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Hercules Folda 2007-04-11 Wednesday

Posted by hoipoloi in Hardware.
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I’ve recently been tinkering with this old folding bike that has been sitting in the back of my cycle shed for six years. Originally saved from the jaws of a rubbish skip, it received a cursory appraisal before being abandoned as an unworthy project.

Hercules Folda Click image to go large

It has Sturmey Archer 3-speed hub gears, chromed steel wheels, cracked tyres and tubes, side stand with metal fatigue, inadequate brakes, and copious amounts of rust (particularly on the front wheel). All of the above, with the possible exception of the hub gears, were contributory factors in this bike being confined to quarters.

Moving on to the present, and my renewed interest in cycling, the Folda was again introduced to the light of day. I gave it a slight overhaul with many of the new parts fitted from ‘in-house stock’ (brake levers, bar grips, pedals, seat) while the used parts were from a donor 20″ wheel MTB (front wheel, tyres, tubes).

Hercules Folda Click image to go large

The original rear wheel was not as badly affected by rust (presumably due to the overspill of oil from the gearbox) although I would have liked to have fitted a matching alloy wheel to the rear regardless of this. Unfortunately the rear wheel slots are not wide enough to take the wider alloy wheel with 6 speed cluster gear. Also, I can’t fit the alloy rim to the Sturmey Archer hub as there are a different amount of spokes fitted to each.

The brakes at present are totally useless at carrying out their intended purpose. Partly due to the excessive payload, partly due to the vintage design, and partly due to the aforementioned rear wheel lubrication system.

The side stand gave way during the initial road test and when bent back into position, showed signs of cracking on the mounting bracket. I fitted another make of stand and replaced the leg with a stainless steel one of the correct length (not shown in the picture).

I did have an idea of welding new rear wheels stubs to take the wider alloy wheel and also welding lugs onto the front and rear forks so that V brakes could be fitted. Bottle bracket mounts could also be fitted at the same time. I’m not sure whether I could do this with an arc-welder which is the only type I have. Welding the frame would of course also mean a new paint job. Not too much grief but the existing rust on the handlebar stem, seat post and pedal cranks would then look even worse.

Here it is folded:
Hercules Folda Click image to go large

Considering the work involved, and the fact that arc-welding may not be suitable, I think it may be cheaper, simpler and easier to buy a new folding bike instead.

And another thing, those knobbly tyres are sooooo uncomfortable on a ‘pavement bike’.
Watch this space.


Virtual European Tour #02 2007-04-01 Sunday

Posted by hoipoloi in Virtual Tour.
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Seriously, a month in Tadley would be just about as much as anybody could bearably endure. It is with this thought, and also with 133 miles in hand from March’s total, that I leave and again head south towards the coast and a choice of ferry ports. I should explain that in February I passed the 100 mile barrier and was suitable pleased. March saw me pass the 200 kilometer marker (124.27 miles) 🙂 I might be pushing it but I’d like to try for 150 miles in April.

I decide to make for Newhaven. Portsmouth would have been a nearer port But with a Brittany Ferries ticket price of £38 PLUS £5 for the bike I decide against it. Dover would be a shorter crossing and using SeaFrance would cost £12 (bike free) or P&O at £18 (bike free). Incidently, I am using a virtual trailer on my bike and entering this into the on-line quote form at P&O produces a ‘ This is not a valid selection‘ error.

However, I travel 84.6 virtual miles to Newhaven Ferry Terminal and use Transmanche Ferries at £17 (bike free) to cross to Dieppe. I now have 48.4 miles of riding on the wrong side of the road before reaching this month’s goal. Which direction should I go? Turn right and travel anti-clockwise around the French coast? Or head directly south in an attempt to get warmer quicker?. After looking at the map I decide not to chance Paris and instead choose the former option along the coast. I swap my mirror from one side of the handlebars to the other before departing. I then spend the day passing through lots of places ‘sur Mer’ hugging the coast as much as possible before finally arriving at the town of Fecamp, Upper Normandy.


The Office de tourisme has a good site with plenty of photos and links.

I find a good campsite ‘Camping Dereneville‘ for around 10 Euros a night.

That is all, au revoir jusqu’au mois prochain.