The Folding Society

Issue 33 - 22 August 1999

Changes to Folding Society News

We are planning some substantial changes to Folding Society News over the next few issues, and we hope that you will find that these will prove a significant improvement.

Please remember that FSN is also available on our web pages (at, and that the version you will find there is properly formatted, so that it is much easier to read than this emailed version, which is sent as plain ASCII text to ensure that it can be handled by just about any computer system and mail program. You can also find all the back numbers of FSN on the web page.

The Tactic Panache

We have heard from a number of quarters that current Tactic Panaches have been changed significantly from the original design, resulting in much more acceptable handling. We haven't had a chance to try one ourselves, but if you are in the market for a new folder, but were put off the Tactic by its handling, it might be worth taking another look.


The event at Silverstone over the weekend to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Mini provided an excuse for a Moulton Bicycle Club ride from nearby Stoke Bruerne to the circuit. Although there was a fairly modest turnout of 15 riders, most of the main Moulton models were represented, including two NS's, but no Moulton Minis! Dr Moulton, as designer of the Mini suspension, was one of the special guests at Silverstone, but we did manage to make contact with him after lunch, and he was clearly delighted to see the bikes and their riders. A full report on the event, with pictures, is on the web pages at

This was the first chance for me try out the new chain keeper on my AM, which is intended to prevent the occasional problem of the chain coming adrift on this single chainwheel model - a problem which I have experienced on other bikes with single chainwheels, and not just Moultons. Certainly there were no problems with the chain either on this ride, or subsequently on a longer ride on Sunday. Some gear changes are now accompanied by a little additional sound, which suggests that the chain may be coming into contact with the keeper, and that it is doing a useful job. It's still too early to judge whether this has fully solved my chain problem, but the signs so far are good. You can find more about the chain keeper, including a picture, on the web pages at


Steve Parry continues to develop his Brompton-based SP. He has now completed an extra light single-speed version, which only weighs about 21.5 pounds. He has also changed the bottom bracket and chainset on his 7-speed bike to one of the top Shimano units, and reports that the extra stiffness and the resultant reduction in wasted pedalling efforts makes a major difference to the performance. The single-speed bike, with the same (Ultegra?) bottom bracket and chainset was on show at the August Mud Dock event, and those who tried it were apparently equally impressed by the effect of fitting this superior bottom bracket and chainset. We now have a section on the web pages covering the SP - you can find it at  

The Lanstair ride - Lands End to Broadstairs - but which bike to choose?

One problem of owning such a large number of bikes is that it is often difficult to know which one to use! In a few weeks' time I am due to ride the 400 or so miles from Lands End to Broadstairs, at a very leisurely pace (about 10 days for the whole ride) and including some off-road riding (South Downs Way and possibly more). We shall be getting to and from the end points by train, and will be using B&B, so there is no need to carry camping gear, although it will be necessary to carry the clothing etc for a journey of this duration. At present I have narrowed the choice down to 5 bikes, and I'd be interested in your views on which I should use - you can let me know your views by sending email to Of course you may feel that it doesn't really matter which bike I use - it is enjoying the ride which matters! The contenders (in no particular order) are:

Bike Friday New World Tourist. For: Good luggage capacity, gearing and brakes. Against: Harsh ride, plus another factor which has nothing to do with the bike.

Birdy Red. For: Comfortable ride. Against: Very poor luggage capacity.

Brompton-SP. For: Ease of transport by train. Against: Primos/small wheels not so good off-road; luggage handling not so good for a longer ride (I hoped the new front bag shown at Cycle and Leisure earlier this year might have been available, but it has not been released yet).

Moulton AM7. For: Good ride, good luggage handling. Against: Not as easy to get on a train, and wheels/tyres not at their best off-road.

Moulton APB. For: Good ride, good luggage handling, wheels/tyres quite well suited to off road conditions (though a change of tyres from City Jets might be desirable), good range of gears. Against: Heavy and not very easy to get on a train.

At present I think that one of Moultons is the most likely choice. 

Very soon after I get back from that ride, I am due to go to Scotland on a photographic holiday. The train will get me to Glasgow, but I plan to ride from there to Inversnaid (Loch Lomond), and I will have a large camera bag, tripod etc, plus clothing and other things needed for a week away. So I have another decision to make. Fortunately the choice of bike for the Portmeirion event in November is easy - I shall be using Brompton SP. 

The last of the longer test rides - Denham West London 4/5 Brevet Populaire, plus final comments and conclusions

The last of the 5 longer and faster (by my standards) test rides was completed on 12th August - the West London 4/5 Brevet Populaire from Denham. I chose the Pocket Rocket again for this ride, knowing from previous experience of an earlier Denham ride that those present were likely to ride quite fast, and the route sheet warned of more hills. I had some problems with the train connections on the way to Denham, and managed to miss the route twice during the ride, adding about 10% to the nominal distance. However, I still completed the ride the time allowed, and the Rocket performed faultlessly. By the end of the day this had become the second longest distance I have ever covered in a day, and I still felt quite fresh, though I felt very lacking in energy for a couple of days after the event. A full report on this ride can be found on the web pages at

Now that the series of rides has been completed there is now a further section on comments on conclusions on the web pages, at Although these tests did not really bring out any surprises, they confirmed that even an ageing and rather weak rider like myself can manage them comfortable on a good folder or separating cycle. I didn't feel that I would have performed better, or been less tired, on a conventional bike, particularly when riding the Moulton AM7 and the Bike Friday Pocket Rocket. For more detailed comments, and to find out which of the bikes I would pick given a free choice in future Brevet Populaires, take a look at the full report on the web pages.

