The Folding Society

Issue 41 - 28 November 1999


We hadn't planned to produce another issue of FSN so soon after the last one, but as there seemed enough material, and we shall be busy at Portmeirion next week, so that we don't want to have a long issue to prepare next weekend, we thought we would send one out now.

A few members have mentioned that they did not receive issue 39 of FSN, which went out on 7 November. The mal server at my ISP crashed at about the time I was sending that issue, and I suspect that some mail got lost during the process. If you missed that issue, which was the one containing some speculation on future Brompton developments, you can find it on our web pages at, or, if you can't access that, send me an email and I will send it again.

The number of readers who have opted to receive the formatted version of FSN for viewing via a web browser is still growing, but still represents less than 10% of the distribution list. If you would like to receive it this way in the future, and you have not yet notified me of this, please send me an email at the usual address, Apart from transferring you from one distribution list to another, it is no more work for me to send the formatted version - indeed as FSN is prepared formatted, it is the creation of the raw ASCII text unformatted version which requires extra work.

As mentioned in issue 40, we hope to be able to put reports and pictures from the forthcoming week's Portmeirion event on our web pages each evening, so please take a look to see how we are getting on. We have tested the equipment here (Nikon Coolpix 900 camera, Psion Series 5mx, PC card modem, new ftp software etc), and it is working, so the main question is just whether we can plug the modem into the telephone system at Portmeirion. You can access the reports from our usual web address, or you can go straight to the relevant page at You will also find some more information on the technology we are using to do this on that page. We shall not have access to the FSN distribution list while we are at Portmeirion, at least not in a form which will allow us to email you, so don't expect another FSN or block mailing from us until after the event.

The end of the year is nigh, so apart from Portmeirion, there is not much else in our events calendar for this year - just the regular Mud Dock and Origami rides ('just' is not meant to be derogatory!). However, there are already quite a number of events planned for 2000, and some thought is being given to what should be the main Folder event in the UK next year - more news on that soon. In issue 42 and/or 43 we shall be looking back on the folding year 1999, and looking forward to 2000, and we'll also have some suggestions of Christmas presents suitable for folder enthusiasts. We still plan an article on tyres for small wheelers - indeed the draft was produced some weeks ago - but we are holding it back until we have covered a few more miles on the new Birdy tyre, by which time we may also have managed to try some of the new Schwalbe 16 inch tyres on the Brompton; expect the article early in the new year.

On the subject of tyres, Sheldon Brown, has recently released on the web a major article on tyres, which you can find at http://sheldon Sheldon's site contains many other articles on aspects of bicycle technology - a good starting point is the glossary, at

Bike Friday

The mudguards fitted to Bike Fridays have the virtue that they can be very easily removed and fixed with a single bolt, and the flexible design makes them difficult to damage, but they do not provide much protection. Now Vince Mackenzie of Valley Cycles, the UK distributor of Bike Friday, reports that he has '... just found some really nice fenders made by SKS that will fit Bike Fridays with a 406 wheel. They are as near full size as you can get; the front has 2 stays and a quick release if something gets trapped in the tyre; the rear uses 3 stays. You will need a bracket for the bridge - I may be able to do that for you if it is a problem. The fittings are stainless, and they cost 22.95 inc VAT and shipping; the US price would be 19.54 ex VAT, plus shipping at cost." I haven't seen them yet, but they sound an interesting option for Bike Friday owners who are looking for a more substantial mudguard/fender. You can contact Vince at .


Birdy tyre Following our report in the last issue on the new Birdy tyres, we received an email from member Gordon Maclay to say that one hour after he fitted one of these new tyres to the back wheel of his Birdy, the tyre blew off with a loud bang, as did mine. Gordon is now using it at only 70 psi in the tyre without problems, and my own has been all right so far at 80 psi. If you are fitting one of these tyres, the answer seems to be to be very careful that it is seating properly, to watch it closely while inflating to make sure it remains properly seated, and to avoid going over the recommended maximum of 85-90 psi even by a whisker. Many tyres can be used at more than the rated pressure (people have regularly done this with the old Raleigh Records without any apparent problems), but this is evidently not a good idea with this new Birdy tyre. Incidentally, having said that many tyres will take more than the recommended pressure, I should add that I am not actually advising that you should do this - if you do so it is at your own risk.

Frank van Ruitenbeek from Amsterdam has sent me some interesting observations on his Birdy Blue, which has had extensive use during the last 21 months. He has experimented with various tyres and tubes, judging by the specifications these were probably primarily intended for children's bikes rather than the heavy use to which he has put them. The various emails need a little bit of editing, but I hope to be able to print the article in either FSN 42 or 43.


JP BromptonJohn Pinkerton sent a picture of a most unusual load on a Brompton - those of you receiving the formatted version of FSN will see the photograph here, otherwise try looking at the web site, at . John explains the load as follows:

Faced with delivery of a c1914 Sturmey-Archer 3-speed hub for a Triumph motor-cycle to specialist repairer Kevin Hellowell in Halifax, I had three options:-

  1. Send for Peter King of 999 deliveries
  2. Hire a car
  3. Use the Brompton and train.

As I wanted to meet Kevin, I chose the train; problem was the size and weight of the S-A with belt drive rim attached, plus the new wheel rim into which it was to be built and the dummy belt rim for the rear brake weighed about the same as the Brommy itself. By carefully padding the rear carrier I was able to hold it on at the rear end to ensure 'heel clearance' whilst riding. The-up hill ride to my local station was no trouble, and even negotiation of Birmingham New Street platform change was made easy with the help of the staff and the goods lift. Halifax is hilly, but the 5-sp bicycle S-A carried the load without trouble, but not a little perspiration. Not sure how I will collect the rebuilt wheel yet. Perhaps a Hod?

