A Solent Cruise

Report by ride organiser Eric Reed.

Sunday 25th September 2005

The second 2005 ride from a start at Hedge End railway station on the east side of Southampton started well with a good turnout of 26 riders. Moultoneers, plus a few other folders and big wheeled riders assembled ready for the 10:30 start. With such a good gathering, the designated « official photographer » for the day, Chris Eley, gathered all into the corner of the car park whilst he took a few snaps from the station footbridge.

Machines turned out on this occasion included several F Frames with Mark 1, 2 and 3 represented; five FX8s and variants; three NS; three AMs; an APB; plus non Moultons including a Birdy, Bike Friday and SP Brompton; as well as the five big wheelers ridden by local Southampton Cycling Campaign members who joined in for this ride. One special machine was an end of production Pashley APB with seven speed hub gears put together by Brian Perkins (who now works at Pashley) for his brother Geoff Perkins who currently lives in Southampton area and joined in the ride.

After pictures, we were ready to roll.

The first part of the trip took the group around parts of the comprehensive footpath/cycleway network built in to the massive housing area of the 1990s that gave rise to the building of Hedge End station. These well surfaced smooth off road routes totally free of cars are always a delight to ride. All went well until our venerable MBC Technical Expert Arthur Smith became a victim of clipless peddle syndrome and his arm and body hit the ground before his feet were unclipped. This brought a halt as Arthur was given a bit of a shock and painful injury, so we waited and proceeded slowly with Arthur walking.

After a while he was able to remount, but then punctures in the group resulted in more stoppage time. With these dealt with, it was on to to Manor Farm museum run by Hampshire County council where there is a pleasant the coffee stop with tables inside and wooden benches and tables outside. This museum specialises in giving an insight into country farm life in times past and our path led past the farmyard pond complete with all types of ducks and waterfowl.

After refreshments the ensemble headed east through Botley and Burridge on road before entering in another major new housing area at Whiteley, adjacent to the M27, where again the town planners have thoughtfully designed in long stretches of lovely off road footpaths and cycle routes. Following these through the development, we passed the commercial business park area on the east side of the growth area where many new firms have established themselves – one new very important company just completing their national administration headquarters being National Air Traffic Services who have the national air traffic control centre nearby at Swanwick.

On reaching the south east side, a rain shower brought a brief stop to consider donning wet weather gear, but it was all blown over in a minute. Restarting a turn southwards led on several miles past open farmland on the coastal plains around Titchfield, until the Solent coastline was reached at Meon shore where the River Meon estuary enters the Solent.

A stop alongside the beach for more group photos was made and to admire the views of the Isle of Wight across the water. Then it was on a half mile to our lunch time stop at the Osborne View pub, so named due to its position on the cliff edge looking over The Solent across towards Osborne House near East Cowes on the Isle of Wight, which was the seaside home of Queen Victoria and where she lived for many years before her death.

To get to the pub rear garden to park our bikes, which has no access from the road, it was necessary to push our machines along the shingle beach and lift over the small sea wall separating the pub garden from the beach. With all the group in the garden, a few chose to eat their own food outside whilst over 20 made themselves comfortable in the room that had been pre booked and reserved for us. This was a very nice stop off point with a good range of food, all well served and at around the same time which is often not the case when catering for larger groups.

After we had finished our food, it was back over on to the beach with the bikes, and more pictures before we remounted on the start of the return leg.

The route back involved travel over lanes and tracks that are due to become part of the Sustrans National Cycle Network Route 2. This section was easy riding between large open fields that were not too breezy on this day, but often can be when the wind blows in off the sea.

The group arrived at Warsash on the east bank of the River Hamble, where the original intention had been for everyone to travel over the river to Hamble-le-Rice on the small ferry boat. But as this can only take 6 bikes at a time, and time was running out, this idea was abandoned. Local riders going home to Southampton city took the ferry, while the majority of Moultoneers from further afield who were parked at Hedge End followed the riverside gravel path alongside the eastern bank of the River Hamble. This section of the river is a mecca for yachting, with multi-millions worth of boats moored up at the numerous marinas along the river frontage.


