On 23 May 2002, some lowlife stole my folder. It was sitting on the front verandah at home at night, and it was gone in the morning.

If anybody is seen riding this bike (probably in inner north-western Melbourne), excessive force is authorised.

Folding Utility Bike

Folding shopping bike

I tried my hardest, but I couldn't resist this one when it was offered for $20 on the aus.bikes newsgroup, in December 1999.

The brand is Master Sports, and my best guess is that it was made in Japan, sometime in the '70s. It has a red boom-tube frame which hinges in the middle, 20" wheels with a 3-speed Suntour hub, big chromed chainguard and mudguards with tacky plastic reflectors, luggage rack, dragster handlebars and a spring-loaded vinyl seat. It's the kind of bike you'd expect to see Honourable Employee Of The Month Mr Nakashima ride to work on, in a bad doco about the Japanese economic boom.

Unfortunately, the chrome is a little rusty. I don't think it's worth my time or effort to rub it all back and get it re-chromed, as much as I would love to. The frame is built out of very heavy, basic steel, and it and all the components are very cheaply constructed.

But it goes like a rocket. It was funny on our maiden ride together, blowing away commuters up Melbourne's Canning St (THE bike route north through inner-city Carlton) on a rattly old 20" folder. It's even faster now I have some new tyres that don't have bumps in them (the cheapest freestyle BMX tyres K-Mart had; 20x2.125 just fits in the frame), and which I trust enough to put more than about 25 psi of air in. The old woods-valved tubes were wonderfully retro, but not worth the bother of finding an adaptor for my pumps - I now have sensible schraeder-valved tubes in. I also zip-tied a milk crate to the rack, so I really can carry all my shopping home easily.

Now I have such a damn sexy utility bike, the single-speed shopping bike has become somewhat redundant. I'll probably end up putting the rest of the sprockets, a couple of derailers and some rear brakes back on it, and passing it off to a bikeless friend. It will be sad to lose one of the family, but four and two halves is probably enough bikes for me to own at the moment...

Last updated 26 June 2002
Disclaimer - Society is to blame