Saturday, December 31, 2005

Origami rides calendar for 2006

The monthly UK Origami rides calendar for 2006 has been published, and is available directly here or via the 'Events' menu choice in the sidebar.

The Origami rides are both people and folder friendly : All types of bicycle and rider are welcome, although its predominantly folders and small wheels, and we sociably cycle at the pace of the slowest participant.

Sweet Home Chicago

Chicago has a group of folder enthusiasts with their own discussion group. Here is advance notice of their April Folds Ride, to be held on the appropriate day.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

German Engineering

Most information supplied to the Folding Society comes from English-speaking folding bike manufacturers. Germany is well-known for excellent engineering and we have a couple of links for interesting folding bikes from that part of the world.

Aiolus produces an intriguing compact folding recumbent tricycle and one of the few compact folding tandems.

Bernds is another manufacturer of folding solos and tandems.

Utopia Velo is mostly known for high-end, low maintenance 'sit up and beg' bikes but also produce a folding bicycle.

riese and muller produce the Birdy and the Frog, manufactured in the Far East. There are a few pictures floating about on the web of a Birdy tandem, which is unlikely to ever reach production.

As we've mentioned previously, there are many types of folding bikes that never make their way to Europe or the US. Here are some variations on the theme of Birdy (or BD1, as they are known in Japan, built by Pacific Cycles), Louis Garneau a Canadian company (note: requires Japanese characters) and various Birdys (note: requires Japanese characters), ranging from a child's version to a titanium one.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Seasons Greetings

Best wishes to all our members for Christmas and the New Year from the team at The Folding Society.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Various snippets

Want a primer on folding or carrying a Brompton? Nuttycyclist has some help in the Hints and tips section of his website. There is plenty of other stuff worth reading on his site. Susan and I particularly have happy memories of doing the 2004 Dunwich Dynamo on our Bromptons, mentioned in the Rides section.

Australian Cyclist is positioned at the more useable end of the magazine spectrum, as opposed to the crash, bang, wallop of the teenagers' mags. Here is their review of the Brompton, imported into Australia by Greenspeed. Interestingly, the base model Birdy is cheaper than the Brompton.

Stuttgart in Germany is one of the growing number of cities hiring folding bikes to tourists, a worthwhile way to get around most cities.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

And Still More Fora

I am getting the feeling that we won't ever quite achieve a definitive list of folder-friendly fora.

One we definitely shouldn't have missed is Kinetics' Bulletin Board where Ben and other contributors can answer most enquiries. The main website is worth a look not just for folding bikes enthusiasts but also for recumbenteers and electric-assist-ophiles.

Transportation Alternatives is a New York based group with a bulletin board that occasionally refers to the folding bike option.

US based Downtube sells their own folding bikes (plus other brands) and host their own forum.

Gathered from the press

Several things have been happening in the folding bike world recently, according to the mainstream press.

An Indian manufacturer TI Cycles has started producing a folding bike for the home market, seemingly labeled as a BSA (a deceased English brand).

It seems that folding bikes aren't only popular for London commuting. While sales of standard bicycles are reportedly dropping in China, folding bikes seem to be quite popular in Beijing.

Another folding bike has hit the market in America, Mobiky (note: slow loading website) but also mentioned here. We haven't seen one in the flesh but the specifications list 12" tyres, disk brakes and a two-stage chain drive, together with an aluminium frame and Sturmey Archer 3 speed hub.

Several folding bikes have won design awards over the years. The Japanese 2004 Good Design Award winner is the 17bicycle (note: requires loading Korean characters), one of dozens of folding bike designs from the Far East that never seem to make it to Europe. Quite a few of them can be found on Chop's list of folding bikes.

Monday, December 19, 2005

More site improvements

We hope you like the improvements which the new team has already brought to The Folding Society and its web site, and which have started with the News page.

Now the 'Links' section has been updated and extended, which relates to some other planned changes for the near future. Please let us know of any errors or omissions in the lnks section - you can contact us at

Stolen Brompton

Black L3 Brompton, frame no. 175318, stolen from the bike rack outside Imperial College, Prince Consort Road, London SW7, between 1pm and 2.20pm on Friday 16th December 2005. Front pannier block, kevlar front tyre, otherwise no unsual features. Any information, contact or on 07740 626469.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Danube Bikeway by folder

Gaerlan Custom Cycles is a respected small-scale US builder of folding bikes, also selling and customising other folders. This year, they joined some friends cycling the Danube towpath and you can read about it here, together with some earlier trips.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Velovison 20

Hot on the heels of A to B comes the latest issue of Velovision - another Christmas treat. As usual, there is quite a lot of interest to folder enthusiasts, including a very detailed, and generally very positive, review of the Mezzo d9. As in the case of A to B, there is a review of 'Rainlegs', which look like a very good idea for cyclists (

London Tube Cycling Map

Find out where you can take a bike on the tube for free (note time restrictions apply)now available online as a PDF here.

How Green is your bicycle? - Do We Agree?

I found this article listed on the CTC newsnet 16.12.2005

How green is your bicycle?

Was the question posed last week in the Guardian newspaper. We know, of course, that when cycling our CO2 emissions are negligible, but how much do we know about the bikes we ride? Read the article, including a contribution from CTC’s technical officer, Chris Juden, here.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Airnimal news

Our thanks to Mike Roberts for pointing out that the specification of the Airnimal Rhino, in the top Black Rhino version, now features a Rohloff 14-speed hub gear as standard, rather than a derailleur. The Rhino is the 20 inch wheeled Airnimal intended for off-road use, and the Rohloff is an attractive feature for a bike like this. The larger wheeled Airnimals (24 inch wheels on the Chameleon and Joey) are due to benefit from the availability of Schwalbe Stelvio tyres, soon, although the date for the launch of the tyre in that size has apparently slipped back to early in 2006.