At the north end of the river path, it was over the river on the « free » bridge opened in 1932 to replace the previous toll bridge. Then northwards along roads in Bursledon and Hedge End, to the station and the end of a very enjoyable ride.

Moulton Preservation Richmond Park Ride and Picnic

This event was held to celebrate 40 years of Moulton bicycles, and proved very popular, with a good attendance by Moulton enthusiasts, including many of the earliest members of the forerunner of the current Moulton Bicycle Club. A fine collection of original F-frame Moultons was on display.

The Electronic Magazine of The Moulton Bicycle Club

Moultoneering on the Level

By Tony Hadland

In May this year fellow Moultoneer Keith Findlay and I spent eight days exploring Utrecht, Noord Brabant and the Gouda area. Detailed accounts of other people’s cycle tours can often be rather boring. Nonetheless it was suggested to me that a brief account might be of interest to MBC members contemplating a short tour in The Netherlands. I’ve therefore tried to concentrate on practicalities and you will find no mention of windmills, museums, how many miles we rode or how many lagers we downed. However, Keith did think that the best-looking girls were in Utrecht. As a happily married man I could not possibly comment.

By Air or Land & Sea?

Originally we intended to travel to Holland by road or rail and ferry. However it soon became apparent that air travel would be a lot simpler, quicker and no more expensive, bearing in mind the savings on road/rail travel, meals en route and additional overnight accommodation.

We therefore decided to fly to Schiphol, Amsterdam from our nearest airport, Birmingham. There are many flights each day and we had a choice between the Dutch national carrier KLM or our own British Airways. Enquiries suggested that, despite what one might expect, KLM are rather less bicycle-friendly than BA. Consequently we decided to “fly the flag” and invested £117 each in Apex returns.

The bicycles went as part of the baggage allowance. For lightness we therefore decided to use AMs rather than APBs. Both were AM5s built about ten years ago. Keith’s now has a Sturmey-Archer Sprinter 5-speed hub. Mine has a 1960s F&S 3-speed coaster. I find this one of the sweetest running and most reliable hub gears, and with a top gear of about 74″, perfectly adequate for touring in Holland.


We decided to stay mainly in 2 or 3 star hotels, which tend to be quite a lot cheaper than in the UK. In the centres of provincial towns expect to pay about £30 a night for bed and breakfast for two people sharing a room with private facilities. For the first few nights we pre-booked accommodation recommended by The Rough Guide to Holland. This was done by fax after ascertaining that secure covered accommodation would be provided for the bikes. We had previously trawled the Internet for accommodation but the best matches to our requirements were already booked. We had also bought a bed and breakfast guide through the Dutch tourist office in London but this turned out to be a relatively expensive waste of money.

Dutch breakfasts tend to be very good and set you up well for the day ahead. Typically you will start with a hard-boiled egg, followed by a variety of breads with thin-sliced cheese, ham and perhaps other cold meats. There will also be jams, chocolate spread and/or marmalade, possibly with croissants. You may also be offered yoghurt, perhaps with fresh fruit. Invariably there will be a choice of tea or coffee. Whether fruit juice is provided is a bit more hit and miss. But you won’t leave the table feeling hungry. Nor will you feel you’ve just swallowed half-a-pound of grease.

Although most hotels will take UK credit cards, Holland is still very much a cash-oriented country. For example, many quite upmarket restaurants will not accept credit cards. However, cash dispensers are everywhere and most accept UK credit and debit cards. Hence it is easy to obtain cash. Also, Eurocheques are widely accepted.


As we were not camping we felt sure that we could get our entire luggage for eight days into the AM rear bags. This proved to be the case (no pun intended). The ease of loading and unloading the bikes was a real boon and the bags were small enough to be carried on the aircraft as hand baggage. This meant that we did not have to reclaim bags from the standard luggage carousel, enabling us to go straight to the oversize luggage belt to catch the bikes as they came through.

Checking In at the Airport

We travelled midweek, leaving home about 8.30 in the morning. Birmingham airport eight miles away was easily reached – about 35 minutes of cycling, mostly along country lanes. There was no need to queue at the BA check-in and the girl on the desk was extremely helpful, volunteering to fetch two free-issue disposable polythene bags for the bikes. We did not need to remove the pedals or turn the handlebars. However, the usual requirement to deflate the tyres applied. In anticipation of this we carried with us a stock of carbon dioxide tyre inflation cartridges to enable a quick and clean getaway. These momentarily caused a flurry when they went through the security scanner on the outward journey. However, it was soon realised that they were not miniature mortar bombs and we were on our way.

