Monday, November 29, 2010

Almost Unstoppable

I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about my brakes when I ride. I just sort of take for granted that any time I squeeze the handle, it pulls a cable which in turn pulls a caliper-thingy, which causes some rubber blocks to rub tightly against the sides of the wheel, and I slow down.  Happens every time...well, so far.
It’s good that I looked closer at my brakes the other day. Yeesh. The back brakes were fixin’ to disappear altogether. I pulled out an old brake block and compared it to a new one in a picture. The brake shoe is almost precisely the same width as the block on the right, which means the shoe was almost scraping against the wheel. Just like an automobile, metal-against-metal is what you don't want to have happen with your brakes.  Especially in winter conditions, it’s important to know your brakes will stop you when you need them to.
I shudder to think about what might have happened with some of the speeds I’m pulling. I’m not a super-lightweight person, so when I’m screaming downhill I definitely have gravity working overtime. Let’s just say that I could relate when later that day I went to the movies and watched Denzel Washington and Chris Pine try to stop a runaway freight train!  By the way, I highly recommend that movie, but I digress....

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