Subscriptions to A to B
Full refund within 30 days if you're not completely satisfied.
page:
contents page
previous next
zoom out zoom in
thumbnails double page single page large double page
fit width
clip to blog
Open www.atob.org.uk click to zoom in Open www.atob.org.uk Go to page 4 Go to page 22 Go to page 34 Open www.atob.org.uk Go to page 44 Go to page 17 Go to page 8 Open www.atob.org.uk Send email to atob@onetel.com Go to page 38 Go to page 20 Go to page 31 Go to page 48 click to zoom in
page:
contents page
previous next
zoom out zoom in
thumbnails double page single page large double page
fit width
clip to blog

A to B m a g a z i n e

Available from selected outlets or by annual subscription fr o m w w w. a t o b. o r g . u k : £13.80 (United Kingdom),£19 or US$33 (ov e rseas airmail)

Issue 55 August/September 2006 A to B 40 Manor Road,Dorchester,Dorset DT1 2AX,England ISSN 1460-0587 . tel 01305 259998 . fax 01305 259998 email atob@onetel.com . web www.atob.org.uk Editors David & Jane Henshaw . Illustrations Helen Whyte,John McNaught,Tim Pestridge Contributors David Henshaw,Andrew Hague Printers F riary Press Ltd . Next deadline 25th September 2006

Phew,we seem to have arrived in Dorchester.Several readers have asked why we made the move. We had been in Castle Cary for 16 years,which is a very long time by any standards,then there were all the usual reasons; closer to relatives,better schools, large garden to exercise steam engine and so on, but the main reason was transport. Since we arrived in Castle Cary, traffic volume has more than doubled and speed seems to have done much the same.Just getting to the railway station by bicycle was becoming increasingly scary,and new industry was set to attract much more traffic, mainly thundering 40 tonners. The rail service itself has become increasingly expensive and unpredictable, and with few roads left to cycle on (Sustrans is close to despair with this corner of Somerset),we saw no option but to take flight to the suburbs. What a contrast! Quiet tree-lined avenues, literally hundreds of bicycles (against half a dozen), plentiful cycle parking,bicycle trailers,children walking and cycling to school...After living car-free in the country,town life is a utopia.There are problems in Dorchester too,but they’re mainly problems for motorists.The odds are stacked much more in our favour here.Makes a change.

Contents

Ear to the Gro u n d : The Mole . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

A to B L e t t e r s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

P i vot Po i n t s : G e a ring & Fuel Economy . . . . . . . . 1 7

A to B N ew s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 0

The Tr i a l : M i c ro fo l d e rs - A - B i ke v Genius . . . . . . . . 2 2

Wo r k s h o p : Sturmey Rattle Solved . . . . . . . . . . . 3 1

Te s t e d : S c o t t o i l e r . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 4

The Tr i a l : Lightweights - Dahon v Bro m p t o n . . . . 3 8

Te s t e d : B i ke Friday v Brompton v Bird y . . . . . . . 4 4

A to B S m a l l s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 8

www.atob.org.uk

3

A to B 55 Ear to the Gro undIndustry gossip from ‘The Mole’

In July the Mole ventures to London, having received an exciting invitation to attend the launch of Sir Clive Sinclair’ s newA-bike .Launches being somewhat thin on the ground these days, this event is most welcome,despite the arm and a leg extracted by first Great Western for the privilege of riding in a thirty-year-old train, running on this occasion, a fashionable halfan-hour late. The cost of the fare has,incidentally, risen yet again, for it seems First Group middle managers read A to B .Whenever a new wily money-saving measure appears in these pages, the company mysteriously alters the conditions.Travelling up to Town from Bogworthy Junction before June 2000,one might catch the 07.47 for £34 return,using a SuperSaver ticket.When this option was withdrawn, A to B came up with the wheeze of buying a Day Return to Newbury (half way) and singles thereon, at a price of £40.75 (see A to B19 ). Soon enough,fGW raised the restriction barrier, ruling this out, so in A to B34 ,the wily magazine moved on to using Pewsey as a ‘split ticket’ point.This was still valid on the 07.47,and at £38.30,cost even less. Now this fare too has been withdrawn, forcing the careful traveller to waste a whole chunk of rain forest by purchasing six separate tickets:Day Return from Bogworthy to Westbury, another from Westbury to Pewsey,and a Saver from Pewsey to London,at a total cost of £40.90.The ‘official’ fare is £115. One wouldn’t mind jumping through

these extraordinary hoops to buy a ticket for a reasonable sum,if fGW ticket inspectors bothered to actually check the things,but on this occasion the pile of tickets remains unsullied until collected at Paddington. First Group seems to run most of British Rail these days, and having paid a great deal for some of the franchises,is busy maximising revenue to pay for these adventures. Having acquired Thameslink and the remains of West Anglia Great Northern, renaming the franchise First Capital Connect ,the company caused uproar amongst the good citizens of Hertfordshire in June by banning Day Return travellers from peak hour trains out of London. Like many others,these trains are overcrowded.The answer would once have been to buy (or in the Good Old Days, build ) more rolling stock and make some infrastructure improvements.But not on the brave new privatized railway! First Group reckoned it could keep raking in the peak fares with the current stock by pricing economy travellers off the trains. The company issued all the usual guff about ‘proactively managing supply and demand’ (putting up fares), and ‘improving the quality of the journey’ (the remaining passengers might get a seat). ‘Nonsense!’, said London’s wonderfully proactive mayor, Ken Livingstone . According to Ken,the exercise was nothing less than ‘a cynical revenue-raising exercise designed to maximise profits’.

www.atob.org.uk

4

A to B 55