A lovely Monday morning spent with Mr Moulton Preservation Society, down by the river at Chelsea. As the name suggests, Mr MPS spends his spare time preserving Moultons. The classic bicycle design is a model worthy of preservation, but with the original Deluxe models now approaching their half-century, sourcing parts is often a problem.
My Moulton Deluxe developed a slight fault with the rear suspension. The back suspension block came unhinged, leaving the bicycle frame in two parts, a forerunner of the folding Brompton that was to come.
This all sounds more severe than it actually is. The bicycle has almost fifty years of road service, and so a slight suspension issue wasn’t going to ground the old girl.
I booked in an appointment with the secretive Mr MPS. As one would expect when dealing with a preserver of classic bicycles, pen and paper correspondence is the preferred medium.
I took a leisurely ride along the banks of the river from Vauxhall down to Chelsea, and then met up with the man who has dedicated twenty-five years of his like to looking after other people’s Moultons.
It’s a genuine labour of love for Mr MPS, with the very generous costs only covering parts. He identified the problem instantly, with some reassurance that this was a *shhh* slight design fault in a bicycle which otherwise is deemed to be the paragon of pedal perfection.
Problem and job sorted, it was then time to take in the wonders of the workshop of Mr MPS. Keeping in with the family feel of Moulton culture, the workspace is also Mr MPS’s front room. I don’t think the fragrant mrs onionbagblogger would be so understanding if I extended the storage space for my fleet from out of the kitchen into a second room.
Deluxe models are the speciality of Mr MPS. He also very kindly offered to fit a cream chain guard to match my original grips. He gave good advice about investing in an older seat, one that is more rigid on your backside, so that you can feel the full benefits of the original Moulton suspension.
It was here onwards when it started to get really interesting. We stripped the bike down inch-by-inch, taking great care to examine what had gone before. The social history of my Moulton is a project that apparently is worthy of further investigation.
For a forty-four year-old bike, I’m still running the original Dunlop tyres. The grip is slightly worn, but still sufficient. This suggests that the bike has seen little road action over the past half century.
The suspension though is an issue. Whatever action the old girl has been through, it has been rather thorough, possibly even off-road. There was evidence of a partial paint-job, something that I hadn’t picked up on previously, such was the skill under which it was carried out.
Every bicycle tells a story. Here’s hoping that my Moulton has another half century of tales waiting to be told.