A C2C ride on a Brompton

By Richard Mathews

A previous report ( described preparation for this ride.

If you have not ridden the C2C, you do not know what you are missing. Having just completed the ride on my Brompton, I can honestly say it was one of the best cycle journeys I have made. My son James accompanied me on his Trice that proved a challenge in itself!

We booked with Holiday Lakeland, to do the journey in 5 days. Holiday Lakeland transported our luggage, and had made all the hotel arrangements. Having stayed at The Swan in Thornthwaite on Sunday night, where we received a comprehensive briefing, on Monday morning we and 14 other intrepid C2C’eers were transported by coach to Whitehaven to dip our wheels in the Irish Sea and start our adventure. The journey is usually done West to East to take advantage of the prevailing wind. So we left Whitehaven with a stiff wind in our faces! The wind stayed easterly all week, which proved useful as if you found the wind behind you, it invariably meant that you had got your navigation wrong. We were lead out of Whitehaven by a veteran of the C2C, who seemed somewhat concerned when he saw our mounts, suggesting we should stick to the roads.

There have been many articles written about the C2C, you can even buy the video, so I will concentrate on how the bikes faired on a journey, for which most people choose a mountain bike.

We avoided the two roughest sections, choosing the alternative routes. James had only two problems with the Trice, having a lightly laden back wheel proved a problem on some of the loose surfaced hill sections. I tried to help by loading his single pannier with as much of my gear as possible! Secondly, the barriers erected on the tracks to keep motorcycles etc off, meant we had to lift the Trice over. I began to feel like his “Passe Partout” opening gates and helping lift over barriers whenever required.

I have owned my Brompton for three years and it never ceases to amaze me. I had no problems during the entire journey, the hair-raising descents on the forest paths were exhilarating, and, as long as I picked my line carefully and watched out for potholes, the Brompton coped with it all. I am ashamed to say I did not even notice the broken rear spoke until cleaning the bike on our return. The spoke, having broken at the nipple, had neatly wrapped itself around an adjacent spoke, but still the wheel stayed true. As I mentioned in my preamble, I have double chain rings, dropping on to the lower one to climb Winlatter Pass in the Lake District. I did not put it back on the big ring for over 100 miles, until 8 miles west of Consett, after which it is a 33 mile downhill cruise into Sunderland. I seem to have got accustomed to the riding position, the stubby bar ends help. Before leaving I contacted Steve Parry and purchased one of his brackets which allowed me to fit my Carradice bar bag to the front block. This proved very useful, if for nothing else, it made carrying and reading the map easy. Coupled with the Kwiklift fitted with a saddlebag, I had ideal stowage for everything I needed with space to spare when required.

I have been trying to think of a sensible reason for using a Brompton on this trip but I can not think of one, I just love my Brompton (I even slept with on the last night!), I seem to use it for everything else so why not? Mind you, by the time I get James’s Trice in the car I don’t have room for anything else.

Congratulations to Sustrans for the Route, it is excellent. I have already sent off for more maps to plan next year’s trip. Will it be Scotland or Devon?

Finally, thanks to Holiday Lakeland, for a well organised holiday and to my fellow C2Ceer’s, Vic, for being my assistant Passe Partout! The Queen of the Mountains, Hissing Sid, Chris for showing us all how it should all be done and to everyone else for their companionship. Lastly, to the guy on the Yellow Cannondale, How’s your Grandmother’s egg sucking?

Bike Right Weekend, Lancaster 30th July - 2nd August

By Michelle Whitworth

There was a disappointing folder showing for this event, which must have enjoyed some of the finest weather we’ve seen this year. A Birdy, two Bike Fridays, a handful of Bromptons (as always) and a family of Moultons were in attendance. However, as always at Lancaster, there were probably more small wheels in evidence on recumbents, with a large contingent of Kingcycles, and what seemed to be this year’s fashionable model - the BikeE.

I elected to go on Friday and Saturday with the fast group - which mainly consisted of a bunch of Kingcyclists, keen to show their pace. Several of them even more than usually lean and fit from a fortnight’s cycling in the Pyrennees (62000 feet of ascent, they told me), they were nicknamed the whippets by Rob Brock. This was the first major outing on my new New World Tourist (the insurance replacement for the one stolen a few months ago in Newcastle) and I was interested to see how it would fare on narrower Primos.

