Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mezzo d10, and d9 on test

Mezzo have just officially announced the d10 - we have a d9 on test, and had a chance to see a pre-production d10 when the test bike was being delivered.

Firstly, if you would like a chance to see and try the latest d9, we expect to have the test bike at the Oxford Origami Ride, and we would like to get as many people to try it and contribute to our report as possible.

As far as the d10 goes, the first thing to say is that this in NOT a replacement for existing models! - it is intended as a lighter, higher spec, more expensive addition to the range. The most striking thing is the new frame - rather than being welded from tube, it is a ''monocoque'' design, welded from a left and right hand part; seen from the side, it is more elegant, though you may be like me and find the resultant centre-weld (as found on many modern frames) looks a bit agricultural. I understand that this frame is more expensive to manufacture than the existing tubular one, so there is no immediate prospect of it replacing the existing frame on the more modestly priced models. Based on what I saw of the pre-production model, it is quite like the latest Birdy frame in style. There is apparently a small saving in weight, but choice of components also makes the d10 lighter than the d9 (at a price). The gear range is extended by the use of a 10-speed cassette, and there is a rear V-brake, but retaining the caliper at the front: brake levers are cleverly chosen so that they match in appearance, but the left one is set up for the V-brake, and the right one for the caliper, so no compromises here.

We should have our comprehensive test of the d9 on our web site soon after the Origami Ride on 11 August (see below), and if one becomes available, we will report on the d10 later. Initial impressions of the current d9, compared with early d9 we tested previosuly, are that there have been a lot of detail improvements - nothing major, but these add up to make a substantial improvement over the early versions.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

August 9th Origami ride - Oxford

Our August 9th Origami ride will start from Oxford station at 10:30 for 11am. More details are here. All welcome.

Cyclefeast 2008

Cyclefeast at Berwick upon Tweed, which ran from 4-11 July, was a great success. It seems possible that this year's event may well have been the last one (at least at that location)? The focus this time was on recumbent tricycles, but there were a handful of other machines there, including Bromptons, and a number of the tricycles were folding/separable models. The weather was not as kind this year as previously, but considering the dreadful summer, we really did not do too badly - I got soaked on the Saturday afternoon, but otherwise the heavy rain tended to fall overnight, and although it looked unsettled first thing in the morning, there was almost no rain during the days. Trices were the most numerous make, with QNTs the most common individual model. Greenspeed were also well represented, but there were one or two example of other makes as well. Apart from a choice of day rides, there were a number of other entertaining activities, including:
1. A competiton to find the machine with the smallest turning circle (I missed seeing this, but I do know that a QNT had the worst turning circle, which does not surprise me!)
2. A grand weighing, presided over by Paul Stobbs. Some owners were keen to win the 'prize' for the heaviest trike, rather than the lightest. Lightest of all was a Greenspeed, followed by a couple of Trice Micros, while the Scorpion and Rider were alarmingly heavy, though not the heaviest. When the non-trikes were included, the lightest machine of all was a Brompton. More details of the results can be found on the Cyclefeast web site.
3. A trip by Routemaster bus to Holy Island.
4. A very entertaining downhill backwards slalom - I have some video of this, but it needs some more editting, and may be too large to make available.
5. A challenging quiz organised by Jason Patient.
I have put a few images on line, which you can see HERE. The intention was to put something on my own web site, but the recent changes made by Apple to their MobileMe (ex .mac) facility seem to mean that it is impossible to publish web pages from iWeb (and I am not the only one to have found this). There are also some of Jason's images on the Cyclefeast web site.
Many thanks to all who took part and made this such an enjoyable event, but of course special thanks toorganisers Jason Patient and Philip Stanbury.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Abergavenny Folding Society Members on a 25 mile Sportif

