Sunday, April 30, 2006

Spring cycling - or summer already?

Spring has well and truely sprung here in the UK - in fact the spring flowers (daffodils and hyacynths in the picture below) are in many cases either past their prime, or completlely finished. On the 69Km ride on 27th April during which the picture was taken, several swifts were seen, which I suppose might be taken to mean that summer has arrived. Actually, riding is quite tricky at present in terms of clothing - winds are quite chilly, and although in sheltered, sunny, parts you get hot, descents into the wind are quite cold.

Oh - and more news on the pictured Trice QNT within the next 6 weeks: suffice it to say for the present that it is great fun, every bit as good as the January test suggested. It's been in the Smart twice (about 10 minutes to fold or unfold), though the fact that it cannot be taken on a train is a drawback. My longest ride so far is just over 70Km, but I hope to use it for one of the 100Km Brevet Populaires in about a month's time.

The Perfect Name

Origami is not only an artform involving folded paper - it is the Folding Society's popular monthly ride for folding bike enthusiasts (together with its German counterpart). However I wonder who will be the first Folding Society member to own this?. Norco is a Canadian bicycle company and it is their perfectly named version of a folding bike.

Airnimal Rhino pictures

Pictures of the Airnimal Rhino (the off-road, 406-wheeled Airnimal, for those not in the know!), especially in folded form, are not very common, so we are grateful to Folding Society member James Mildenhall for posting a good collection on the web at These show the complete bike, lots of details, and the folded version.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Staffs Lanes 100Km Brevet Populaire

Congratulations to Trevor and Irene Batchelor on completing their first 100Km Brevet Populaire (the Staffs Lanes ride from Shenstone) on their fx8 Moultons on Sunday 23 April. They finished the event comfortably within the time limit, and seemed ready for more at the end. Other small wheeled folders at the event were a Bike Friday New World Tourist, and a Bike Friday Family Tandem - we tended to see a lot of the tandem, as it would pass us at high speed on the descents, and we would catch it up on some of the ascents!


Tony Hadland reports:
"I have just been telephoned by Roger Taylor who tells me that our venerable friend Ron Beams died a few days ago. He was 99 years old and still regularly riding his power-assisted recumbent cycle until shortly before his death.

My wife Rosemary and I first met Ron via the Moulton Bicycle Club, when he was a mere 73 or so. He, like us, was also a member of the Fellowship of Weybridge Wheelers and of the Veteran-Cycle Club.

I well remember riding the North of Scotland Moulton ride with him and a dozen or so others 'aged from 8 to 80 back in 1987. He was the "80" and did very well on his low-geared AM, including the legendary ride from Durness on the dirt road to the Cape Wrath lighthouse and back. I recall being impressed when Ron told me he was having 12 cycling holidays that year. He had, I believe, been widowed about the time he retired from a long career in insurance and certainly got good value out of his pension - about 34 years!

Roger Taylor, who knew Ron very well and thinks he lived something of a charmed life, does not wish to write an obituary for 'The Moultoneer'. In fact, Roger - a great friend of his - disputes that Ron was even a cyclist, saying 'all he wanted was a Ferrari with pedals, so that he could claim still to be cycling'. However, having seen Ron on the North of Scotland Ride at the age of 80, I would disagree.

Here's to you Ron! We'll always remember that cheeky twinkle in your eye, especially when chatting up the ladies. Oh, and the traffic jam behind you on the way into Weybridge, with Rosemary's godmother (the wife of the CTC's erstwhile development director) cursing you for holding up her car journey!"

Ron will be sadly missed.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Tactic Panache

The Tactic Panache first appeared some years ago, and at a time when the choice of folders was quite limited, it created quite a lot of interest as a possible competitor for the Brompton. Like other machines aspiring to offer the Brompton some competition in the compact folder market sector, it did not make much impression in terms of sales. Reader Jim Woffenden recently tried a new Panache, and offers his impressions in this report on our web pages.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Stolen Brompton

Orange frame, ivory forks, Tan Brooks leather saddle with springs (Flyer S). Brown inline skate wheels, black bell. Stolen from the bike rack at the British Library (they cut through the lock). Serial number and frame number known. Reward if recovered. 07930 571144.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Cyclefeast 2006

Don't forget that Cyclefeast this year is from Friday 14th July 2006 to Friday 21st July. Last year's event was a great success, and there were plenty of folders and separables there, and of course lots of recumbents. Note that the cost of registering is due to increase on 1st May, so if you are planning to come, this is a good time to book (unless you have done so already). I hope to see some of you there. The Cyclefeast web site is at

