All place names indicate the stage starting place. The finishing place is the same as the following stage starting place, e.g. Stage 3 is Langstone to Chepstow, distance 12 miles.

Note that arrival times relate to that stage starting place, i.e. for Stage 5, the estimated arrival time at Lydney will be 9:15am. These times are a schedule guide for group riders who will not stop at the stage changeover. The Woodburn bike rider will catch them up and cycle ahead to give time for the change of relay rider.

Although we hope that the ride will be able to adhere to this schedule, it is fairly fast. Relay riders should be at their joining points a half an hour before the ride is due to approach. Messages of progress will be sent to waiting relay riders via mobile phone.

The Seven Bridge

mThe 1962 ride preceded the opening of the Seven Bridge (which shortened the distance) and therefore follows the A48 from Cardiff, through Newport to join the A40 near Gloucester. Then following the A40 through Cheltenham, Whitney, passing to the north of Oxford, up and over the Chiltern Hills through High Wycombe and down into central London. A distance of 162 miles.

Work is in progress to research the exact original route and to assess what is safe and practical to follow on the commemorative ride. The maps illustrated here do not necessarily indicate the definitive route we will follow, more of an overview to help Moultoneers who intend to ride all or part of the ride, which section is best suited to them.l

Coordinator Issy Whitford reports

The MBC has decided to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Cardiff to London record set by John Woodburn in 1962 by staging a re-run of his historic ride. A bounty of ideas and opinions was aired at the 2002 BOA meeting and it is likely that there is currently much speculation surrounding the event. It is always the case that one cannot please everyone, but I have listened to what I believe to be the majority vote where appropriate, and I would like to take this opportunity to share preliminary plans with club members.

The ride will take place on Sunday 11th May 2003, in the spring, which is an appropriate season for a Moulton event! It may be argued that, by having the event in May and not December, we will miss the actual anniversary of the ride. It will mean, however, that the ride can be completed in one day. Also, we will have more hours of daylight than in December and are likely to enjoy more element weather

There was an enthusiastic response to the appeal for volunteers to ride the original Moulton ‘Speed’, and a list of relay riders is currently being drawn up. There will also be a handful of strong cyclists/madmen who will be accompanying the relay riders on their own Moulton bicycles, riding the full distance. Volunteers are also needed for manning rider changeover stations. This will involve way marking, handing out drinks to the riders and suchlike. Please e-mail me if you would like to ride in, or help with, this event. Your participation will be welcomed and appreciated.

The general plan for the ‘Speed’ record celebration ride is for a succession of cyclists to ride John Woodburn’s original Moulton ‘Speed’ in relay from Cardiff to London via the same route (wherever practical) used in 1962. Others riding their own Moultons will accompany the relay team, and all will have en route vehicular back up. If you wish to book a stint riding the « Speed » please contact us by 31st December 2002.

In the early evening of the 11th May all Moultoneers are invited to join the last 25 mile leg of the ride from Gerards Cross for the journey into London. By some method or another, we will transport all riders, stewards and back up crew to London in time for this grand finale. This flotilla of Moultons with John Woodburn riding the celebrated black and white ‘Speed’ at the helm, will eventually arrive at an as yet unconfirmed venue for photographs, drinks, press interest and a minor celebratory reception.

The final point I would like to make is that this is an event that is intended to involve as many Moultoneers as can be mustered, from all corners of the globe. Please try to think of yourself as someone who is going to be there to ride alongside John Woodburn himself, riding the last leg into London at the end of the day, not someone who is only going to read about it afterwards.

Getting Back
We have been made aware that the issue of getting back to wherever folk have joined the ride, and left their cars, or got off the train etc., needs to be addressed. In response to this there will be van transport for bicycles from the après-ride reception in London, to Gerrards Cross for the grand price of £3.00. Cycle transport will also be offered from the reception to Oxford, or places in between these two points, for £5.00. At the moment there is no transport offered for people but this may change at a later date. Bikes will not be left unattended if their owners are delayed on the rail network. Anyone living in London wishing to offer their services as a van owner/driver will be very welcome.

