I last owned a road bike over 20 years ago: a red Peugeot with internal cable routing that I quickly outgrew and abandoned in favour of a Raleigh Mag Burner
. Anyway, last autumn I moved to France with work and had the idea to acquire a classic steel racer. I didn't even have time to peruse the local "cash converteurs" before I was offered this Mercier by my father-in-law: Reynolds 531 tubes, Stronglight 93 cranks, Mafac "Racer" brakes, Simplex Super LJ gears and Normandy/Mavic wheels. He bought it second hand in the late 70s and used it for a few Alpine routes, before hanging it in his garage for the next 30 years.
Naturally I'm planning to bin all the gold ano crap, spray the frame flat black and build a, ahem, "kick-ass fixie"...
Just kidding; I'd like to keep it as original as possible while being usable for the local hills (=the Pyrenees). Exploratory sorties have already confirmed that I'll be needing shorter gears for climbing than the existing 37x24, which is complicated by the 122BCD cranks and French-threaded freewheel. The latter will be replaced by a wheel with a similar era Shimano 105 freehub allowing a greater choice of cassettes (12-28 or 14-28 ). I'll probably also respace the rear triangle to 126mm, and fit a smaller granny ring, either on a touring crankset like a Stronglight 99 or by adapting a 130/74 carrier to fit the existing cranks. New cables and tubulars and I should be good to go.
I'll post some more pics as it comes together.