5 August 2002 - CycleFest

The latest issue of The Moultoneer contains details of a number of rides for Moulton owners during the next few months. Apart from the fact that they all seem to be on Sundays, which makes access by train difficult for those of us who do not have cars and are not located close to the places where they are taking place, these may be of interest to our Moulton-owning 'members'. Please see the Moulton Bicycle Club web pages at for details.

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
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)2001 Ferrets Anonymous
Last updated: 5 August 2001