Incidentally, John's 1990 Brompton T5 is fitted with the earlier, rather less robust looking, rear carrier.


Tony Hadland tells us that a hardback version of The Moulton Bicycle book is on order, and should be available in January at 13.95. I'm waiting to hear from Tony if this is the same in content as his original book, or whether there are any changes. Even if it is unchanged, I would certainly recommend it. My own copy of the original soft back is well thumbed, and I will certainly be adding the hardback version to my library. Tony's web pages are at If you haven't been there, Tony's site certainly warrants a visit, as it includes all sorts of interesting material, including a slide show of the evolution of the Moulton, and some updates and corrections to his well known books. Tony also reports that he has heard that Alex Moulton Bicycles have taken on a new full-time development engineer, who is a prominent Moultoneer. 


Mike Hullis of Phoenix Cycles ( ) kindly sent me a copy of the latest Pashley catalogue. Apart from the usual Moulton APB models - the S7, T21 and Land Rover, the new fx8 is also included. The Micro and Fold-it, which were originally Cresswell products, are in there too, continuing to carry the 'Brilliant Bicycles' name, rather than Pashley's own. For anyone interested in a folding tricycle, it's worth mentioning that the Tri-1 is also listed as being available with a folding frame option - I believe that at least one of our members has a folding tricycle. Pashley's own web page is at .

Sales and Wants

The S&W list is still quite active - 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. 


Andrew Middleton of Reading writes:

I am a new owner, and have a red Brompton T5. I carry the bike in my boot for the majority of the time and use it when I stay away from home (work not choice). For this reason I chose the T5 with dynamo lighting. What I had forgotten was quite how dark small country lanes are at night and how little light you get to see compared to a car. Any ideas on getting higher front output, without going for a very expensive lighting system?

Most of my riding in the dark is done on well lit roads, which means that the lights are mainly there to be seen, rather than to see by. I do remember very well returning from the Folder Forum 1 dinner late in the evening along some small lanes to the camp sight, when I had great difficulty seeing where I was going, and I had to ride very slowly for fear of missing a bend in the road. I haven't got on well with dynamo lighting, as the slipping which seems to occur when it is wet means that I have to carry battery lights as well, which rather defeats the object. AT FF1 I was using a Specialized lamp, which not only consumed batteries alarmingly quickly, but also cast a very poor beam pattern. I now use the Cateye Hyper 1500, which gives a better battery life, particularly on the economy setting, and also has an excellent beam pattern. During a 1998 Moulton Bicycle Club ride we went through a long disused railway tunnel, and in the lamp test which we carried out there my Cateye was voted the best lamp. I believe this model has been discontinued, but St John Street Cycles were still listing them a few weeks ago. The Cateye Micro also has a good reputation. For a good source of information on lamps I would suggest looking at the Audax UK web site - since Audax riders often cycle through the night, lights are important, both in terms of quality of lighting and battery life. The Audax UK web site is at .


Saturday 4 December 1999 - Mud Dock
It seems to have been agreed to stay with the Mud Dock venue in future, after some suggestions that an alternative might be used. Meet from about 10.30am. For further information contact Gary Lovell, Tel: 0117 932 4633.

Saturday 11 December - Origami Ride
The December Origami Ride will  be at its usual location, the Tearooms at Meriden; arrive from 10.30 for an 11.00 start. For more information please see the web pages at, or contact John Pinkerton on 0121 350 0685, email . When we can work out how to upload web pages at mwfree, we will probably relocate the origami web page to that location, but the existing site will provide a link to there - we'll keep you posted on developments.

Sunday 30th January 2000 - 4th 'Bikes 'N' Bits' Cycle fair, Manchester Velodrome, Stuart Street, Manchester
This event will be open from 12 noon until 4pm, and will include retail, club and individual stalls. The admission price is 1 per person, and track tasters will be available - half an hour for 3. There is nothing specifically scheduled for folders, but those in the area may find it worth a visit - you could take the opportunity to look at some of the Pinkerton Collection which has now been relocated at the Velodrome.

10 - 12 March 2000 - Australian Bike Friday Club (ABFC), Bright
For more information on this event, contact Margaret Day, email

June, 2000 - Vondelpark Amsterdam
Enno Roosink,, tells us that the party is going to be like a fair with lots of activities and exhibitors of special bicycles, recumbents, folders and the like. Please have a look at for details. All participants of our annual Bike Friday Meeting will be attending the Bicycle Party/Fair; the general idea is to ride mixed with the Moultons and the Bike Fridays. The BF meeting will be stretched over the weekends 17-18 June and 24 - 25 June.

CycleFest 2000 - Lancaster, 2nd  – 8th August 2000
The bi-annual cycling feast will soon be coming around again, and it'll all be up and running from Wednesday 2nd to Tuesday 8th August at St Martins College, Lancaster, UK. Quite a bit has been planned already of course, and as usual there's a theme for the sessions - this year it's "Transmissions", and we already have some great speakers booked for this (Tony Hadland, Florian Schlumfp, Izzi Ureili et al) and some interesting new activities planned (50m sprints, midnight torchlight parade and BBQ etc). However, further ideas are always welcome. There will be announcements in Folding Society News, The Moultoneer and other publications in due course. The Cyclefest web pages are now available (, and will be regularly updated as the event approaches. We hope there will be a major folder/separable presence at Cyclefest 2000. If you have any queries concerning CycleFest, contact: John Bradshaw, Tel/Fax: 01524 384474 (day) or Tel: 01524 66658 (eve)

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.

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.

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.

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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)1999 Ferrets Anonymous
Last updated: 28 November 1999