40th Anniversary Cardiff-London Woodburn Ride

Forty years ago John Woodburn set a new speed record on the challenging Cardiff to London route riding a three speed F-framed Moulton Speed. On the 11th May 2003, the MBC will celebrate John Woodburn’s achievement with a commemorative ride from Cardiff to London. The route to be taken will follow that of the original record-breaking run as closely as possible. Dr. Alex Moulton has agreed to allow the club to borrow the actual bike Woodburn rode as a centrepiece to the run.

It is hoped that for much of the journey this will be flanked by members bikes representing four decades of Moulton design, a fitting focal point to celebrate a historic cycling achievement. We are particularly pleased that the ride will be joined by John Woodburn for the final section, which ends at London’s Marble Arch.

It is hoped that the 2003 Cardiff-London Commemorative Ride will secure coverage on regional television and local radio stations along the route, helping the MBC to promote cycling in general and Moulton ownership in particular. However this – and indeed the whole event – will only be possible with the wholehearted support and involvement of MBC members.

The detail of the original ride

Record-breaking achievements are an important part of the Moulton story. None more so than John Woodburn ‘s Cardiff to London record that was set in December 1962.

The story is well documented in Tony Hadland’s excellent book, « the Moulton bicycle », which is indispensable reading for any Moulton enthusiast, For Moultoneers bereft of the book, here are some of the salient points:

John Woodburn was a cyclist of considerable ability (and still is, by the way – he is a keen veteran). At the time, Woodburn was the National Indoor Pursuit Champion.

Ride preparations were led by the well known sports commentator, David Duffield, who in his youth was also a record breaking cyclist.

The machine Woodburn rode was a Moulton Speed with a 68 tooth chainwheel driving a Sturmey-Archer AC close-ratio 3 speed hib gesr. The rear wheel was fitted with an 11 tooth sprocket designed and made at the Moulton factory, giving gears of 94, 101 and 107 inches.

The first attempt was made on 15th November 1962, but it was abandoned after 83 miles, when it was clear the team was already ten minutes behind C.M. Caton’s 1957 record. Technical difficulties with the hub gear, rush hour traffic and a knee injury, caused by a fall negotiating some road works, were conspiring against the team.

On December. 9th 1962, everything was set fair for a second attempt, including the weather. This time, the team succeeded. His timings were.,

My first day trip to France

I have been in the possession of Ann Miller for about 14 years now and feel I am a very useful Moulton in more ways than one.

My first day trip to France was a few years ago and a day to remember.

To begin with, for the drive to Dover, Ann’s husband, Harry, wanted to put me upside down on the roof rack of the car, but Ann wouldn’t hear of it. « Speedsix might fall off » she said. So off came my front wheel and they laid me in the back of the car. Now I was comfortable and Harry’s Holdsworth was placed on the roof rack!

At 6.30 am we moved off from Maidstone for Dover, arriving in good time to catch the 8.30 am Hovercraft to Calais. Once aboard I was strapped against the wall in case it was a rough journey. Then the cars were driven on and chained down. One quite rudeIy puffed his exhaust over my front wheel to my disgust. I said to Holdsworth « Does this always happen? » Holdsworth sneeringly answered « Only to those with little wheels! »

On arriving at Calais, we were left outside a supermarket while Ann and Harry got the picnic – wines, bread, cheeses, ham, tomatoes, fruit and not forgetting croissants, all of which was loaded into my bag and panniers – oh yes, going on a day trip evidently means carrying panniers for plenty of wine and food!

By about 11.00 am French time, we were on the road to Guines where we stopped at the Lion d’Or cafe for Ann and Harry to sit outside on the pavement and have local wine to refresh them as it was a lovely day. Then we carried on to stop at another cafe at Ardres where they called the Patron Lovely Jacque, and this time Holdsworth and I were locked up together, while they went inside for their coffee. After a while we went a little further so that Ann and Harry could participate in their picnic beside the lake. About an hour later suddenly we were covered up with waterproofs as the rain came pouring down and Ann and Harry were able to shelter under the awning of the chips shack. Soon the sun came out once more and we were going back to Calais by a different route, this time alongside a canal, and just hoped they didn’t fall in! Another stop at a cafe for coffee and here the Patron showed off with how many wine glasses he could hold in ONE HAND – 25 I believe. So out came the camera. This time Ann parked me right in front of the door so that she could keep an eye on me.

