14 October 2017

She's Back. And She's Like I Remember Her, Only Better!

She's ready.

In late June, I sent Vera, my Mercian mixte, back to England for some rejuvenation.  She was riding just fine as she was, but I wanted to fix a couple of things.  One was the seat lug:  I think someone tried to jam a 27.2 seat post in it when the bike really takes a 27.0.  As a result, I had to use a shim to keep the seat post from slipping.

Vera no longer has that problem.  The folks at Mercian replaced the seat lug.  They also took the old cable guides off the down tube and replaced them with bosses that can be used for shift levers--like the ones that are on the bike now--or the cable stops that are used with Ergo/STI shifters, which I would need if I ever change to bar-end shifters.

I also wanted to clean up the bottom bracket, headset and other threads.  Not surprisingly, they did a good job at Mercian--Hal, at Bicycle Habitat, told me everything went together easily.

So why, if I have worked as a bike mechanic, did I let him put the bike together?  Well, he's the one who introduced me to Mercians.  Also, Vera was getting special treatment, so I figured it was only appropriate to give the job to someone who's been working with bikes for far longer than I did.  Plus, he enjoys working on Mercians.

Finally, though, I wanted to allow Vera to be the pretty bike she is.  That's why I had her re-finished.  I liked the old finish (British Racing Green with gold transfers and lug lining) well enough, but I thought Vera should get a chance to kick up her heels.

I decided that I don't want all of my bikes to be the same color, but I want to keep them in a "family", if you will, of colors I like.  As I've mentioned, the Vincitore Special I ordered is going to be painted Lilac Polychromatic (#17) with Deep Plum Pearl (#56) head tube and seat tube panels, topped off with white transfers and lug lining.

Because of the slope of the twin top tubes, it's difficult to put panels on a mixte frame without distorting the proportions of the frame.  At least, that's how I feel.  So, I opted for a single color:  Mauve Pearl (#53), with white transfers and lug linings.

And I simply could not resist the '50's style headbadge.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a seat-tube transfer that matches the headbadge.


And, perhaps, one of the more esoteric decals of all:

I knew that Reynolds made "respray" decals, but I hadn't seen many of them.  

You may have noticed something else about Vera's new look.  Hal convinced me not to use metal fenders again:  He believes I broke a couple of pairs of aluminum fenders on this bike because the aluminum is thin and because I "squeezed" them into the frame.  He also convinced me that this bike would look better with black fenders than with shiny (or matte-finished) silver ones.

The SKS/Bluemels fenders Vera now wears have piping on their sides.  They reminded me, somewhat, of the "ribbing" on some of the classic English and French fenders--and the Velo Orange Facettes I had on this bike before the "makeover."

The piping, though, serves a non-decorative function:  They're reflective. 

The bags were made by Ely Rodriguez of RuthWorks.  I will most likely keep the seat bag on the bike, but I may use one of the other bags Ely made for me on the front, where I have a Nitto M12 rack.

This "makeover" didn't change Vera's ride.  Then again, I didn't want it to:  It's nimble and comfortable.  And, yes, stylish:  Isn't style the point of having a twin-tube mixte?

As much as I love Vera, getting her back now makes me even more eager for the Vincitore Special I ordered.  Just five more months, if all goes as planned! 


  1. Very sweet! That Reynolds respay sticker is the cat's pajamas. I've never seen ome before.

  2. Justine, the makeover is very beautiful. I especially like the color because it's unique.

  3. That color is stunning. FYI: My wife's maternal grandmother was named Vera, a name that you don't run into much anymore. (My paternal grandmother was named Melcina, but that's another story.) Now you've got me thinking that I should send my own Mercian back to the factory for some mods including the shift lever bosses, rather than having the work done here. I hope the shipping wasn't too onerous. New bike day is always fun. But a refurbished bike day can be even better.

  4. WoW! She was pretty before, especially with those twin tubes, but is a real gem now. I had no idea that you could colour match valve caps and jockey wheels to the paint colour. I wondered wether you would choose a traditional head badge having gone to so much trouble and love that touch. Ride long and prosper.

  5. Double wow!! I just hope that you carry two U-locks and a fat cable lock with you and lock it to a piece of architecture or something that weighs as much as the anchor of the Queen Mary.


    1. Leo--When I first became serious about cycling, someone published an article--in jest, of course--suggesting that the combined weight of any bike and lock should be 50 pounds!

  6. This is the first I've ever heard of "respray" decals. I'd always figured they used replica decals off of eBay.

    1. Steve--I've known about the "respray" decals. As I understand, they are available only from Reynolds, and therefore only frame builders and refinishers like Mercian and Bob Jackson have access to them.

  7. Vera turned out lovely, what a perfect color! All the accessory details really bring a lot of impact, too.

    Whenever I see a fresh cassette and chain, I see it as a challenge. It begs for miles and road grime, haha.


    1. Wolf--Don't worry. That chain and cassette will get grimy. I will, however, wipe down the frame and other parts after dirty rides.

  8. Coline--Thank you. If you want me to send you valve caps or jockey wheels in purple, let me know. Or you can find them on eBay.

    How could I not choose a traditional headbadge? I just hope they will be able to fit one on the new frame I ordered.