A to B issue 51 - colour!

Issue 51 of A to B has just arrived - what a nice present for Christmas. For the first time it includes a colour cover and several pages of colour photos As an added bonus, quite a lot of the colour photos feature Jane Henshaw! The move to colour involves a very modest increase in price, but it remains very good value at just £13.80 in the UK, or £19 by overseas airmail. If you aren't already a subscriber, Christmas is a good time to treat yourself to a sub. A to B are at

Origami Rides in 2006

Our monthly ride (second Saturday of each month) remains very popular, and the program for 2006 is now nearly complete. The first will be on 14th January, and will start from Meriden. We should have the full program on the web pages soon.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Yet more folder friendly links

It didn't take long for us to be reminded of some electronic sources of folder information that we haven't mentioned in a while.

VeloVision has a forum on their website and a news page that regularly contains items of interest to folder enthusiasts. Speaking personally, the magazine is thoroughly recommended.

Bike Friday is another manufacturer hosting a folding bike forum on their website, together with the Yak! e-list (accessable from the same link).

There are brand specific e-lists for Brompton at and Birdy at plus a low traffic folding bike e-list at The Moulton e-list can be found at

To finish off with, a folder unfriendly link , for those with a sense of humour. This continues the soap opera.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A Folding Newspaper?

British readers may be interested in picking up the Guardian newspaper (and not just because they name-check this website). It seems that they are testing various folding bicycles by, and this is unusual for mainstream media, actually riding them. You can read an older article here

Monday, December 12, 2005

Folder Fora

There are several online fora (or forums, standard practice is a little unclear on this point) frequented by folder enthusiasts.

Dahon has an understandably tightly focussed forum on their US website

A more general folder forum with mostly North American participants is at

British-based fora with some activity regarding folding bicycles can be found on the CyclingPlus website (generally under Special Interest) and to a lesser extent at Bike Reader. Bike Reader has an excellent collection of articles about cycling elsewhere on the site, well worth some surfing time.

Useful snippets from these fora include a heads-up on the availability of MKS clipless QR pedals and indications of the popularity of folding bikes amongst some North American caravan (or trailer home) owners

Moulton and Brompton enthusiasts in Germany

We have news of a couple of new web sites for those in Germany, in the Cologne area - and Jurgen Seidel is a new dealer who handles both Moulton and Brompton.


As you will see, we have now changed the format of our news section, which will make it easier for the team now running The Folding Society to keep the news section up to date. The older news is still available - you will see a link to it on the right. If you have in the past used a direct link to go to the news page (rather than going through our main web home page), please update the link to this new location.

Buses and folders

Buses have been in the news recently, what with the latest statistics on bus usage (increasing in London, but decreasing elsewhere in the UK), and the final phasing out of the last London Routemasters. We've also had news of a scheme to adapt double decker buses for use as housing; it's a rather unusual idea, and perhaps of interest to readers as the scheme includes provision of folding bikes for use by the 'residents'! You can find out more at

Avon Valley Cyclery News - Rohloff on a Moulton, clipless pedals, and special offers

Avon Valley Cyclery recently sent out the latest issue of their newsletter. Of particular interest is the news that they can supply New Series Moultons fitted with the Rohloff 14-speed hub gear. The MKS detachable pedals have been available in normal, toeclip and strap form for some while now, and many people have been waiting for a version using clipless pedals. The good news is that this is now available, but the bad news is that it is not compatible with the popular Shimano SPD cleats! They also have some special offers on some models of folder at present. Avon Valley's web site is at

A flight case trailer for a Brompton

Folding Society member Dave Wiles recently sent us some information about a case be made for transporting his Brompton by air, and which can be towed behind the Brompton at the end of the flight. You can read about the case and see some photographs on the web at

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Xmas Origami Ride 2005

The December Origami Ride attracted a good turn out of riders on a fine, dry day. Not only were we spared rain or snow, but it was actually reasonably warm too. As usual the Bromptons were the most numerous machines, with 7 examples, including Steve Parry's very light titanium-forked single-speed model, which he plans to lighten even more! The other machines included three Moultons, two Birdys, two Dahons, an SP and a Raleigh Randonneur. The 16 riders were joined at lunch time by Jayne Grogan. We had an excellent lunch at The Engine in Hampton in Arden before most riders returned to Meriden for the journey home. Many thanks to all who came to the event, and have supported the rides during the year, and especially to Trevor and Irene Batchelor who organised the December ride.

Above: Some of the group entered into the festive spirit by dressing appropriately, and Phil Wray's Brompton was festooned with Christmas lights as well! Our route to the lunch stop took us past the windmill near Balsall Common [Photograph - Trevor Batchelor]
Below: A slight diversion was necessary due to a flooded track - it may not show in the photo, but a horse and rider abandoned the attempt to get through when the horse was knee-deep in the water! Paul Evans enjoying the lunch [Photograph - Trevor Batchelor].

[Photograph, Flood Mike Hessey][Photograph of Santa's Elf, by Trevor Batchelor]

An Origami report can never close with out an end comment. There is always one person we can trust and rely on to keep the riders together which is due to his dedication for caring for other riders. Our thanks go to Mike Hessey for his sweeping skills and constant care for the members.