Putting on the brakes

Brakeblocks_1Last week I noticed that my brakes weren’t working as well as I might expect. A couple of times – most notably flying down Westminster Bridge – I had to pull the brake levers very tightly (so that the lever was practically touching my handlebars) before anything would really happen. Once or twice I had to put my foot down onto the ground to bring my bike to a complete halt. I know. Not good.

I put it down to the hot weather and made a mental note to ask T, my live-in mechanic, to take a look at my brakes.

Late this afternoon he did some investigation, and found that all four of my brake blocks (two on each wheel) had worn down to dangerously low levels. To be honest, I was quite embarrassed to see the state of them when he showed me how thin they had become. I guess 11 months of wear and tear and constant hard braking will do that to brake blocks, right?

Anyway, I made a runner to the nearest bike store (Cyclopedia on Kensington High Street), bought two pairs for £12 before the shop shut at 5pm and then promptly handed them to T for fitting.

Afterwards I went on a test ride to try my new brakes out. I nearly flew over the handlebars the first time I pulled the brake levers. Bloody hell. Apparently it will take awhile for them to bed in, but for the time being I’m going to have to ease up on my trigger-happy heavy-handed braking lest I end up spending more time in the air than in the bike saddle. But I’m feeling a bit more confident that my bike will now stop without wearing out the soles of my Converse trainers!

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2 thoughts on “Putting on the brakes

  1. There’s something quite wonderful about corrctly functioning brakes.
    With brakes wearing so gradually I often find that I don’t notice them working less effectively until I’m squeezing the levers way too much.
    Funny how even a quick cable adjustment can restore better functioning brakes and make the whole bike feel better on the road.

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  2. That sounds like Lyndon. He re-adjusted the brakes on Monet’s pram. Bloody hell alright. She just about flew out of the pram when Lyndon tested them! (Lucky for her harness!)

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