Monday, April 10, 2006

Telford Origami Ride Photos

Use the link to view.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Rainlegs on the April Origami Ride

April showers bring May flowers - or so the saying goes. Acually the weather was superb for most of the Telford/Ironbridge Origami Ride on Saturday 8th April. I tried to fit in visits to most of the Ironbridge Gorge Museums during the ride, and I can only apologise to those who came that this was over ambitious, and that the return stage was (a bit?) chaotic - that's a penalty of building flexibility into the plan! Crucially, though, I don't think we lost any of the riders, even if some of you followed the road signs, rather than my verbal instructions, and went a short, steep, way back, rather than the longer, but more gentle route.
Those who left the Victorian Town at Blists Hill early to catch a train (to avoid the football supporters who had attended the Wolverhampton/Coventry derby) missed a hail storm on the way back. The conditions were unpleasant enough that I put on my new Rainlegs (most of you have probably read other reviews, so I won't elaborate here). This was the second time I've used them - the other occasion being while walking in the Lake District on a photographic holiday. For conventional (and folding) bike riders, and many other activities, they are great - protection from the rain, light, fully waterproof and breathing (the back of the leg is not covered as in 'normal' waterproof trousers. I'm not sure if they are as effective for recumbent riders, and walking through long, wet grass, but I recommend them. I think that the process of putting them on, rolling them up, and storing them, could be refined/improved (though it's not at all bad) - it just makes you wonder why no one thought of this before (easy in retrospect). See for more details (no vested interest - I bought mine via this web site at full price).
Oh, and as a late returner, I am happy to say that the football fans on the local train (perhaps Wolverhampton rather than Coventry supporters?) were absolutely no problem, very pleasant, if disappointed (2-2, I looked it up on the web).
Many thanks to all of you who came to my last Origami ride, and supported a local visitor, Peter Wilkes, who was using this as his sponsored ride on behalf of Cancer Research. I would also like to thank the three local Birdy riders who joined us - 5 Birdys has only been surpassed once at an Origami Ride, and that was the one which was specifically designated as a Birdy Ride. There were 21 riders all told, and apart from the Birdys (4 Reds, 1 Black), we had 2 Airnimals, 2 Moultons, a Dahon, one Bike Friday, three conventional (non-folding) mountain bikes, and of course lots of Bromptons.
As leader of this not very organised ride, I didn't have time to take any photographs, but others may be adding pictures to this report in due course.
Thanks again to all who attended, and to those who make the Ironbridge Gorge a great place to visit, and worthy of its status as a WORLD heritage site.
'Steve E Michaels'

Inaugural ride on the new National Cycle Network Route 23 on 22 April

To coincide with the launch of the NCN 23 route south from Basingstoke, a ride will will take place from Eastrop Park in Basingstoke centre on Saturday 22 April. Meet at 10.00 for official launch at about 10.30. Eastrop Park is just south east of Basingstoke Station. Moulton, Dahon, Brompton and other folder fans, or big wheel riders, are welcome to join in and attend the launch, then pedal part or all of the route.
As it is fairly long at about 30 miles round trip [!!Ed], riders may want to just cover part of it before returning to Basingstoke. There are some steep hills on parts of the route, so a bike with low gearing is best suited for the route, which is mainly on rural narrow quiet lanes once clear of Basingstoke and passing under M3. The route will pass through the small villages of Cliddesden, Ellisfield, Lower Wield and Medstead before turning west towards Bighton for lunch; there will be normal stops en route.
A return may be made via part of the Ox Drove Off Road Cycle Trail if conditions are suitable. Alternately, if people do not want to be out so long, they could travel just part of the route and return themselves to Basingstoke - as the route is waymarked, there is little likelihhod of getting lost.
Contact Eric Reed by email at if proposing to join in.
The NCN 23 route can be traced on the Sustrans cycle maps at web pages if Basingstoke is entered in location box.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Sinclair again, sort of!

The Sunday Times and the Guardian have written pieces recently on Sir Clive Sinclair's 'new folding bike'. However, Bikebiz suggests it is the same bicycle that was launched a couple of years ago and hasn't yet hit the streets. It would be interesting to do a test when it is available.

Monday, April 03, 2006

The Origami Project

I realise this is not folding cycling related but I know many of you are interested with mobile computing. Still it has a catchy name. Take a look at the website.

April Origami ride

Details for the Origami ride on April 8th are here. It's from Telford to Ironbridge Gorge - some tasters of the destination are here and here.