Origami Phoenix Ride

10th July 2004 - Cheltenham

The July Origami Ride now seems to be established at Cheltenham - an excellent location, where organiser Dick Hanson always provides an interesting route.

The weather forecast for the weekend was not particularly encouraging, but a dozen folder enthusiasts nevertheless gathered at Cheltenham station for the start of the ride. Unusually, I don't think that anyone actually travelled by train - several of those who would normally do so had another ride planned near Oxford for the Sunday, and the logistics of getting to both events, and getting back, made train travel impractical on this occasion.

The bikes included a Bike Friday Satrday recumbent and a Bridgestone Moulton, plus assorted other Moultons, Bromptons, an SP and a Dahon Jetstream XP. The riders were Origami regulars - we were particularly pleased to see Chris Dent again, not yet fully cycling fit, but back on a bike.


At Cheltenham station before the start of the ride, and before  it started raining

The sky looked rather threatening as we prepared the bikes, and just as we started the ride, it began to rain fairly gently, so there was a slight delay as we donned waterproofs. Across the road from the station we joined a cycle path - one I would rate as well surfaced, although some of it was gritted rather than tarmac. After about 1Km we left the cycle path, at which point the riders following me gave the the unwelcome news that I had a puncture (the Dahon Jetstream XP I was riding uses a special Dahon version of the Schwalbe Stelvio tyre). Fortunately shelter was at hand for me while I dealt with this - naturally it was a rear wheel puncture. Despite my urging the others to carry on, they nobly chose to wait for me - just possibly the decision was influenced by the fact that the heavens opened at this point! A small flint was found embedded in the tyre, which we can only assume was the source of the trouble, though it looked barely sufficient to have caused a puncture - presumably it was picked up on the cycle path. Chris Eley was pleased that for once it was him who had the puncture, perhaps because he was riding his Moulton ATB with fat Schwalbe Marathon tyres for once, in place of the Rohloff-hubbed SP. [Chris reports that the (16 inch) Stelvios he now has on the SP actually have had less punctures than the Brompton tyres he was using, but that for winter use he prefers the Schwalbe Marathon, best balance of a reasonable ride with good reliability.]

A pause on the way to the lunch stop, when it wasn't raining. Chris Eley is in the foreground, on his venerable Moulton ATB, recently fitted with a disc brake on the rear.

By the time the puncture was repaired, the rain had almost stopped, so we resumed our ride to our lunch stop at Royal Oak in Gretton As we arrived, a steam train went past, and Dick was delighted to see that the locomotive was 3822, an ex-GWR 2-8-0 freight locomotive, which he had recently driven himself.

The weather gods for once did not seem to be on our side: we had been able to enjoy sitting outside for lunch, but just as we started on the return journey it began to rain again. As the rain got heavier, we took shelter under a (steam) railway bridge for a while, but as the rain looked to have set in, most of us eventually decided to continue on our way, and put up with getting wet. Three of our number decided to wait rather longer - this turned out to be a good decision (for them), as not only had the rain abated when they eventually got underway again, but on top of that, they caught us up on the outskirts of Cheltenham, when the main group split, some going to retrieve their cars from the station, while the rest when straight to the Hanson's for cream teas.

After refreshing ourselves, and partially drying out, it was time to make our ways homewards, or in the case of 3 of us, on towards Oxford, to stay with Tony and Rosemary Hadland overnight before riding a 100Km Brevet Populaire on the Sunday - but that's another story.

The only mechanical drama was the puncture that I had on the Dahon Jetstream XP (a full report on this bike will appear on the Folding Society web pages in due course). I swapped bikes with Mike Roberts for part of the return journey. I had thought the ride of the Dahon was pretty good up to that point, but the Bridgestone Moulton was notably more refined, but it was relatively heavy and not as responsive as the Dahon.

Many thanks to all those who attended the ride, and of course particularly to Dick and Hazel Hanson for organising the ride and providing the refreshments at the end. It was a pity that for once the weather was un-cooperative, but, as I remarked, if it was going to rain one day of the weekend, and I was going to get a puncture, I would rather on this occasion that it happened on the Saturday Origami Ride rather than the 100Km ride on the Sunday.

Copyright (C)2004 Ferrets Anonymous
Last updated: 12 July 2004