Thursday, 7 July 2011

Holy Cr*p that was sudden.

How many miles are brake pads supposed to last for? I only ask this because mine went after 2,500 miles. OK I know it is all subjective depending on how often you use them etc. so I do not expect a serious response to my question.

But what did shock me was the speed with which they went from working to me rear ending some poor woman’s car. The weather was clear but it earlier been raining. I had been cycling along, overtaking some cars on the right and was coming up to a roundabout. Being on the right hand side of the traffic at a roundabout is not my preferred positioning. So I indicated left and went in between a white van and a grey ford, the white van was a little pushy (nothing major) so I left my left arm out for a little longer to make my point. This meant I needed to scrub off some speed with just my right hand brake – horror – what , why when? I my bike hardly slowed at all! Although not going fast, I was one handed and clipped in, there was too much speed to turn safely so I ended up going into the back of the grey Ford.

I was very polite to the woman I had just given a shock to, we pulled over to a side road and I let her check her car for damage (there was none) I had deliberately hit the car with my tyre and then my thigh. I apologised and explained my brakes had suddenly failed and I was really sorry – she asked if I was OK and as there was no damage to her car she went off. I took my trusty hex keys from my saddle bag and set about tightening the cable.

Now I know, cable stretch, pads wear – but I went from what I thought was perfectly correct brakes to only 10% (I lost 50% because I was only using one brake in the first place). I had no idea my brakes where anything but fine, right up until the collision I had been braking without issue, but then the strain of using one brake and probably a wet rim rendered them useless. A visual check of the brakes showed there was a larger gap than I would have expected between the pad and the rim – it was not a big fix and took all of 30 seconds. So either the cable suddenly slipped or I had a fault in the pad I just don’t know. The only other conclusion is that someone is trying to kill me off. Therefore if my blog is not updated for a week then please make the police aware of this post (this is a joke).

Lesson learnt – well I had always sort of tested my brakes when I set off on my bike, nothing more than a slight stop before taking on speed – really it was not a formal procedure. Now though, when I set of I do a quick check of each brake individually. I am sure it will become habit soon enough, after all I don’t want to make life to easy for my potential assassin.

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