The bikes arrived unscathed at Schiphol and with the help of our gas cartridges we were soon on our way. Note, however, that carbon dioxide seems to diffuse out of inner tubes much quicker than ordinary air, so expect to top up tyre pressures after a day or so.

On the return journey bike bags were not provided. Consequently the bikes suffered minor cosmetic damage – a few scratches and the odd bent mudguard stay – but nothing serious for a working bike. I should add that we protected the outer edges of the rear carriers with pipe insulation. This not only protected the relatively thin 531 tubes but also helped locate the rear bag.

The Bikes’ Performance

So how did the bikes perform? The answer is pretty much impeccably. Apart from a puncture on the first afternoon there were no breakdowns. The suspension, as ever, did a great job of smoothing the ride. Luggage was carried safely and easily, and loading/unloading was a doddle. The ability to mount the loaded bike by stepping through the frame was also a noticeable benefit. Even when fully loaded, the bikes were responsive and handled nimbly in traffic.

Cycle Paths

Of course, being Holland, the traffic was mostly of the two-wheeled variety. Bicycles, mopeds and scooters usually have a segregated track, even in towns. These are usually well surfaced and one feels much safer using them than when cycling at home. So much so that we did not take the helmets that we habitually wear when cycling in the UK. (A cynic might suggest that the Dutch have lots of cycle paths, whereas we have many psychopaths.) In fact, apart from racing cyclists, almost nobody in The Netherlands wears a helmet.

The main perils on the cycle paths are speeding scooter riders and occasional gaps between paving slabs where subsidence has occurred. It also takes a while to get used to the fact that, although the typical cycle path looks only wide enough for two abreast riding, the Dutch are used to getting three in that space. Hence a pair of oncoming Dutch cyclists riding side-by-side will expect you to be able to keep going without falling off the track or running into them. And indeed it is possible – Dutch roadsters rarely wobble – but not what we Brits are used to.

Dutch Bikes and Bike Shops

On the subject of Dutch bikes, it is good to see that the traditional Dutch roadster is still holding its own quite well against the mountain bike. However, when it comes to gears, derailleurs are making some inroads. And in the hub gear department, once dominated by Sturmey-Archer with Sachs as runners up, Shimano are now doing very nicely. The Dutch branches of Halfords and other dealers have many bikes with Shimano seven and four-speed hubs. Sturmey and Sachs are still there but need to look to their laurels.

And the prize for best bike shop? Of those we visited (and there were quite a few) the clear winner has to be Wim Kok of Utrecht. When we found this shop it suddenly became clear why there are so many Bromptons in Utrecht (we saw 9 in two days). Wim had 19 different types of portable cycle on display. Prominently among these were an AM Jubilee L and a Land Rover APB. And clearly visible among the neatly arranged binders of service information behind the counter was one bearing the legend Alex Moulton. Wim Kok’s Utrecht shop is enormous and arguably the most interesting bike shop I have ever visited.

Maps and Signposting

A few words on maps and cycleway signposting. Let’s start at Schiphol. Although there are good cycle paths to and from the airport, these are designed for people working there or leaving their bikes at the airport. There is no special provision for air passengers actually entering or leaving the terminal with a bike. Hence walking out of the terminal doors you get no clue whatsoever as to where to go with your bike. Everything is geared around buses, taxis and cars. But fear not: just cycle 100 yards or so in either direction and you’ll pick up a cycle track.

Cycle paths have their own signposts, with red lettering and a bike symbol on a white background. Usually the distance is marked and these signs are generally pretty useful. However, as in most countries, some signing is ambiguous or missing. Hence good, large-scale maps are a great benefit. Local tourist offices (VVVs, pronounced Fay-Fay-Fay) are good places to get these. Falk’s 1:50,000 series is particularly good. Very good value are the Landelijke Fietsroutes map packs. Typically these comprise a book (in Dutch) of cycle routes with about ten small maps at 1: 150,000 scale, all in a weather resistant transparent pouch. They sell for about £10 a pack and one covered most of our tour. However, the routes shown are distinctly scenic (i.e. they add 50% to the mileage from A to B) and require very careful navigation. They are not the most direct signposted routes. I’ll be pleased to provide further advice on this topic to any MBC members who care to contact me.

