Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Cycling? Make sure your brakes don't rub. Truly basic maintenance.

Any noise means you're losing speed but that's easily solved by chasing the source with a drop of oil and or some adjustments.

I'm coming at Cycling as a Skater.  I would call myself an intermediate distance biker, two workouts a week in an urban/suburban setting in Fort Lauderdale and Wilton Manors, Florida.

I was out yesterday having an awesome workout.  Limiting myself to 90 minutes of actual motion, plus water stops and red lights and so forth, I managed a pleasant 23 miles.  Tomorrow is another cycling day and Friday is expected to be a Skate day.

Enough of that background nonsense, the thing is that if you go along long enough, you notice a few things.  My own bike is lit up like a xmas tree, and I have enough bio feedback going on that it is pretty obvious when "something changes".  Being that steady state kind of guy, I start looking.

I came to a conclusion that it pays to watch your disc brakes. 

You can see my own disc brake assembly on the picture.  The placement of the disc is highlighted by the sky blue from outside.  Nice little accident of photography there, huh?

If I am chasing a squeak like a cricket in the bedroom at 2 AM when you are trying to sleep, you know that I watch what's going on.  After about 5 to 10 minutes of active workout, you might do your best to have a look at your equipment.

Don't roll your eyes at that comment, it has served me well more often than not.  5 minutes is enough time for your heart rate to climb into the 100 beats per minute.  It's time for the chain and the cassette (that gear thing on your back wheel) to warm up.  It's also time enough for things to slip or flex if loose.

Oh sure YOU don't need to look, but maybe it's that other person on the trail that you're coming up on and sounding out "On Yer Left!" to.  Bear me out.

I have Runkeeper giving me stats and telling my speed every two minutes (more is annoying, less is pointless).  Strava will report all the final info to my health insurance company and I'll get points that are able to be converted to cash.  I have my watch feeding all of that, and a spare bike computer on the handlebars.  Basically I tell people I have a 47 pound aluminum alloy motorcycle with a 184 pound and 6 foot 4 inch motor shouting at trucks to get out of the bike lane. 

"Trail Hogs" deserve no respect, no matter the sport.

About that time, I glance down.  I'm on a straightaway and plugging along.  Finally warmed up.  Speed is increasing.  On my bike, with my frame, I can look down along the seat tube toward the back and see the brake assembly.  Here is where I make a strategic decision. 

Since all the equipment has warmed because of friction and sunlight, and found its groove, if that disc on the brake is not nicely placed between the brake pads, adjustments are needed.  It should never ride the pads, and it should be flat so that it won't brush against the pads at one point in the spin.

Remember, if it is brushing against the pads, it is slowing you down.  My own brakes work incredibly well, but I don't want them negatively impacting my workout.

Flip the lever on that wheel (front or back) and release the hub.  Here is where finesse is required.  Make certain the hub is sitting in its groove and mounts.  Then finesse that wheel so that it looks like the disc is balanced evenly between the pads like in the picture.  Finally clamp that lever back into place and verify nothing has drifted.

What happens with me is that at the one hour water stop, I will inspect everything again.  Pads must not be rubbing, wheels spin free, tire pressure is reasonable.  Then enjoy the carbs you brought and that bottle of ice water on your frame.

You did bring your supplies, right?  I highly recommend my own ginger cookie recipe.

Hey... On Yer Left!

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