Next stop was in the centre of Calais at a Supermarket, where Holdsworth and I were locked up until Ann and Harry came out and loaded us up with more food and about 10 bottles of wine to take back home. By now it was 6pm and time to stop at another cafe for a last wine or beer before catching the 7pm Hovercraft.

When we got off at Dover I was amazed when Ann struggled to place two more bottles on board me: this of course was the duty-free spirits they were allowed. But she ended up having to carry one in her bag on her back. Served her right – my poor carrier was creaking and my tyres needed more air! At least she had the sense to push me to where the car was parked.

Once back at home, they had to unload the car and once all the food and drink was unloaded they only had the nerve to say « We’ll leave Speedsix until the morning. He’ll be OK in the car in the garage. At the end of the day it was a good trip, and I have done a few more since then and also now I am very handy as I am used to get the shopping at the supermarket about two miles away as we are now living in a small bungalow in a village called Verlinthun about ten miles outside Boulogne along the road to Le Touquet and about seven miles inland from Hardelot. Ann is doing Bed, Breakfast and Evening Meal there and hopes that if any cyclists especially Moultoneers are in the area they will call in and see her, even if only for coffee [See advertisement on page 23 of Issue 50 of The Moultoneer – Ed].

Membership Renewal

Most of you will have found a membership renewal form in with the paper issue of The Moultoneer, and this means that it is time to renew your membership (seems obvious, but based on experience of previous years, not everyone seems able to deduce this!). Please use the form to renew your membership now, lest you forget. You will find more information about renewal of your membership on page 6 of The Moultoneer.


The Masterclasses which we ran at the Bradford-on-Avon event last year proved very popular, and so we will be running them again this year. As readers will know, we have also been producing Masterclass articles in The Moultoneer over the last few issues, covering a variety of topics relating to APBs and Classic Moultons. Judging by what feedback we have had, readers have found these articles useful. However, most of the major subjects for these Masterclasses have now been covered, and we need to hear from you what other topics you would like these Masterclasses to cover in the future – please write to The Editor with your suggestions.

As well as appearing in The Moultoneer, we have put the text of the Masterclasses onto our web site. The pictures have been omitted deliberately for two reasons – to save space on the web site, and because access to the web is free, and we don’t want people to think they can get all the benefits of being members of the MBC without paying! We have some other ideas regarding making Masterclass material available, including publishing the collected articles in a single booklet, and also possibly producing at least some of them in video form. Your comments on these ideas would also be welcomed.

Photo Credits

We don’t always remember to correctly attribute the photographs we use, for which our apologies. Unless otherwise stated, the photographs are usually provided by the author of the article, or in some cases by Steve E Michaels. The exceptionally clear pictures used in the APB Masterclass series are provided by Hilary Stone himself – perhaps he might provide a masterclass on how to produce photographs which reproduce in a newsletter so clearly, when he runs out of subject of APBs themselves!


Since the last edition of The Moultoneer, yet another cycle magazine has made an appearance. But this is no ordinary magazine, for it comes from that far from ordinary cycle writer, editor and publisher – Jim McGurn. Bycycle is an excellent read for the cyclist keen to know about cyclist’s issues.

Moulton news from Avon Valley Cyclery!

The brand new AMRG 16, 18 & 20 range is now available exclusively from Avon Valley Cyclery in Bath. First deliveries are now in stock and all models will be sold as complete bikes.

The range includes Campagnolo and Shimano equipped bikes, with selected finishing equipment (handlebars, stems and saddles).
Features inherited from the New Series

Based on the tried and tested AM space frame, the AM/RG has inherited features from the New Series several areas: The separating joint has a New Series design which is hand-tightenable and the hook joint now has an Allen key locknut for those requiring extra peace of mind, in addition to previous hand tightening.

The rear triangle pivot has the improved shock absorbency of the New Series with its Flexator bushes adding a fluid-feel to the rear end without any anticipated maintenance. Couple this development to the New Series Hydrolastic fluid-damped shock unit and this machine offers the World’s latest technology (as found on the top-of-the-range New Series Moultons).