Double Dutch?

Finally, the language. English is widely understood. The Dutch cannot help absorbing a lot of English, as a high proportion of their TV programmes are bought in from the UK, USA or Australia and are transmitted with the original soundtrack and sub-titles. In urban areas the majority of people are able and willing to converse in English. However, in the countryside, whilst people will usually understand a lot of what you say, they often lack the confidence to respond in English. I speak a little Dutch and found myself using it about ten times during the tour when asking directions in country areas. But I am sure that I would have got by with sign language and Pidgin English, had I not known the lingo.


I hope that this article has provided some useful background information for other MBC members contemplating a short tour in The Netherlands. Certainly the combination of air travel and AM proved very effective and remarkably hassle-free. And it is a pleasure to cycle in a country where unconventional bicycles are not laughed at by the ignorant.

Technical advice

Technical advice on Moulton bicycles in general is available from the Technical Adviser of The Moulton Bicycle Club, Ian Hodgson. Please note that Ian is no longer supplying spares for original Moultons – the items which he previously handled can be obtained from Peddlers in Worcester, see the spare parts contact below.

New features – Masterclasses

An innovation at BoA 1997 was the inclusion of Masterclasses on adjusting and maintaining Moultons – one Masterclass for each of the ranges (Classic, AM and APB). These Masterclasses proved very popular, the main problem being that more time was needed, and, as they were carried out simultaneously, it was only possible to attend one of the three in the afternoon. It’s likely that Masterclasses will be included at BoA 1998 (perhaps in a modified format), but in the meantime we are introducing a regular series of articles containing technical advice. The first appear in this issue of TMF. If you have a query you would like dealt with in these pages, please write to us and we will consider providing an answer in a future issue. We can’t guarantee publishing questions or providing answers, as space is limited, and we will concentrate on common topics rather than very specialised individual questions.

In this issue we have the first Masterclass on the Classic 1960’s/70’s Moultons. This has been contributed by Michael Woolf, and he and Ian Hodgson have kindly agreed to continue this in each issue – provided there are questions there to be answered. The APB Page in this issue has been provided on a one-off basis by a regular contributor, but I’m delighted to report that Pashley Cycles have agreed to look after the APB Masterclass in future. Due to time constraints we didn’t manage to get an AM Masterclass together in time for this issue, but all being well it will appear in the next issue, and will be produced by experienced AM owners, who will seek advice from the factory where necessary.

Please note that these Masterclass pages are not intended as a substitute or replacement for existing sources of advice, such as dealers, the factory, or our own Technical Adviser (who can offer assistance on all models of Moulton). Those sources remain more suitable for a quick response to very specific questions.


… and Product Locator

Moultoneers tend to be individualists, and just one of the virtues of the Moulton system is that not only do you start out with a superb bicycle, but it is particularly well suited to customisation to meet the needs of the owner. A number of members and other suppliers can provide parts specially designed to help you to tailor your Moulton to your needs, and a list of these appears on page 10. We haven’t tested the items concerned, so this is not an endorsement of any products, simply a list to help you find items that may be useful to you.


… and in future issues

In future issues we will be continuing the Masterclass series, and adding the Masterclass on the AM series.

Report on Folder Forum 3, 15 – 17 May 1998

This year A to B’s Folder Forum moved from Weymouth to Ventnor on the Isle of Wight (which, for overseas members, I will explain is just off the south coast of England). Any doubts about the wisdom of changing a successful venue, and going to an island, were soon dispelled. Apart from the island’s hills, which are particularly steep around Ventnor itself, this was an ideal location, with beautiful scenery, plenty of potential rides, and lots of quiet lanes to explore. Into the bargain, the weather was warm and sunny throughout, with little in the way of wind to battle against.