Caption; L to R; Steve Kay, Philippa Wheeler, Carol Kay

Report by Graham Beattie

Abergavenny got into the national cycling calendar last year, giving a last minute venue for the national race plans which had been disrupted by floods. Tucked into National Bike Week, there were spectacular events again this year, ranging from racing through the closed off tight streets of the town centre on Friday night, (watched by hundreds of spectators and cycle enthusiasts with pints in their hands!) to the Welsh Grand Prix on Sunday.
Good weather for those events, but Saturday morning started of with much rain, offering a possibly wet day to people intending to take part in one of the three Sportif rides; 100 miles, 50 miles or 25 miles. 25 miles is roughly the distance of each Folding Society outing, but engineers possession of the Newport- Shrewsbury railway line most weekends this year had prevented getting to Saturday spins with other folders. So whilst these are the sort of distances that some heroic Audax riders take for granted on their folders, three of Abergavenny’s less competitive Brompton owners had decided that timed 25 miles on a Brompton was too good an challenge to miss, and so Philippa Wheeler, Carol Kay and Steve Kay turned up in Bailey Park to sign on and get ready for a mid-day start. Carol was on her recently acquired gleaming titanium frame bike, Phillipa on her Steve Parry modified machine, and Steve Kay riding yet again on his much used 6 speed. Possibly most significant contribution to mileage; each bike with a good Brooks saddle.
The rain had stopped, and awaiting at the start line a number of people on a variety of machines said the same as Team Brompton “It’s a Saturday ride, we’ll just go at touring pace, perhaps stop en route for a pint.”’ When the flag drops however, the red mist descends, and none of what was said is true! Serious pace was tried for from the very beginning, and whilst the fastest machines pulled quickly away from the Bromptons, we were by no means last. Also being Veteran Cycle Club members, but only Philippa having Velodrome competition experience, we nevertheless quickly mastered tight cycling, and established very close riding, good cadences and frequent leader change giving a fast speed along the first leg of the Sportif to Usk.
The second leg from Usk to Raglan was much more hilly, the team breaking up at differing climbing speeds, but on the outskirts of Raglan a brief stop for energy bars and swigs of water re-established the trio for close pedalling on the return to Abergavenny. Almost within sight of the finish one bike suffered a derailleur shifter problem, but as riders temporarily became mechanics it was quickly attended to, and the three team members crossed the finishing line abreast.
Time; 1 hr 53 mins 17 secs with which we were delighted. Ordinary gear ratios, front bags carried for water bottles and potential rain protection, team average age in the region of 56; so a pretty good performance. We were most flattered by a number of the other riders on serious fast machines who came up and said how surprised and pleased they were at what the Brompton team achieved and how much quicker we’d been than they expected, and we were delighted to show what a well engineered and thoroughly useable machine they are. So after much talking, the drizzle resumed and it was time to cycle home, Bromptons to be cheerfully folded again. Track engineers have now handed the line back, so we sincerely hope get the train to see folk at Malvern again this year, and listen to very serious tales of Audax, Lands End-John O’Groats and other triumphs!.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

July 12th Origami ride - Malvern Worcestershire

Our July Origami ride will start from Great Malvern railway station. More details are here

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Brompton World Championship 2008

From the Press Release:
The 3rd Brompton World Championship will be held on Sunday 28th September 2008 at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, as part of the Bike Blenheim Palace event.
Building on its first two successful years in Barcelona, the Championship will be bigger and better than ever before, with up to 500 competitors taking part.
The Brompton World Championship is not mass participation ride, it is a race registered with British Cycling.
As in previous years, participants will be timed whilst completing a set number of laps on a specified course. The 2008 event will be held over 2 laps of a 6.5km course set in Blenheim Palace’s famous grounds. Competitors will be expected to demonstrate their folding skills in a Le Mans style start.
Rules for the event are not overly onerous, but poor dress sense will not be tolerated: a suit jacket, collared shirt and tie are de rigueur for participants; sports attire is not permitted, and Lycra shorts/leggings are specifically named, shamed and excluded.
Prizes will be awarded for the fastest male, female, junior (under 17), veteran (60 plus) and team competitors, and also for the Best-Dressed.
The deadline for registration is Sunday 14th September 2008. Full details may be found on the Brompton web site at