The frameset uses the evergreen 1/2in diameter tubes, as found on previous AMs.

Tyres: The new Continental tyres complete the package with their super-grippy, 125psi-rated performance.

Sizing details:
Frames are available in three (19, 21 & 25in) seat tube lengths with standard and optional low head tube heights. Suitable for heights between 5′ 2″ and 6′ 4″.

All colours from Alex Moulton’s existing range are available including the special ‘RG’ Deep Green metallic or Coca-cola, more firsts in Alex Moulton’s range of finishes. Choose from Light Grey, Maroon, Deep Blue, Red, White, Black, Pearlescent White, Moulton Green, Bugatti Blue & British Racing Green.

For energetic riders, there is a Race Spring upgrade. We also offer a larger (67) chainring for taller gear ratios. All models are specified with combined gear and brake controls giving from 16 to 20 gears. Equipment and finishing options are listed on our pricing details. Component upgrades are always available – please enquire!

Delivery is approximately 4 weeks following a 20% deposit. You may order over our secure site: or visit our shop in Bath to see the AMRGs in the flesh. Please telephone or email to book a ride on our demonstrator.

Choosing the model range which suits you


We often get asked whether it is better to buy a New Series, AM, Bridgestone Moulton or APB model. Given the price differences between the ranges, price may well be the key feature for many owners, for potential owners.

The most obvious visible differences are that the AM and Bridgestone Moultons have 17in wheels, while the APB and New Series (NS) Moultons have 20 inch (406) wheels. The AM and NS models are hand-built from scratch at Bradford on Avon, using special  steel tubing; the Bridgestone Moulton, as sold in the UK, is assembled there, but using aluminium alloy frames manufactured by Bridgestone in Japan – though component choice is determined in the UK, and to some extent by the individual customer. APB’s are made in higher volume by Pashley Cycles Limited at Stratford-upon-Avon using steel frame tubing.

First of all it must be said that views differ on which choice to make, and in the end it will come down to the way in which you intend to use the bike, and personal preference. We will begin by presenting the basic arguments for and against the ranges, then look at the most fundamental differences – wheel/tyre size and weight -and how important they are, and then try to offer advice.

The AM Range – For

  • Light weight 531 tubing
  • Fast, responsive ride (both a plus and a minus – see below)
  • Low rolling resistance tyres, small wheels reduce inertia when accelerating and also reduce wind resistance
  • Unique design, status symbol (that may or may not bother you!)

The AM Range – Against

  • Expensive
  • Small wheels make for very rapid-response handling (both a plus and a minus – see above)
  • Small wheels require use of small cogs for appropriate gearing, which are special to AM and expensive as and when replacement needed (some users work around this though)
  • Tyre size unique – only two standard tyres (Bridgestone/IRC and Schwalbe Stelvio – the original Wolber and the similar looking, but much modified in fact, Continental, have now been withdrawn.)
  • Tyres regarded by some as quite expensive, some users complain of limited life and prone to puncture (but see comments later)
  • Tyres only available from specialist AM outlets, so difficult to obtain in UK, and very difficult elsewhere
  • Some EARLY examples have been criticised for poor braking (particularly rear), although this can be overcome by fitting brakes such as Shimano 105 dual pivot, and ensuring coupling lever to rear brake fitted on some models is correctly adjusted. Current models have no braking problems
  • Ignorant people more likely to laugh at the uncommon appearance (that may or may not worry you)

APB Range – For

  • Relatively modest price
  • Uses 20 inch (406) wheels, which means a large choice of wheels and tyres, and easy availability. Relatively cheap tyres are available (but note that ones of equivalent performance to AM tyres are about the same price, with no better life and puncture resistance)
  • Larger wheels mean that more standard gearing components can be used
  • Larger wheels and sometimes wider tyres give a more stable feel to ride, particularly loaded. Capable of carrying heavier load at the front (but do not overload) without inducing ‘shimmy’.
  • Larger wheels and tyres (if suitable ones fitted) better suited to off-road use, particularly in difficult conditions
  • Powerful V brakes on current models (though not earlier models available second hand, which have weaker calliper brakes)

APB Range – Against

  • Regarded by some as rather heavy – depends on model, but difficult to get the weight under 28 pounds on the road
  • Weight and larger wheels give a less responsive ride (some may prefer this!)