The event proper began on Friday, with a ride starting mid-morning from the Winter Gardens, where the event was based. Arriving early, it was striking that only Bike Fridays and Birdys were to be seen, plus my own AM – not a Brompton in sight, whereas in previous years the Bromptons outnumbered everything else by a huge margin. Nearer the start time Bromptons became more evident, and later in the weekend they established their position as the most common bike at the event, but nevertheless their dominant position has been significantly eroded, the Birdy being particularly noticeable for its substantial increase in numbers. Due to the heat and the hilly terrain, the Friday ride was shortened, and for this reason, and having no great liking for being in a large crowd, fellow Moultoneers Chris Dent, Peter Evans and I set out to do our own ride, the general target being Alum Bay. Chris and Peter were both riding Birdys, fitting in with the folding nature of the event, and simplifying travel by public transport. Later we were joined for part of our ride by an ex-Moultoneer, Paul Stobbs, also riding a Birdy. I’ve never been outnumbered 3 to 1 by Birdys on a ride before! This was a very enjoyable ride of about 45 miles, marred only slightly by the tendency of my AM to drop its chain (which it did throughout the weekend), and the fact that I managed to get trapped in my newly fitted SPD pedals and fall on the road, fortunately with no significant damage.

As usual, Saturday was the day for the trade exhibition, various events based around the event centre (the Winter Gardens), and a dinner in the evening. I spent most of the day on the club stand in the hall, so that I had little opportunity to see anything of the activities outside. My thanks go to Simon Reeve and Sue Blackburn who provided help in running the stand, and also in bringing material over for display. We were kept very busy for most of the day, perhaps partly because the launch of the New Series Moulton had increased interest. We had one of the NS models on our stand for part of the day, the bike being kindly loaned by Shaun Moulton, who had come over for the day. Our stand was next to the Pashley one, which had a good display of APBs (but no T21) and models from the Cresswell range. Phoenix Cycles and Avon Valley Cyclery were also present, the latter having a particularly impressive range of bikes, including an NS Moulton, on display.

Although I didn’t have time to follow closely the various events going on around the exhibition hall, a couple of activities were of particular interest. Firstly, during the exhibition bicycles were being accurately weighed by a Trading Standards Officer. Of these the lightest production bike, and second lightest overall, was Simon Reeve’s AM2, which was recorded at just 19 lbs – lighter than a number of newer competitors which make a particular play of their light weight! I think both Simon and I were rather surprised at such a low weight, but that’s what the records show. Riders were also being timed ascending Zig Zag Road, which is a long, steep, winding road leading out of Ventnor. In this test the Bike Fridays of Hanz Scholz (President of Green Gear, who manufacture the Bike Friday) and Kees jan Heijboer had the quickest times, followed by Richard Grigsby on an NS Moulton.

The Saturday evening dinner at the Botanical Gardens just outside Ventnor this year lacked the formal presentations before and after the meal, but on a dry and reasonably mild evening it was very pleasant.

Sunday was the day designated for the main rides. There were basically three options – a ride around the island on the bus route to try to beat the time of the bus, a more leisurely ride around the island following the official tourist cycle route, and a shorter ride to the steam railway, this last being the one aimed at the majority of riders. I opted for the leisurely ride around the island, and as this was the first to start, I didn’t see anything of the other rides. Of those who set out to beat the bus, two riders completed the course, once again the Bike Friday riders who were fastest on the Zig Zag Challenge. They comfortably beat the bus time, taking 2 hours 45 minutes against 4 hours for the bus, and covering 72.8km. 11 riders started on the leisurely ride around the island, consisting of (if I remember correctly), 5 Bromptons, 3 ‘cumbersomes’ (large wheeled non-folders), 2 Birdys and an AM7 (myself). For various reasons some people shortened the route, and at the end there were only 3 of us left – 1 Birdy, a 3-speed Brompton and myself on the AM. Our total distance was 69.4 miles. It was a very enjoyable ride, on an attractive and well signposted route, for which there is also a brochure and map published giving details. We did feel, however, that the tourist brochure is somewhat optimistic on timing and the ability of many people to complete the fairly hilly ride – the three of us who completed the ride are reasonably fit and regular riders, and although we were riding fairly gently with tea stops and a lunch stop, we started at 9.30am and did not get back to Ventnor until 6.30pm.

