By David Moult
Riding to Aldi on my Mk 1 flame orange Moulton Standard is one of the best parts of my day. The story is, that driving home from Aldi one day before Christmas I thought, “why am I in a car”? I always used to ride; but since knee troubles and moving from Suffolk to hilly Cornwall I had given up. My doctor said cycling would be good for me, that and losing some weight.
My Dawes racing cycle from 1995 was not, I thought, the thing for shopping and so I had a think. All things mid century are chic just now and I thought of a Moulton, they seemed to be built for shopping. I looked on Ebay, then had a sit down. Hundreds of pounds for an old bike? Even more if you lived in the far east. I found this web site and started researching. Lots of good advice and soon I knew what to look for and what to pay. Rear forks were an issue it seemed, especially getting them off and on again. Just before Christmas I spotted one with a front carrier in old but unmolested condition and bought it from a junk shop near High Wycombe. Putting it on top of my daughters furniture that I was delivering to London made the car safe for parking in the street in Deptford, It looked like everything inside was going to the tip.
Taking the bike out of the car I must admit to wondering if I had lost it. £100 for a fifty year old scrap bike. However the first bit of goodness was not long in arriving. I sorted out and cleared my garage. One day with some steel shelving bought and a few trips to the dump and there was all the space I could desire plus lots of tools I had forgotten about.
Actually I took the bike to pieces in the conservatory as there was more light. The chrome was pretty good and most things came off pretty easily. I took photos to remind myself of where unfamiliar things went. The one screw that defied me held the bottom of the rear carrier brace to the frame. It had a painted over defiled cross head. I tried all the things, had a think, and cut the head off with my trusty Dremmel. Drilling the screw out carefully revealed a clean thread and I was ready to strip and paint.
The two carriers I cleaned with a vibrating multitool over a few evenings. Lots of dust but it was too cold to open my shed door. I repainted them with white Hammerite and on a nice day started on the frame. It wasn't too bad and after some filler undercoat it was ready for a top coat of Halford's Ford Flame Orange. The painting went well over a couple of sunny calm afternoons in the garden and I finished off with some clear lacquer.
The rear fork remained in place as it seemed O.K. with just the smallest of cracks visible in some good quality brazing. I had read horror stories of removing and refitting the fork and it was the only part of the bike not stripped. I re greased with molly the front fork. Looking at the rear end the cog was a small one with the teeth worn in to little scimitars. Luckily one bike shop in Truro had a replacement of a slightly larger size. Sorting the new chain was a problem. I could get it too long or just a little too short. I thought, chains stretch, and so went with the short. The tyres were a problem, I bought the wrong size and so have a couple of slightly too small white wall tyres in the garage, I do know all about tyre sizing now though.
Nearly there with new black sponge handgrips, black cables and the gears seeming to be adjusted well. I took it for a quick trip and second gear was unreliable. Ringing around some of the older looking bike shops in Cornwall I found a new old stock Sturmey Archer shifter in Wadebridge and now the gears are perfect. The old white saddle had seen its best days and following the orange theme I found a bright orange BMX saddle for a few pounds in Halfords. While there I found a nice orange rubber covered bike lock. New brake blocks were a three pound extravagance and a red alloy LED light that I drilled and fitted with a stud to mount in the rear carrier finished the bike off in a Dan Dare way. The proper transfers went on the frame and I was ready to go shopping.
I love riding my fifty year old Moulton. People are friendly and of course it is re-cycling so I can be a little pious. I am fitter, happier, the garage is tidy, riding it gives me energy, I cleaned the conservatory after one ride. It has been win win win. Looking at the garage now, I realise that a Fiat X19 will fit, orange of course.