Well, the Miss Mercian is just about done. Oh, it's been rideable for more than a week now. But I finally got the rack I wanted for it.
I know that there are all kinds of fancy-pants racks out there. Some are quite good; nearly all of them are overpriced. I'm not talking, now, about the constructeur racks, vintage or current, made by hand by a few small builders. Rather, I'm thinking about some that try to be more, and end up being less, than they are.
One high-end rack in particular that I saw fits that description. But Hal said that it's really no stronger or otherwise better than the rack I bought. Plus, it was ugly, at least to my eye.
So what did I get? The "old reliable": a Blackburn Expedition rack. I know it's good because I've owned a couple of them before. In fact, I used them for all of my multi-day (or -week) tours. And I very stupidly left them on bikes that I sold. Hal has used the same model to cross the USA by bike--three times. In fact, he used the same rack all three times!
So why was getting another one such a big deal? These days, it's made only in black. That probably would've looked OK on the bike, but I thought silver would be prettier. I thought I was going to get one on eBay. I submitted what I was sure would be a winning bid. That was a few hours before the end of the auction. But, in those last few hours, someone submitted a winning bid--fifty cents higher than the one I submitted!
I guess if I'd waited a bit longer, another would've turned up on eBay. But I didn't want to to lose in the same way. So, I broke down and bought from one of the few retailers that still had silver racks in stock. I ordered one from Probikekit which, like the other retailers that had it in stock, is located in the U.K. Surprisingly, the rack, even with shipping, cost me slightly less than it would have cost to buy it here. Thank the still-favorable exchange rate and the fact that the quoted price included VAT, which you don't have to pay if you're not in the UK or EU.
For good measure, I bought two. At that price, why not? I could always use it on Arielle if I need to carry more than a Carradice saddlebag on it. Or I could use it on some future build. At least I've got another good rack in silver that didn't cost more than the first five or six bikes I owned.