Classic Lightweights UK
Classic Frame Builders
SOME WELL-KNOWN MERCIAN RIDERS
In Eileen Sheridan - A Cycling Life published by Wychwood Studio (Available from the V-CC sales) there is a picture of Eileen riding a Mercian in the 1950 Yorkshire 12-hour Time Trial. Her machine has the 'cascading' MERCIAN down tube transfer and she is already riding with her trade-mark deep drop handlebars. The machine is equipped with a Sturmey Archer gear and a Chater Lea chainset.
Here is a picture of her riding the National 100-mile Time Trial Championship in the same year. The Mercian is now stripped down with single speed fixed-wheel and one brake.
In the book there is also a picture of three riders chatting together after a race, Eileen Sheridan, Ethel Crowther (one of the partners in Mercian) and Mima Soens - the last two both well-known names in the frame building world.
Right: Another fast man riding Mercian. Derek Woodings of Derby Wheelers here seen winning the 1963 National 100-mile Time Trial by nearly two minutes with a time of 4h 2m 38s.
Like Dave Keeler and Ray Booty, Woodings was a tall rider with a large frame. He was 6' 3" and it looks as if the frame is at least 25".
He is riding on 'tubs' with a spare wrapped in a cycling magazine strapped under the saddle, he also has a Pennine compressed air pump held by a single Terry spring pump clip behind the seat tube. His Campag gears are changed by bar-end levers
Left: Beryl Burton riding Mercian in the Manx Viking Wheelers 25, 1959
in a record event time of 1h 7m 5s
On a slightly different note, John Basell tells us that he was and is a member of RAF(Egypt)CA Club, the Exiles CC, and that 15 of them still meet and ride together four times per year, some 53 years afterwards. Below is a picture, taken last year up at Woolsthorpe, of one Cyril Wagstaff attired in his Exiles jersey and leaning on his magnificent Mercian.
On demob from the RAF in the 50s, Cyril went to work for Mercian and stayed with them right until retirement - about three years ago. His made-to-measure Mercian, built in Reynolds 853, with carbon forks, Cinelli 'Angel' combined carbon stem and bars and fully Campag Record equipped, was his retirement present from the firm.
When John told him about Lightweight News no. 5 with a resume on Dave Keeler he was most interested as he remembers Dave's visits well and can recall giving special attention to the machine that Dave rode in the End-to-End.
Cyril Wagstaff (looking very fit - note position of saddle and bars!)
with the Mercian presented to him on his retirement
from Mercian after 50 years service. The RAF club mentioned above was for
serving members of the RAF who were stationed in Egypt.
Conscription was in force in the UK during the 40s and 50s and most cyclists did at least two years military service
Return to Mercian home page
Further information on Mercian in the period 1956-60
Chris Barbour and Martin Hanczyc have their own website to cover the history of pre-1970 Mercians at:
Mercian Cycles own website is at:
© 2006 Classic Lightweights