The first day’s 66 mile route took us over to Dent through a very scenic route and then round to Kirby Lonsdale. The weather was glorious. The well known watering hole just outside Kirby Lonsdale on such a hot day in the holiday season was almost as busy as Blackpool so we beat a hasty retreat from the car bound picnickers, swimmers and rubber lilos and went for tea in town and a stroll round the church. We then returned via Morecombe Bay.

The next day I again joined the whippets, this time on a 70 mile trip to the Trough of Bowland. Within the first mile, we had lost Peter King at the Asda car park when he responded to a call on his mobile phone; and before we had got through Lancaster, four of us became detached from the rest in the one way system. Failing to find the leaders, the four of us continued despite having no map between us and no idea of the route or the lunch destination. Incredibly, just before the Trough of Bowland, the main group popped out from a side road just in front of us. They had waited for us but beyond the road marked to the Trough (the main route for cars) which had delayed them sufficiently for us as the slower group to match their pace on their slightly longer quieter route.

The day was even hotter than before and the route was extremely hilly. On the last climb before lunch, we waited for the slowest member (on a BikE – not the easiest mount for this terrain) who didn’t arrive. We decided to continue to our lunch spot beside the river at Dunlop Bridge, leaving chalked instructions at the road junction. We did not see him again till we arrived back at camp - it transpired that, overcome with heatstroke, he had been forced to recover for some while by the roadside.

The afternoon was not quite so hard and there were some glorious sweeping descents to the coast. I am glad to report that the NWT held up very well against the Kingcyclists bearing in mind that its rider cannot aspire to whippet status.

In the evening, the organisers put on a light hearted cycling quiz which involved lots of questions about sprockets but also some fairly humorous questions e.g. in one word how would you describe the UCI’s regulations on

On Sunday, I took it easy with a relaxed ride along the old railway line to the coast and back via the Lancaster canal, accompanied by a very large mixed bag of cycles and cyclists, young and old. This was just as well as, in the afternoon, a massive thunderstorm could be seen over the very hills where I had been cycling the previous two days. By dint of sheltering under a canal bridge, we were able to avoid the couple of light showers which passed over. But who do you think fell in the canal.? Was it one of those strange-looking lying down bikes, or one of those funny foldy bikes with little wheels? - no, in fact it was one of the two mountain bikes with great knobbly wheels. Well, to be accurate, only the rider went in – fortunately, the bike fell to the other side of the towpath as it would have been much harder to dry.

The weekend did afford me a brief tryout of Peter King’s modified (by Steve Parry ) Brompton and I must say that I was impressed out of my initial scepticism. I particularly liked the front end, as I have always maintained that you lose an enormous amount of energy through the flex in the handlebars and frame. And how nice to have such a wide range of gears – I could really do with those around Gateshead.

The other high spot of the weekend was the tidal bore which swept up the river outside the camp site at half past midnight on the Saturday. Not as large as the Severn but still worthwhile. Many thanks to Robert Poole for encouraging us to hang around till it happened.

So, very little folder activity as such but enjoyable nonetheless – Lancaster continues to be one of my favourite venues.. I cannot remember camping at many cycle events when it has been possible to sit outside in comfort and a T-shirt at 10 o’clock at night two nights running (well OK there was Folder Forum at the Isle of Wight but that was exceptional and it was the south of England.)

So, a brilliant weekend with terrific rides, weather and company. Many, many thanks to the organisers. And let’s hope for a better folder showing at next year’s Cyclefest.


Please note that there will be no Mud Dock meeting in September as the date coincides with the Moulton Bicycle Club annual weekend at Bradford on Avon.

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 were provided in issue 17 (dated July 1999) of The Moulton Flyer. This is of course strictly a Moulton only event.

No Mud Dock meeting in September - see note above. During the August Mud Dock meeting a proposal was apparently put forward to move the location of future meetings. However, the suggested location is usually closed in the winter months, so, pending clarification, I would suggest that anyone planning to go to the event on 2 October should go to Mud Dock in the usual way.

Saturday 11th September - Origami Ride
For September, meet as usual at the Tearooms in Meriden from 10.30 for an 11.00am start. Note that the October event will start from Milton Keynes station - see the web pages for more details - they are at, or contact John Pinkerton on 0121 350 0685.

Calais France: La Journee "En ville, sans ma voiture?" Wednesday 22 September 1999, 7am to 9pm
Details were given in FSN 031, or contact Sam Webb:

Saturday 2 October 1999 - Severn Valley Ride 
Meet Kidderminster at Severn Valley Railway Museum Cafe 10am for 10.30. There is a free car park at the station. 35 mile ride with option to shorten to 24 miles and travel back on the Severn Valley Steam Railway. Further details from Sandra Evans. Tel 01562 862701 [Information provided by The Moulton Bicycle Club - event also open to folders]. This sounds like a very enjoyable event if you are far enough north to find travel to Mud Dock rather a chore, or if you are not too sure where the 'Mud Dock' meeting will be on 2 October! I shall be away at the time, otherwise this is an event I would certainly have in my diary.

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 a 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 I believe that some further information will appear in A to B issue 13, due out soon.

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Last updated: 22 August 1999