On Wednesday afternoon, school is out!
Every cloud has a silver lining. And Adeline O´Moreau, a former Google designer, saw the silver lining when she got fed up with small off-the-shelf bikes full of compromises. A Belgian-born cyclocross and road racer with an enthusiastic personality - that she likes to describe as inversely proportional to her low saddle height - is a custom frame builder that produces small batch runs of bikes. Mercredi is Wednesday in French, and Adeline was raised in Belgium where on Wednesday afternoons, all hell breaks loose. All hell breaks loose? Well, school is out and kids go do all sorts of fun stuff. And that is precisely what Adeline hopes riders get up to on their Mercredi bikes - all sorts of stuff with no school rules telling them what to do. Mercredi bikes were showcased and featured at the Bespoked bicycle show in Bristol. The public event promotes the international talents of independent makers and designers of the bicycle world. Mercredi clearly made a great impression, as Beth Hodge's Mercredi adventure bike, one of eight team bikes Adeline is making for the Good Vibes Only CX racing team that competes in both the cross and gravel bike categories.
The general frame was designed around a fit analysis performed by Tony Corke, at Torke Cycling in Bath. According to Adeline, it is not rocket science, ”if you boil it down, in order to design a bike that works for a specific rider, all you need to find is the best position in space for the three contact points between their body and their future bike. Tony does that on a jig through a very interesting dialogue with the riders, one that allows us to go away having learned yet a little more about our bodies. The frame's geometry is completely custom to Beth, while some of it's features are the same as all the Vibe team bikes. It's made of Columbus steel, with a Life front end and a Zona MTB rear end. That makes for a very agile and responsive frame, with a lot of clearance for big rubber!” And clearance, there is plenty: The team frames all take 700c x 40 or 650b x 2.1. That means Beth can ride for days on her comfy adventure set up with 650B Zipp 303 Firecrest wheels and WTB Nano 2.1 tires—but on race day, the mud will have nowhere to stick when running a set of 700c Zipp 202 Firecrest wheels with 33mm tires. The dropouts are thru axle, flat mount disc - a solid platform that removes the need for a bridge on the short and racy chainstays. So that's one more mud collection point removed. The BB shell is a solid English threaded one - no fuss, no creaking, super easy to look after. The cable routing goes down the downtube and is fixed with bolt on clips - they makes trailside maintenance easy peasy, if anything was to cause trouble at all. Together with the cable clips, is an extra set of bottle bosses. Beth can carry a tool keg or an extra bottle. The front of the bike is nice and solid thanks to the oversized tubes, especially the 44mm ID head tube. The fork is carbon with a 100 x 12mm thru axle and tapered steerer. In true no nonsense Mercredi spirit, the frame is fillet brazed and the filets are left un-filed. The frame is powder coated for durability, after which, the branding and fork color highlights are wet painted by Colourburn Studio.
Aside from having a bike set up with components that riders trust 100% to do the job, the whole setup just works aesthetically. Everything looks like it belongs on this bike. It’s a beautiful, functional, fast bicycle that allows anyone to get on with turning the pedals and enjoying the view.
Every day in the workshop, Adeline tries to make bikes more efficient, custom bikes more accessible, and put the hammer down on race or adventure day. That's how she ends up refining her process - un-filed filets and mini batch production to start. “When I see what everyone gets up to on the bikes I made, I think Mercredi is hitting home for many and that I'm at least heading in the right direction to make no nonsense bicycles for all,” says Adeline.
What do we learn from that? Be cool, stay in school, but look forward to Wednesday afternoons!