Regular readers of this blog may have noticed an absence of cycling-related mayhem on these pages of late. This is not just because I’ve been away (and while there’s many things I would attempt in order to bring you tales of commuting woe on this blog, cycling in Paris is not one of them. Not unless they close the roads as they do for the Tour de France), and not because there’s been a sudden outbreak of road sense on the streets of South London either. No, the reason is that I have not been on the bike for a while. I’d been noticing for some time that my front brake no longer stopped the bike very effectively. After an hour or so of tinkering by the other half, things improved a bit but then not only did the brakes no longer stop (or even slow) the bike, they even stopped making the attractive squealing noise that at least warned the pedestrians to get out of my way. (Bell? Who needs a bell). My back brakes were still able to slow the bike down, but I could only come to a dead stop by dragging my feet on the ground and I couldn’t guarantee my own safety, let alone that of anyone else.
So the next time both I and my bike were together in daylight I thought I’d have a look to see if I could diagnose the problem. I had a look at my front brakes to see if they were still there, and lo and behold they were:
Hmm, I said to myself, I wonder if that’s what brake pads are supposed to look like? So I looked at my back brakes:
I think I need new brakes, don’t you?