As we have come to expect of Folder Forums, this was a very enjoyable and successful event, with excellent organisation. If, as I have been told, this is the last Folder Forum, at least in a formal way, then it ended on a high note. A big thank you is due to David and Jane Henshaw of A to B, Gary Lovell and all the other members of the team involved in the organisation.

FF3 postscript

Since Moultons don’t fold, it’s not surprising that as usual the number of Moultons at the event was fairly small. I recognised quite a lot of the people present as being Moultoneers, but most of these had chosen to ride folding bikes (Bromptons, Birdys and Bike Fridays for the most part) rather than their Moultons on this occasion, as the event was ostensibly more orientated to this type of bike. What was particularly striking was that compared with previous years the Brompton stranglehold has loosened significantly. The numbers of Birdys in particular was much greater than last year.

Those machines which place the priority on folding, like the Brompton, rather than riding (and all folding bicycle design involves compromises, which mean designers must decide where their priorities lie) have a very important place, but although they can be used for longer rides, they aren’t as well suited as some other machines. It was quite significant that of those who started on the leisurely round the island ride, one quarter were riding conventional large-wheeled non-folding bikes, and one other was on an AM, which is strictly not a folder. I must admit that if I hadn’t been on the MBC stand at the event, I would have been tempted to take a folder rather than the AM. In previous years I have taken camping gear, which has meant a substantial load to carry, and although this year I was using B&B, I still chose to book the bike on a train and pay the £3 each way rather than bag it. However, once I was on the island, the advantages of the AM made the extra effort and cost well worthwhile. I spent 6 days on the island riding around, and I was able to cover higher mileages in much more comfort than if I had had the Brompton (or even a Birdy). Another Moultoneer commented to me that if he had brought his AM rather than a folder, he would have probably done the leisurely round the island ride on the Sunday, rather than the short ride.

Dr Moulton has been quoted as saying he would never design a folder, and I can understand and respect his reasons. It is still a pity though, because there does seem to be a need (or at least a market) for a bicycle with the ride quality of a Moulton but which can be used more readily with public transport, and if anyone could design such a machine, it is surely Dr Moulton.

Flashback 1 – The Moulton Automatic

Flashback is a new series of short articles on aspects of Moulton bicycle history. In presenting these pieces, and with a view to improving our knowledge of the marque, I would welcome your feedback and comments. It is some 16 years since I wrote The Moulton Bicycle and much interesting information has come to light since then. Also, the passing of time changes our perspective in subtle ways. Therefore any contributions would be greatly appreciated.

In the first of the series we take a look at a short-lived and relatively little-known model, the Moulton Automatic.

Brochure and Date of Introduction

Unusually, the Automatic had its own four page A5 format brochure. Although this was undated, anyone consulting the back page might reasonably have concluded that it was printed in 1964. The text stated: « Two years after its announcement …. in 1962, the Moulton …has been acclaimed by tens of thousands of users … ».

However, the actual date of introduction seems to have been spring 1966. The CTC’s magazine Cycletouring featured a captioned photograph of « Moulton’s latest » in its February/March 1966 issue, which revealed that the price was 29 guineas (£30.45). This fits with the machine’s catalogued model number, M0, which in the previous year, 1965, had been used for the Moulton Continental.


So what was the Automatic’s specification? Essentially it was similar to a Moulton Standard but with the following differences:

  • It had the Fichtel & Sachs Duomatic two-speed back-pedal hub brake.
  • It featured a continental-style front fork lock.
  • It came fitted with the original Moulton high-fixing chrome-plated prop-stand.

One cannot help concluding that to some extent this machine was created to use up excess stock of certain components. The previous year the Continental had been introduced as a base model which conveniently used the Perry B500 single-speed coaster hub after the Stowaway had been upgraded with the Duomatic. Now the Automatic used up Series One rear forks and original pattern prop-stands after other models had moved to the Series Two rear fork, which in some cases was factory-fitted with the shorter brazed-on prop-stand sourced from Jonas Oglaend, the Norwegian Moulton licensee.

