All round Mercian joins the stable

When does an armchair become a racing car seat ?

House-Additions-Bucket-Armchair

For my recently acquired Mercian it started to happen the moment I swapped the wide flat bars for a set of normal drop bars , this swap totally transformed this bike from being a very relaxed machine to one that has started to feel a bit more lively and responsive. The next stage would be to fit some narrower profile tyres of either 27” or 700c size . The actual geometry of the frame itself is more than likely the most limiting factor .

Mercian

As far as I was told by the original owner of this bike it was built to his specification by Mercian cycles of Derby at some point in the 1970’s . The things he specified were Prugnant professional lugs , a higher bottom bracket , increased brake drop , pump pegs on the drive side rear stay , top tube brake cable braze on’s are also offset to the drive side rather than being central , full rear stay wrap over , front wheel dynamo mount bracket and the fairly standard for the era lamp bracket boss on the drive side front fork blade .

Mercian Lucifer Baby Dynamo

Mercian Wrap over stay

His explanation for all these modifications was that he wanted a bike that he could use on weekend club rides , touring duties , road races and when need be any off roading that was required when out cycling . His reason for the pump pegs and top tube cable guides being offset to the drive side were so that when he carried the bike on his right shoulder he would not knock the pump of when lifting it up and the cable guides would not cause any cuts and lacerations to his hands when he was steadying the bike on his shoulder .

Mercian Rear Lamp

All the above modifications show how thoroughly this bike was thought about before any riding started and by listening to the previous owner it was used for loads of cycling and covered many a happy mile with him . At some point as far as I can tell the bike has been refinished as the Reynolds 531 decal clearly states renovated. When questioned the old boy had no recollection of this but when you get to 76 I feel you are allowed to forget some things . The condition of the paintwork is clearly a lot fresher than a 40+ year old bike would be if it had been used for most of its time .

Mercian 531 decal

A lot of the components date from the mid 1980’s i.e. the rear Suntour vx rear mechanism , Stronglight crankset and the lovely miche wheel hubs and the use of stainless spokes in both of the 27” wheels. A lot of the other added on bits are a lot earlier like the Simplex bottle cage , springring bell and the classically shaped Lucifer Baby dynamo and lighting set . The elderly gent told me how these were fitted to his previous bike a Maclean which sadly got destroyed when it was involved in a collision .

Mercian Spring Ring

So far the only work I have done is to swap the damaged and broken mudguards with a pair of much newer and better condition ones I had lying around in the garage. I then replaced the flat handlebar and stem set up for a set of alloy drops with a slightly shorter stem and a set of early Shimano 600 drilled brake levers and some new brake cables, some new pads are on order to be fitted once they arrive .

Mercian

At present I have covered just over 10 slow gentle commuting miles and once the brake pads have arrived and been fitted I will start using this bike on some longer and more arduous rides , then once I am happy with positioning of the bars I will be applying some black bar tape .

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Heroes

Apart from being a fantastic song by David Bowie

Heroes are a strange thing

A hero could be anybody for any reason as we all see people and things in different lights and ways

Who I think is a hero the next person that reads this might never of heard of them and vice a versa

So I hear you all ask who is my hero , well that’s a simple enough question for me my answer might not be so simple

I think majority of people will name one or both of there parents as one of there life heroes simply for being great parents well I am no different both of my parents have been fantastic role models to me and my sister and all our childern .

My sporting hero would be none other than rally car driver Stig Blomqvist I can remember watching him hurl iconic 1970’ and 1980’s rally car’s down narrow winding forest tracks . The cars involved ranged from Saab 96 v4’s , Audi Quattro’s , Ford RS200 ,Skoda’s amongst many others .

Not only did he compete in Rally’s I also remember watching him on TV competing in Rallycross events from Lydden Hill and Brands Hatch and also the Pikes Peak hillclimb event from America .

saab 96

According to Wikipedia he was born in July 1946 and as you might have already geussed in Sweden . He competed from the early 1960’s driving a Saab 96 and later went on to drive for the official Saab team , his first international victory came in 1971 the last WRC win he is credited with was the 1984 Ivory Coast Rally driving an Audi Quattro , but he competed on international events right in to the new century .

Audi-Quattro-still-flying-high-at-30

So as you can see from above he has been there and done quite a lot for various people and has provided many an entertaining time for loads of others , so Stig Blomqvist you are my sporting hero

Blomqvist

It was rumuored at one point the he was intended as the first test driver on BBC’s Top Gear motoring programme , hence why the programme anonymous testing person is named “The Stig”

Time Travel

Years ago when i first started driving i loved the blue oval badge of Ford and owned several Mk 1 & Mk 2 Escorts from the humble 1300 GT to an original droop snoot RS2000 as i grew up my tastes evolved and owned a couple of Sierra 4 x 4 ‘s which were great cars for covering miles in no matter what conditions nature threw at you on the way .

Eventually my employment in the motor trade introduced me to the delights of Honda’s and Toyota’s along with there legendary reliability . I owned an original CRX V-tec that would scream all the way round the rev counter to 8000 rpm in all but top gear and still returned 30 mpg on average . The Toyota Corolla Gxi was another enjoyable drive that i owned fresh from the dealership where i worked to the day several months later when it was sold so i could use the funds as a deposit on my first house .

I was lucky enough to be entitled to a company vehicle that would range from a Toyota Starlet to a 3.0 v6 Camry estate and many other models in between , i dread to think how many miles were covered in these fine cars .

As years past so did my jobs eventually i ended up for my sins working at an Alfa Romeo – Fiat franchise , boy oh boy they were bad cars , the first Alfa i drove lasted less than half a mile before a warning light came on ! Needless to say i didnt stay there long in fact about 6 months .

So my point is we now own a Ford C Max and over night for whatever reason the time and date display had lost 14 months !

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IMAGES SHOWN ARE FOR ILLUSTRATION ONLY