03 September 2011

I'm Back: Say Hello To Vera

The semester has begun and, as you probably can imagine, I've been busy.  To those of you who expressed concern for my safety:  Thank you.  I was hardly affected at all by Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene, save for the fact that I had to stay indoors and miss a few days of cycling.  


But, as you've seen from my last couple of posts, I've begun to commute on Miss Mercian II--who will henceforth be known as Vera.  I could get all literary and scholarly on you and say that I named her after some character in a Restoration play, or some such thing.  Truth is, I decided on the name after listening to Pink Floyd's "The Wall."  You know the song I'm referring to. 

I'll write about her ride after I spend some more time on her saddle.  Her wheels and tires, as well as much of her other componentry, are heavier than those on Helene, my other Miss Mercian mixte.  Plus, the geometry is a bit different.  Finally, I'm still tweaking a few things on Vera.

Speaking of which:  I'm going to install a set of centerpulls on Helene.  I've always felt that they were better for bikes with long clearances.  They fit better around fenders, for one thing.  Plus, on bikes with long reaches (more than about 60 mm), traditional sidepulls feel mushy, while dual-pivot brakes (like the Tektro 556s Helene now has) seem to have an "all or nothing" feel to them.  It may well have something to do with the levers (the Tektro inverse levers that are styled like the old Mafac bar-end levers)  I'm using with them.  They seem more suited for a centerpull or cantilever brake.  

On the front centerpull,  I'm going to install one of those little TA-style front racks (made by Dia Compe and purchased from Velo Orange).  I could use a small basket or rack bag--or, of course a handlebar bag.  Perhaps I could also strap my purse or handbag to it.

There is a "casualty" in all of this.  Yes, you guessed it:  Marianela.  She went to a good home this week.  A woman who's my height and whose legs are the same length as mine is going to ride it to graduate school, which she is starting this week.  I realized that if I had simply given away or donated Marianela, she could have ended up with someone who was too short for her, or simply wouldn't have appreciated her.  By the same token, I didn't expect to get much money by selling her, and I didn't.  I asked for a low price in my Craig's List ad, and after the woman and I talked, I lowered that price and threw in a few "extras." 

I sold the bike with the Gyes Parkside saddle.  I wasn't going to part with the Brooks saddles on my Mercians, all of which are somewhat to significantly narrower than the Gyes.  And I had only one other saddle:  some cheap, hard and narrow no-name nylon thing with thin padding, which I know Marianela's new owner wouldn't have liked.  

I felt good about the transaction:  Marianela and her new rider are right for each other, I think.  And I think Vera will make my commutes more fun.


  1. So does this mean an all-Mercian fleet at the moment?

  2. Great song. I was in Junior high school when The Wall was released. Of course, Another Brick in the Wall, was my favorite: "we don't need no education" was our teenage angst theme.

    Nice photo of Vera. I can see better where the bungee cord is hooked in this photo.

  3. Steve: Yes, all four of my bikes--Arielle, Tosca, Helene and Vera--are Mercians. I didn't plan it that way, but I am not complaining!

    Sue: Believe it or not, "We don't need no education" is my motto in teaching. The longer I teach, the more I feel this way: I love learning but I hate Education (with a capital "E.").

    I think anyone who's within about ten years of my age can say that at least one song on that album was part of the soundtrack of his or her youth, if you will. In addition to "Comfortably Numb" and "We Don't Need No Education," I loved "Mother".

  4. Justine - I feel the same way about Education with a capital E : )

    I am going to stop complimenting the green mixte, cause that's getting annoying. But you know I'm thinking it!

    Oh and I used to listen to "Vera" over and over when I was a teenager.

  5. Velouria, compliment Vera all you want. She certainly doesn't mind. Nor do I. She is a pretty bike, if I do say so myself. She's certainly the most elegant commuter/transport bike I've had.

  6. Comfortably Numb could almost be written for cyclists... Now that I know you are a Floyd fan and like me seem to be over generous I like you even more.

    As for the invisibility of the double negative, what hope is there for comunication?

  7. Coline--We simply must meet some time!