Wednesday, 2 August 2017

A Bickerton Portable Folding Bike


On Friday 21 July, Folding Goldies friends Sue and Gottfried called in to see John. Gottfried deposited a bag in our hallway, containing a very old, disassembled, folding bike. “I thought you might be interested in having a look at this”, he said. “I acquired it recently in exchange for a bottle of good whisky”.

It was a Bickerton Portable Folding Bike. Gottfried didn’t actually say “Can you fix it for me?”, but that is what eventuated. John spent the rest of the weekend taking most of it apart, servicing it, and putting it back together. He researched it on the internet and found out that it had been made in 1979 – so it was 38 years old.

The Bickerton Portable Folding Bike – 1979 vintage (photo by John)

He took it for a test ride around the corner on our street, but he found it wasn’t very good on the hill. So, a bit more tweaking, and by Monday, he tried it on Te Ara Tawa, a nice smooth, mostly flat path. He was satisfied that is was a reasonably viable bike on the flat.

Test ride in Tawa

A couple of days later, after a few more tweaks, we went for a ride along the Wellington Waterfront, so that he could test it some more. Having folded it to put it in the car, he found that it took quite a bit of fiddling to unfold and get it ready to ride. The bag that the bike came in was designed to be folded and domed so that it could hang off the handlebars, which was useful for carrying a spanner. If you were a London commuter trying to take this bike on the tube, it would definitely not fold and unfold in a jiffy!

One fold undone …

That spanner came in handy!

Now the handlebars have to be turned out …

… and adjusted

Done! Ready to roll!  (photo by John)

The Bickerton and my Giant parked together at Karaka Café (photo by John)

After the ride, he made an addition to the bike to give the handlebars a bit more rigidity, which would also stop the cover of the bag from lifting and flapping in the breeze.

A bar between the handlebars made them a bit more rigid.

A few days later, Gottfried came to collect his Bickerton. I think – I hope – he was happy with what John had done with it.

Of course John has written up the Bickerton on his website, which you will find here.


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