Our April ride was designated (unofficially) as a 'Birdy Special' - as always, everyone was welcome, but we were particularly hoping for a good turn out of Birdys, and to get a few photographs of a large group of Birdys. We had thought that we would probably fall just short of double figures, but in the event the turnout exceeded all expectations. No less than 28 people came to the start, at the Tearooms in Meriden as usual, and 25 took part in the ride, and 12 of those were on Birdys. As there were 23 bikes in all (one tandem and one folder fitted with a child seat), over half the bikes were Birdys - 9 Reds, 2 Blues and an Elox.
Two of the Birdy Reds were the latest models, with the modified
front forks, narrower front hub, new black mudguards and improved
front mudguard fixing. It's good to see a company making
continuous improvements to their products as is happening with
Birdys - each change may relatively small, but the overall result
is that the current models are much improved over the earliest
Photograph: The new front forks on the Birdy, with the new support strut holding the new black mudguards more effectively than the old system.
Photograph: Irene Batchelor with her and husband Trevor's
of continuous improvement, the interest was not limited to Birdys,
as we also had one of the first 6-speed Bromptons on the ride -
the first ones had reached dealers only two days before. The
implementation of the changer to switch from a 13 to a 15 tooth
rear sprocket is very neat, and the changer on the left of the
bars cunningly includes a bell as well. There will be a full
report on the 6-speed on the Folding Society web site within a few
Photograph: The new 6-speed Brompton has a revised chain tensioner and a small and unobtrusive mechanism to move the chain from the 13 to 15 tooth rear sprocket.
We also had a record number of Bike Fridays on this month's ride - a Pocket Rocket, a New World Tourist and a SatRday recumbent. Later in the year we must have a 'Bike Friday Special' Origami ride!
Equally welcome, though rather taken for granted (!) were several Bromptons, Moultons and conventional non-folders, plus the unusual Kuwahara folder with child seat. One of the Brompton riders has a Birdy on order, so had the ride been a few weeks later we might have had an even larger number of Birdys!
The ride out to Kingsbury Water Park itself was quite uneventful. The weather was
reasonably bright if quite cool, and almost no wind - a great
relief after the unpleasantly blustery conditions last month.
Although the cloud built up more than expected later in the day,
conditions were still very pleasant for cycling. We took the most
direct route to and from Kingsbury, which is considerably flatter
than the alternative lanes, and although there is some traffic on
this route, it is not too bad, and although we were a larger group
than usual, we were generally well treated by passing motor
traffic, which gave us plenty of space and waited for safe places
to overtake, without being aggressive. Of course we did our best
to minimise and inconvenience to others, riding in smaller groups
and keeping well to the left.
Photograph: A short pause at the top of one of the gentle hills on the way to Kingsbury Water Park. On the right of the photograph is Susan Barlow on her new SatRday, with under-seat steering. The strange brown bag behind the seat is nothing to do with the Bike Friday - it is actually a Beckman rear bag for the Moulton Stowaway, which she had brought to return to Paul Evans.
At Kingsbury itself we were able to get refreshment and sit outside in the sun (and cloud!). This lunch stop also provided an opportunity to take some photographs, both of the whole group and just the Birdys.
Photographs above: Left - two of the Birdy Reds and the unusual Kuwahara, complete with child seat. Rider Steven Brandist reports that it is excessively low geared, though with the extra weight of Michael and his seat this may be no bad thing going up hills! Right: Bike Fridays surrounded by Birdy Reds.
Photograph: Our (almost) complete group photograph at Kingsbury
Photograph: ... and the Birdys and owners
The return to Meriden included a short diversion which allowed us to see the reservoir at Shustoke - Trevor Batchelor is busy researching new rides for us, and pointed out this useful diversion - I didn't even know the reservoir was there. The total distance covered on this ride was about 35Km.
I'm very grateful to everyone who came and helped to make this an enjoyable event - thank you all. I hope to see you all again at future Origami rides.
Copyright (C)2002 Ferrets Anonymous
Last updated: 14 April 2002