The Folding Society

Issue 28 - 13 June 1999

A week of cycling on Skye

Sounds attractive, doesn't it? Graham and Amanda McDermott and Peter Evans are going there at the end of this week, and we hope to be able to use modern technology to bring you illustrated reports throughout the week direct from them. Graham will be taking his digital camera and Peter's Toshiba notebook computer and modem. Using these he will email us pictures and a report daily, and these will then be loaded on to our web pages. So take a look at the web pages from 19-25 June for the latest updates. This all depends on the technology working, of course. You can access the latest updates, plus more information on the technology, on our pages at

A new series of test reports

As mentioned in the last issue, over the next few weeks we will be testing a number of folders and separables on what are for us some slightly longer rides, 100km to be covered at between 15 and 30kph. These are Brevet Populaires, organised by Audax UK. The reports we will be producing not only deal with the riding performance of the bikes over these distances, but also getting them to and from the event and carrying the necessary luggage. The first of the reports, covering a Bike Friday Pocket Rocket, is already available on the web pages at, and we hope to add two more over the next 3 weeks. The other bikes to be used will include Moultons, Birdy and Brompton, and anything else suitable that we can lay our hands on. There is no plan to include the Micro - no doubt it would be possible to ride it this far, but it would not be a sensible choice - nor would some other folders really be very appropriate, so although we would welcome offers of other machines to test, do limit such offers to those which will not impose too much of a strain on an elderly and enfeebled tester.

These are all one day rides, but a couple of the folders/separables will be having more extended, if also more leisurely, outings later in the year, and these will be reported on as well. In the meantime, for another report on a more extended ride our report on a three day ride from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Wolverhampton is on the web pages at http://www.whooper.demon/foldsoc/llang.html.

The Brompton bag

We have commented once or twice that, splendid though the Brompton front bag is for carrying luggage and rapid detachment from the bike, it does make the bike less responsive, and is rather unaerodynamic. I have noticed a significant increase in the effort required to pedal into a head wind when using the bag, but I must admit that I have never carried out any measurements. John Prince recently emailed me to report that he has carried out some tests, measuring the time required to cover the same ground into a head wind with and without the bag, and these confirm my impressions. John's tests are not yet complete, but when they are we will put a summary on the web pages.

Distribution problems

Membership of the Folding Society continues to grow, and some time towards the end of last month it exceeded the capacity of the distribution list of our emailing program. Unfortunately the program gave no warning - it allowed names to be added, but then threw them away. Luckily we noticed this a few days ago, but it seems possible that a few people who joined towards the end of last month may not have received issue 27 of FSN. If you are one of these, and at the most up to 5 people may have been affected, you can find FSN 27 on our web pages (now with the correct issue number!), or if you email us we will send you a copy. We have now split the distribution list into two parts to overcome the problem, but our apologies are extended to anyone who missed issue 27.

Moulton and Micro web pages

While we are on the subject of apologies, we have been trailing on the web page that the Moulton and Micro special interest sections are going to be developed. This is still the plan, but laziness and a shortage of time mean that we have still not got around to doing this; sorry.

Portable Paraphernalia

Our web pages include a section on other folding things, although unfortunately this is rather overdue for an update. One topic we have always intended to include is palmtop computers; one reason for the delay in covering this subject has been the rapid evolution, and the prospect of models which include the ability to play MPEG files and view movies. This facility is just appearing on some of the machines using the Windows CE operating system. We had been going to wait until we had tried one of these before comparing them with the Palm III family, Psions etc, but reports on the first of these colour palmtops, the HP Jornada 420, were rather poor, so we cancelled the order, and we will now wait for the next version of the Windows CE operating system. Psion Series 5 enthusiasts can look forward to the new 5mx model this week - double the memory, improved (but still mono) screen, improved software, better battery life etc. However, as well as not having a colour screen (more useful for improved clarity than anything else), no mention has been made in any of the leaked information of an ability to play MPEG, headphone socket, or viewing movies. None of these are really essentials for a palmtop, but it would be handy for those who are travelling light to be able to carry not only their diary, telephone book, email, books to read etc in their palmtop, but also some appropriate music and other entertainment. We await with interest the official details of the mx and also developments of other products. By the way, this issue of FSN was entirely drafted on a Series 5, just the final layout and uploading being done on a PC.


National Bike Week is now in progress - 12th to 20th June. During my ride today I saw a large number of cyclists who were obviously involved in an event, presumably associated with NBW. The only one I plan to attend is the Birmingham Bike Bonanza, where John Pinkerton is intending not only to have a display of veteran cycles, but also folders as well. If you are in the West Midlands, we hope to see you there. Otherwise, look out for events in your own area.

Saturday 3rd July - Mud Dock
Meet at the Mud Dock Cafe in Bristol from about 10.30am. Further details from Gary Lovell, Tel: 0117 932 4633.

Saturday 10th July - Origami Ride
The usual arrangement is to meet at the Tearooms in Meriden from 10.30 for an 11.00am start, but the location occasionally changes to suit special rides. Watch the web page for details of any special arrangements, at, or contact John Pinkerton on 0121 350 0685 to confirm arrangements for this month's ride.

The Lancaster Cycling Weekend 30th July - 2nd August 1999
No CycleFest this year, so this seems to be the alternative. Further details are available in the provisional programme.

Bike Friday European Meeting, The Netherlands, 31 July to 1 August
There will be a Bike Friday Meeting in the Netherlands on Saturday 31 July and Sunday 1 August. This year's event will be in the Arnheim/Nijmegen region, and the plan is to stay in a youth hostel. There will be touring and sightseeing, and a visit to the Dutch National Bicycle Museum Velorama in Nijmegen. Although intended for Bike Fridays in particular, Enno Roosnik indicates that other cycles will be welcome. For more information, contact Enno at

Sunday 15 August - Chichester Harbour Ride
25 miles approx Meet Chichester Railway Station 10am for 10.30 start. Further details from Eric Jones, Tel 01903 782631. [Information provided by Moulton Bicycle Club]

Bike Friday Homecoming, 20-22nd August
Euegene, Oregon. More information from

Moulton Bicycle Club Bradford on Avon Weekend, 4-5th September
The annual Moulton event at the home of Dr Alex Moulton, The Hall, Bradford on Avon. More details later. This is of course strictly a Moulton only event.

29 November - 3 December - Portmeirion
The very popular autumn Folding Society gathering at Portmeirion will be taking place as usual - this will the fourth year. If you have been before, then you will know what to expect, and I'm sure you will be planning to come again this year. If you haven't been before, please give it a try, it's an ideal spot for an autumn/winter break with lots of good company, and we have had excellent weather every time so far, despite it being quite late in the year. This is another fairly informal event, and the booking of houses at Portmeirion is done by individuals. As explained in a previous issue of FSN, A to B have agreed to act as a clearing house in helping those who have booked houses find people to share them, or those who want to share to find people with space, so contact them if you need help in this respect. It's important that enough people book houses in time, and the place can fill quite quickly, so don't delay in making arrangements. You can contact A to B at

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.

The Folding Society
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Copyright (C)1999 Ferrets Anonymous
Last updated: 13 June 1999