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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Brakeless

I was interrupted while changing brake pads yesterday and forgot all about it. When I was engaged in my usual insane morning rush today, I discovered that my fixed commuter was, for the first time ever, brakeless. I had no time to fiddle around because I was already late. I grabbed the pads, made sure I had an allen wrench and hopped on my brakeless bike. Other fixed gear riders do it, right? Surely I could manage one ride into work and install the new pads at lunch time...

I managed fine, but I hated it. I lost time because I needed to be going slow enough to stop without blowing out my achy old knees and the thought of an emergency stop scared me witless. Thankfully no sudden stops were required. Even so, my knees hurt now. So, it is as I have always suspected: I am way too un-hip and old and risk averse to ride brakeless. Other than on the track, I don't know why the hell anyone would want to. I think I understand why at least some of those fixed gear riders seem so crazy... crazy is way easier to learn than stopping without brakes.


Never Stop Stopping...


R A N T W I C K

12 comments:

Doohickie said...

It's kind of like riding my Raleigh DL-1 Tourist with the rod brakes. Yeah, they work, but you better give them room!

[unlebobo]

Rantwick said...

I'm going to have to investigate "rod brakes"... I don't know what they are. Nice to see a comment from the mighty Doohickie!

Rantwick said...

Hey, I googled up some rod brakes... very cool! I hope I don't get bitten by the vintage bug though. It seems a little to effort like to me.

Kokorozashi said...

OMG! Glad you made it to work okay!

Darnit, now I'm going to have to Google rod brakes, too :)

Steve A said...

It must be brake day today. Lowestgear.blogspot posts her best post of the year - about brakes, you do without, and I had a bit too much, all at the same time! I hope I get this darn American tax thing out of the way so it all happens ON the same day.

Who says things are random?

Ed W said...

I've had a similar problem, but it was due to a flat tire. I went out to the garage one morning, only to find the front tire flat on my Bianchi. "No problem," I thought. "I'll just use a wheel off the Centurion." I didn't realize with rims were different widths and therefore the front brake wouldn't be very effective. I discovered that as I went into the first corner at the bottom of our hill. Two brakes = good. One brake = workable, but not so good. No brakes = no thanks. I too, am both well into middle age and...um...gravitationally challenged.

Max said...

Actually (surprisingly), most people are unaware that there is a rather spiritual transformation and harmonic convergence which occurs when riding fixed and brakeless which facilitates the rider reaching a proper bio rythmic cadential oneness with his/her surroundings. This allows riders to molecularly separate and momentarily become one with the oncoming pickup truck, and then restructuralize upon the passing of the pickup truck. Skinny jeans are an integral element in proper molecular restrucuralization, by the way.

Interestingly, this is not possible with hybrids, as they cause an electrical interference UNLESS you are riding in your underwear.

So, long story short, brakes are uselass, unless you want to stop.

Chandra said...

Rantwick,
You is gutsy! I chicken even with brakes on the bike LOL!

Peace :)

Steve A said...

Ed W,
What happened to this "ABC Quick Check" you shills for the Bike League are supposed to teach all us peasants? At least Rantwick and I both knew there was something amiss with the brakes before we even got rolling!

Besides, you should count yourself lucky. That Centurion COULD have had a different diameter wheel which would have made for an even MORE amusing anecdote...

Lizzylou said...

Well, at least you know for next time that you can just hop off and run :)

Rantwick said...

LizzyLou - thanks for dropping by! I can't seem to manage that "rolling dismount" thing on a regular bike; I fear the fixed gear would simply beat me to death.

cafiend said...

I used to disconnect the brake on my fixed ear as part of my theft-resistance system when I locked it. More than once I forgot to reconnect the brake as I rode away again. It was a centerpull. and one time I actually dropped the bridge wire on the ground. I searched in vain. While I was hovering, a small piece of hardware fell off the back of a truck driving slowly by. I picked up the lost article and chased down the truck. As soon as I returned to where I'd been searching for my bridge wire, I saw it immediately.

An odd memory.

I definitely have a brake on each of my fixed gears. Kickback stops are fun and all, but sometimes you really need more stopping power.

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