Rear Fork

The Series One rear forks fitted to the Automatic were the last variation on the theme. The first Series Ones lacked a plate closing the underside of the fork ahead of the wheel. Later a closing plate was fitted to strengthen the fork. Finally the version used on the Automatic had not only the closing plate but small semi-circular reinforcement pieces brazed to the undersides of the fork blades just behind the closing plate, at the point where splitting was most likely to occur.

Main Frame

The Automatic’s front forks were the elegant Series One type. However, the main frame was true Series Two. That is to say it had characteristics such as:

  • an edge-brazed junction of the head tube to main beam,
  • rear carrier stays brazed to the frame,
  • a seat tube that narrowed at its base as viewed from the side.

This combination of Series One forks with Series Two main frame contrasted with general production of the time. Despite the introduction in 1965 of the ‘New Look’, the only Series Two element in general production was the rear fork.

Fork Lock

The fork lock fitted to the Automatic was the same as that fitted to the Mini Automatic and some S range Moultons. It comprised a small spring-loaded pressed steel bolt mounted on a plate brazed to the left blade of the front fork. To lock the front wheel, the bolt was pushed to the right, thus fouling the forks. As it clicked into the locked position, the bolt released a small key which otherwise was securely held in the lock.

These locks were commonly available in some Continental countries at this time. (I bought a retro-fit version in Belgium in 1966.) However, I do not recall seeing them used in the UK by any manufacturer other than Moulton Bicycles.


The Automatic was soon to suffer the fate of most 16″ wheel Moultons as competition stiffened in the market for small-wheeled bicycles that Alex Moulton had himself stimulated. By 1967 the only catalogued model was that great survivor, the Deluxe. The Automatic had been deleted, along with all the others.

I have to admit a certain liking for the Automatic, although I never owned one myself. To my mind it had individualistic character, flawed only by the long prop-stand. But then I do rather like the Duomatic hub ….

So, does any reader have an Automatic? Have you ever owned one, and if so, what did you think of it? And are there any good photos around of its key features?

For full illustrations (the complete bicycle, lock and propstand, all taken from the original brochure) please see the printed article in issue 51 of The Moultoneer.

Bradford-on-Avon Weekend Reflections…

My daughter (she’s the noisy one – not me – honest!) and I had a really great weekend and we just want to thank Mike Hessey in particular for making it another Bradford to remember.

This year there were 4 (that’s right 4!) rides to choose from ranging from a 40+ mile ‘fast & furious’ to ours, the 12 mile ‘family’ ride. This was a really good idea and I noticed that each ride, with the exception, surprisingly, of the ‘fast’ ride was very well supported. I can only conclude that the conviviality of the Saturday night dinner had overcome the competitive nature of our keenest speedsters and they felt the ‘Safari’ ride at nearly the same length, but an easier pace, was more suitable for such a beautiful morning.

Whilst Dr. Moulton was a leading light of the ‘Moultoneer’ ride at some 26 miles, I was pleased to join chairman Aynsley Brown’s ‘family’ ride. I feel that the spread of rides was the best yet and timed so that everybody met up at the lunch halt to chat and eat together (OK so the food did take a long time BUT you should have seen the crowd!). If we are to encourage youngsters to take up cycling we really must not be selfish and elitist about our hobby. Family riding is what built the sport in the early years of this century and is the only way to re-establish the habit amongst the general public in the future.

The Jumble on Saturday morning must have been one of the most exotic ‘jumble sales’ ever with HED wheels rubbing against titanium fittings and even a device for walking your dog whilst riding your bike! Nevertheless my little box of bits and pieces fetched £5.75 which I shall donate to the Princess Diana Memorial fund (daughter’s instructions).

The afternoon saw a new innovation in the form of ‘masterclasses’ in maintaining original (Mike Woolf) and Pashley APB (Hilary Stone) Moultons. This was a brilliant idea and cleared up many mysteries for me and I judge many others. My only gripe was that I needed to attend both which was impossible as they ran in parallel. How about a video guys?

I was unable to attend the meal this year but I understand the food was up to standard and the conversation sparkling. Others will no doubt have more to say.

Bradford is the one meeting at which one is able to meet the people who have worked so hard all year to make the Moulton Bicycle Club such a friendly organisation. It’s always a pleasure to go and I would recommend all Moultoneers try to attend at least one Bradford meet.