New Series – For

  • The lightest Moulton
  • Superb ride
  • The most prestigious model (that may or may not bother you!)
  • 20 inch (406) wheels

New Series – Against

  • Price!
  • Very limited tyre choice despite the use of a standard wheel size due to limited clearance (only the Continental Grand Prix and Schwalbe Stelvio are known to fit)

Bridgestone Moulton – For

  • Intermediate price for a Moulton
  • Aluminium alloy frame means it is lighter than an APB, and reduces corrosion problems
  • Recreates the cult status of the original F-frame Moulton, but lighter, and modern components

Bridgestone Moulton – Against

  • More expensive than the APB
  • 17 inch wheels, with limited tyre choice (see AM above)
  • Rather short frame results in an upright riding position

Wheel and tyre size

The issue of the wheel and tyre size is one of the most fundamental differences between the ranges. The smaller 17in wheels of the AMs and Bridgestones are unique to these bikes, and are both a strength and a weakness of the design. The tyres have very low rolling resistance when inflated to the high pressures they can take (100psi or more), and the low inertia gives faster acceleration and deceleration, and reduces wind resistance. The result is a very responsive ride, with a quick response also to movement of the handlebars – something not all riders like, particularly for gentle touring with a load. Loading on the front should be kept to a minimum, as it can adversely affect handling, at least on AMs (what is known as ‘shimmy’, although later models with slightly different, non-tapered, forks are less affected). But there is very little tyre choice (Bridgestone or Schwalbe Stelvio), and no prospect of any other tyres. The 20in (406) wheels of the APB offer a wider range of tyres, including knobbly types for off road use, or extended life (but of course they are not efficient on the road). The larger wheels of the APB do feel more stable too – or less responsive, looking on the down side. Providing the load at the front is kept to reasonable levels, APBs are less inclined to show signs of shimmy. The NS also uses 20 inch (406) wheels, but the narrow clearances, enforced by the brakes and associated frame design, limit tyre choice significantly. Originally only the Continental  GP tyre could be fitted, though now the Schwalbe Stelvio, and probably a new Dahon tyre (derived from the Stelvio) also fit – but all these are fast, narrow, near-slick road tyres.

The AM and Bridgestone, with their standard 17in tyres, can cope perfectly well with canal tow paths, bridleways etc unless they are quite muddy or extremely badly pot holed. The APB and NS with road tyres copes slightly better, and the APB with heavier knobbly tyres would cope with difficult conditions better. If the going is very bad indeed, then a bike with conventional sized wheels will probably do better still.

The 17in Bridgestone Moulton and Schwalbe Stelvio tyres are at least as good as comparable high quality, high pressure 20in road tyres, with no obvious disadvantages apart from the fact that they are only available from specialist AM dealers. But there is no real alternative to these two tyres, whereas with the 20in it is possible to obtain them almost anywhere, cheaper types are available, and wider, heavier tyres can be obtained for more serious off road use – a benefit for the APB, though not the NS, due to the limited clearances.

For faster riding on the road, day rides on the road, touring in the UK with not too much luggage and limited use of canal tow paths etc the AM and NS series will be most enjoyable. In other situations the availability and choice of heavier tyres will mean the APB and its 20in wheels are preferable.

Bicycle weight, and does it matter?

The original AM bikes typically weighed about 28 pounds on the road (excluding tools and luggage), while the current lightweight models are a couple of pounds lighter. The NS is probably under 25 pounds in road-going form. I’m told that it is possible to get an APB down to 28 pounds, but for most people something like 29 to 32 pounds seems a more likely figure in road going form (my own original APB12 with heavy steel components originally weighed about 4 pounds more than that). The Bridgestone Moulton is probably around the weight of the AM series.

