“Marianne” is a 1981 Motobecane Mirage mixte, 12 speed, with original Weinmann and Suntour components. This is a fairy lightweight and sporty bicycle, and the first road bike I have ever ridden. It is definitely a new experience for one who is accustomed to upright bikes.
I found Marianne last month and have just finished giving her a make-over. She is now a very special, personalised bicycle, and I absolutely love her.
The tires are 27 x 1 1/4″ Panaracer Pasela Tourguards. I chose these because they combine puncture resistance with the nice vintage look of amber walls. The fenders are fluted Honjos, which are extra-long and have beautiful art deco detailing. I replaced the original vinyl saddle with a Brooks Flyer Special — an excellent saddle for riding with drop bars. The rear rack is a Pletcher that came with the bicycle originally. The Carradice Barley saddlebag is secured both to the saddle loops and to the rear rack, because I like for my bags to lie horizontally. This bag is great, because I can reach into the side pockets to grab small objects (like mobile-phone and camera) while remaining on the saddle.
The front light is a very retro-looking Low Rider Bullet Headlight by SunLite. In the rear I have attached a CatEye TL-LD1100 (not pictured).
After some deliberation, I decided to keep the drop bars, if only for the novelty of the experience. I removed the original rubberised wraps and wrapped the bars with Cinelli cork tape in “celeste”, which I then treated with amber shellac to turn into an organic-looking olive green. The tape is secured with shellacked cooking twine. I installed a small Japanese brass bell with a “watch-winder” ringer. And finally, the flowers in front of the handlebars are faux cherry blossoms that I picked up at a craft store.
“Marianne” gets lots of looks and smiles when we go out; I think mostly because of the flower arrangement and the enormous headlight! Time will tell what place Marianne will ultimately occupy, but the plan is to use her for transportation around town as a sportier alternative to my Pashley Princess, as well as on trail rides where I want to experiment with speed. I will admit that riding a roadbike is challenging for me, but it’s a fun kind of challenge and having a bicycle that is truly personalised is a great motivator!