When not driving ... I ride a Moulton bike

Moulton bicycles were first produced in the sixties.

Radical design that aimed at building a better bicycle than the Victorian diamond frame resulted in 16-inch wheels, full suspension and a low centre of gravity, giving extra stability. I have a breeding pile of them in my shed, always good for a 10-mile jaunt on the cycle path, urban-warrior shopping or even the London to Brighton run.

Small wheels with lower mass and drag make the bike 6 per cent more efficient. They also give faster acceleration and swerve to improve performance. It is claimed that a Moulton rider uses 500 British thermal units of energy per mile at 15mph as opposed to the 1,500 burnt by the rider of a conventional bike.

Furbished with modern brakes and lightweight parts, a 40-year-old Moulton is still competitive and fun. Bespoke models are now produced in the old stables of Alex Moulton's family home in Bradford on Avon, and other models by Pashley Cycles are available in Stratford. Alex, now into his 80s, produced three new models last year.

The world bicycle speed record is held by a 1980s Moulton complete with fairing of 51.29mph. One has been ridden halfway round the world to Australia and one crossed the USA in 10 days.

You may still find Moultons at the local tip, but eBay prices, boosted by bidding mania, can reach £250. New models start at £800: you will recognise the Moulton's value over cheaper folding commuter bikes if you cycle more than three miles on it.

If you get really carried away, you can purchase the latest hand-built New Series Pylon model, resplendent in Aerospace stainless steel, for £7,000 plus - probably the same amount that your last new car depreciated in three years.

Dr Stefan Cembrowicz is a GP in Bristol.

Becoming a Moulton enthusiast

  • The Moulton Bicycle Club, at www.moultoneers.net, gives advice, plus restoration and sales at realistic prices.
  • Specialised dealers include Avon Valley Cyclery in Bath or Phoenix cycles in London.
  • www.alexmoulton.co.uk factory for sales, spares and orders.

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