Saturday, April 25, 2020

A Carry-Out Ride

With much of the state still in shutdown mode, one of the few treats a person can look forward to these days is an occasional "carry-out" meal.

Our little theater is closed - along with the salon, record store, 
and shoe repair shop. Some restaurants are still open
I live in a terrific old neighborhood in Akron, where there are quiet residential streets, lined with cool old houses - mostly built between 1900-1930 - and a lively little business district in the middle of it all, with bars, restaurants, a movie theater, and a bunch of other small local businesses. Lately, many of the places are closed, and we're worried that some won't be coming back when the shutdown ends. But some of the restaurants have been able to keep open on a carry-out-only basis, and today I made a run for some take-out Chinese food.

I have a vintage Mercian that I use as my "city bike." It's set up to be a light, speedy, errand runner, with an easy-on/easy-off basket for carrying a few essentials.

I haven't shown or written much about the city runner here on the blog before, so today seems like a good time to rectify that.

That basket attaches in seconds to the rear rack with spring-loaded grippers. Perfect for picking up takeout Chinese, or a light load of groceries.
And here are some clearer pictures so you can see some details:

This was the second Mercian that I had bought, in what would eventually become a pretty sizable collection. It's a 1979 "Classic" model (previously known as the "Olympic"), which I found around 2003 or so. I got it as a bare frame and fork, with gold paint that was badly beat - but it was cheap, and like an abandoned puppy, just needed some love. I shipped it off to the Mercian shop in Derby, England where it was refinished in this cool blue with cream (or more accurately buttercream) head tube. I built it up with an eclectic mix of parts.

Mustache bars work nicely on a city bike like this one, and I've always liked the look, too. The wheels are Mavic MA2 rims on Campagnolo Record hubs. I bought those hubs when I was 19 years old and used them to build my first set of wheels (they didn't hold up well) then later took those apart and re-used the hubs to build these.

My brakes are SunTour Superbe, updated with modern pads. I've got 32mm tires under those plastic fenders.

I installed a vintage Blackburn rack, a sprung Brooks Flyer saddle, and bar-end shifters.
My drivetrain consists of a TA crank, SunTour Vx rear derailleur, and SunTour ARX front derailleur. The pedals are basic MKS touring pedals.

The old Mercian city runner occasionally catches some admiring looks and complements when I'm out running errands with it, though that didn't happen today. From the picture above, you can see that the square is far from "lively" these days.

By the way, the Chinese take-out was pretty tasty, and it's always good to be supporting one of the local businesses when we're able.


  1. I loved mustache bars and they worked well on my Miyata touring bike for more upright riding, an easy alternative without changing the brake set up. The bike is gone now, but I still admire mustache bars and they look great on your bike.

  2. Newer reader to your blog, and I love this bike. I use a lower end 70's Motobecane Mirage for similar duties, but with a VO Pourteur rack and handlebars. Lots of fun!

  3. Is your QR basket a home-made system or "boughten?" If the former, can you describe the QR system in more detail? If the latter, can you provide a link?

    I went through all sorts of contortions trying to find a large, QR basket for my erstwhile Hon Solo, and finally jury rigged something that could carry 3 paper grocery sackes, but it was jury rigged, even if effective. Would like to know of a more elegant system. Thanks. And btw, of course, nice Mercian.

  4. The basket comes from Axiom (bags, panniers, baskets, etc.) and they make a couple different versions/styles. I can't seem to post a link, but they aren't hard to find once you know what you're looking for.