Ever since seeing a picture of a Mercian bike on an Internet forum, I have always been fascinated by their beautiful lugged steel frames. A weekend trip to Derby presented an opportunity to visit the home of Mercian Cycles. Mercian Cycles is based in Alvaston, a suburb just south of the Derby city centre. What struck me immediately was that the store bearing the name of these sought-after custom-built frames with such distinguished heritage is very much your local bike shop (albeit a pretty pricy one :) ). Admittedly you are greeted by a wonderful display of Mercian bikes and frames as soon as you step inside the shop, which, after all, was what I personally wanted to see, but it does not seem to be obsessed with Mercian's fame. Instead of finding glossy pictures of Mercians from magazines or coffee table books, you get letters from their satisfied customers. They also sell a huge stock of non-Mercian bikes and accessories, and the man at the till was extremely friendly too.
Not quite rich enough to be a Mercian rider, I am now, nonetheless, the happy owner of a Mercian coffee mug!
|Another surprise in Alvaston - an art deco pub (which does £3.75 carvery)|