Obviously these weights depend a lot on gears and components fitted, and are intended as a general indication rather than absolute values. Be careful when you make comparisons – for example, the American Bike Friday is sold without saddle and pedals (quite sensibly, really, as it allows the owner to make their own choice of these rather personal items), and the weight quoted for that bike is therefore less these essential items; thus a bike which appears on paper to be lighter than an AM is actually heavier when equipped with the all the necessary components.

Some people argue that weight is not important – if the rider weighs 140 pounds or more, does the odd pound in the weight on a 30 pound bicycle really matter? That may sound a persuasive argument, and indeed some people seem not to bother about the weight of their bikes, and the amount of rubbish they carry round with them in the form of luggage. All I can say is that in practice if you ride a light bike and then a heavy bike, or you ride any reasonable quality bike and then add 4 pounds of luggage, the difference is very noticeable. The ride, responsiveness, comfort and fun/enjoyment are all much greater on the lighter machine. If you notice these things, then the lighter weight of the AM does matter for day rides and the like. Of course if you put 20 pounds of luggage on the bike for touring, then this will affect the responsiveness anyway, and the difference will be less noticeable; indeed the slower response of the APB will probably make it feel more stable (the additional weight is also a smaller proportion of the total loaded bike weight) and hence more relaxing when travelling with this load.


Reading the list of fors and againsts, and just counting bullet points, it probably looks as though the APB is the clear winner. However, I think that does not give the proper picture. Perhaps we should not draw analogies with the car market, but comparing the two bikes is a bit like comparing a sports car with a family hatchback/estate. When I had cars I never had a sports car – I always needed practical transport. But with a bike the situation for many people is different. You won’t regret it whichever you choose – and you can always aspire to adding one of the other range to your stable!

Dr Alex Moulton, CBE

The Moultons were originally of Devon sea-faring stock, but by the 18th Century a branch of the family had moved to London, where Alex Moulton’s great-great-great grandfather was a broker. His son was a printer whose son, Stephen, emigrated to the USA. He became a friend of Charles Goodyear, who discovered the rubber vulcanisation process. Stephen returned to England and tried, unsuccessfully, to sell the Goodyear process, so he decided to go into rubber production himself. Having established his rubber mill, Stephen Moulton never looked back. He died in 1880, aged 86, with the family seat and fortune soundly established.

His great-grandson Alex was born forty years later, and was educated at Marlborough and King’s College Cambridge, where he graduated in engineering. During the Second World War he was employed in the Engine Research Department of the Bristol Aeroplane Company, where for two years he was personal assistant to Sir Roy Fedden, the Chief Engineer. After the War he returned to the family rubber firm, George Spencer, Moulton and Co. Lt., where he established a research department specialising in rubber suspension systems for vehicles.

In 1956 the family business was sold to the Avon Rubber Company and Alex Moulton founded Moulton Developments Limited to concentrate on creative design and development of suspensions systems. The old stable block of the family home, ‘The Hall’, was converted into an engineering workshop, a drawing office was erected nearby, and the administration office was established in part of the mansion.

The British Motor Corporation (as it was then – now Rover Group) took a financial interest in the new company and for two decades enjoyed exclusive manufacturing rights for Moulton automobile suspension systems. This partnership resulted in the development of the rubber suspension system used in the Mini, and the Hydrolastic system used in the 1100/1300 and other models. Later the Hydragas system was introduced on the Austin Allegro, and is still in use on the Rover 100 series and the new MGF.

Dr Moulton’s work in the field of suspension design has been accomplished simultaneously with his development of the Moulton bicycle, which began in 1958. He holds the view that one is capable of pursuing two main avenues of research simultaneously, but no more.

Alex Moulton’s leisure pursuits include cycling canoeing and shooting. He is also fascinated by steam power and operates his own steam launch. Entitled to use at least nine sets of letters after his name, he is a Commander of the British Empire, a Royal Designer of Industry, an Honorary Doctor of the Royal College of Arts, an Honorary Doctor of Science at Bath University and has been admitted to the Fellowship of Engineering. He has also published numerous articles and papers on engineering and education.

Now in his mid-seventies, Alex Moulton is still as vigorous physically and mentally as ever, riding his bicycles regularly, and new and even more advanced designs are on the drawing board.