Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A Brake Mystery Solved and Jon's 400K Report

This past weekend Mike Richeson and I worked the Birch Bay checkpoint on the SIR 400 kilometer brevet. Details on the ride can be seen here:


and I took some pictures which can be viewed here:


One of the first guys through the Birch Bay control was Chris Ragsdale. Chris and Urs and Brian were really moving fast. To give you an idea of how fast, the Birch Bay control is at the 274 kilometer (170.3 mile) mark. The ride started at 5:00 AM and these guys came through Birch Bay at 1:25 PM. A bit faster than 20 miles per hour including stops.

During their luxurious ten minute break in Birch Bay, Chris and I futzed with his rear brake. He said it had developed a chattering and squealing problem. We checked the rim for any issues and played a little with the toe-in of the brake pads. I sent him on his way with a comment about how we probably didn't make it any worse and at the rate he was going it didn't seem like he was using his brakes much anyway. But I was wondering, because we really could find any obvious cause.

Sunday night Chris sent me this note, in which he describes the solution to the problem:



Thanks for the amazing support at Birch Bay. The stop was very much needed. And the hospitality was fantastic.

About the brake problem I seemed to be having. After I left the control I was disappointed to find out that our toeing in procedure had done nothing for the chatter and squealing of my rear wheel. And of course I just continued on for at least another hour or two before it hit me. I have had this problem before. But what was it?

Ah ha! I remembered it was the fact I was putting Coca Cola in the bottle on my seat tube and as the carbonation sprays and spills out of the top when it's open. It gets on the rear wheel and brake pads. All I needed to do was spray it with the water bottle and tap the brakes a couple times and wala. Brakes fixed.

Just thought you might like to hear, since it's a kinda a weird bike problem.

Chris Ragsdale


My pal Jon Muellner just posted his ride report here:


After Mike and I closed down the Birch Bay control around 9:30 PM, we drove down the rest of the course to Arlington. The rando lights and reflective gear really work, but the reflective stuff seems to be the most effective part of the package. Some of the most reflective randonneurs look like giant versions of those tropical poison arrow frogs, neon bright and shining.

Ride safe out there folks!

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