Gimme a brake

Now I can hit the binders without innocent bystanders thinking they’re being attacked by a deranged eagle.

I got paid for a little extracurricular work I did a while back and decided to spread some of the love around, ordering up a new set of Avid BB7s for the Bianchi Zurigo Disc.

The fine folks at Two Wheel Drive handled acquisition and installation, and now I don’t have to listen to those gawd-awful BB5s gargling whenever I squeeze the levers. Sumbitches made more bad noise than a busted chainsaw.

There are worse things than shite brakes, though. Ask anyone in Hurricane Harvey’s vicinity. The Houston Chronicle is all over the story, with one of the most horrific moments (for me, anyway) being the residents of a senior center sitting in waist-deep water, awaiting rescue.

There are other tales nearly as grim, and I expect there will be more of them as the days drag on. And weird ones, too, about a guy catching fish in his living room and dogs carrying their own emergency rations.

We often crack wise about Texas around here, because hey — it’s Texas, y’all! But spare a thought if you will for the residents of the Lone Star State, and if you haven’t spent all your disposable income on new brakes, consider sending them a little sumpin’-sumpin’.

15 Responses to “Gimme a brake”

  1. JD Dallager Says:

    I have a college classmate who is the mayor of Rockport, TX. Please keep all those affected by Harvey in your thoughts/prayers/whatever. Gonna be some horrific stories and recovery challenges.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Yeah, Herself has kin in Coahoma, Big Spring, and Nacogdoches. Some of the readership here are Texicans, too. Fingers crossed for everyone in the stanky soup.

      By the way, how many of us here have old college pals who are mayors? One of mine is mayor of Santa Rosa, Calif. I briefly considered blackmail when he was running for election, but he let me couch-surf back in the day when I was hunting newspaper work, so I put the pix back in the safe.

    • Dale Says:

      It just seems to be getting worse for a lot of folks in central southeast Texas. I hope people don’t start slinging blame in place of doing the right thing first, which is making people safe.

      Blame slinging will come around soon enough – as in cover my ass – it was his (their) fault.

  2. Carl Duellman Says:

    i spent a lot of time in southeast texas as a kid. we sat through a tropical storm near high island playing uno and watching the water rise almost to the door of the house. those fire ants build these cool little rafts to float out the high water. i remember an alligator gar swimming between my aunt’s feet in the front yard of their house. although houston is probably better off now than new orleans was during katrina, it still probably sucks to be there. i hope there is someone more qualified than ‘brownie’ to help with the situation.

    as far as bb7’s go, mine make a horrible gargling noise. why not go with the spyres?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      There’s a raft of fire ants floating around on Twitter, Carl. Pretty cool bit of video. Resilient little buggers, the bugs. I hope they’re kind to our bicycles when we’re gone.

      Here’s more on the floating fire ants.

      I have BB7s on a couple-three bikes and they’ve worked OK for me, plus they’re a bit cheaper than the TRPs. I’m saving Spyres for a special occasion.

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      Carl, I agree on going with the Spyres or Spykes. My experience with the BB7 is like yours. Bean si would run when they saw me riding down the trail with BB7 brakes. They knew they couldn’t compete.

      Our nephew’s sister lives in League City. They had a foot of water in their house at this morning’s report. What a mess.

  3. Sharon Says:

    By shear coincidence, we had a biking trip to Salida, Colorado planned for months and arrived here Friday. So we have missed the type of flooding of which Noah would have been concerned. We feel guilty watching our friends and family send us horrible photos from back home, but none as bad as what Houston residents are facing. The water just has no where to go.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Sharon, you get that much water in one place, all at once, and it doesn’t matter if it has someplace to go. Even in Albuquerque, which has a pretty fine drainage setup to my untrained eye, the water backs up during heavy rain. Shit gets real, and real fast, too.

  4. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    Regarding AVID brakes – my LBS friends who work on ’em a lot say they left the O out of the name. I sat through a tech seminar from those folks awhile back and started thinking my friends were right. But I still think disky-braked road bikes are an answer to a question few have asked, even with Campagnolo now getting in the game. Bicycles should be simple and easy to work on – otherwise they’re damn motorcycles without the motor….I got outta that biz for a reason!

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      Check out the TRP Spyres Larry. Easy enough for an amateur like me to install, not like Avid disc brakes. And, the adjustment is with a barrel adjuster since the pads wear evenly due to the two moving caliper design. Pad replacement is easier, and they are quiet. And they work with standard levers like the Avid brakes do. I was an early adopter of Avid disc brakes when they were OEM on Cannondale mountain bikes. They only had one model then, the BBDB. Yep, ball bearing disc brake.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Larry is exactly right: “[D]isky-braked road bikes are an answer to a question few have asked. …” They make life more complicated, and who needs that? Not me, brother.

      But I had three other disc-brake bikes in the garage, and they were all BB7, so I decided to keep things as simple as the bike biz would let me.

      I’ve finally got enough Shimano pedals to outfit the fleet, too, though I think the old Time ATACs are superior. It’s just simpler to have one pedal system and one pair of shoes.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        I do not have a disc brake road bike, and I won’t trade it just to get disc brakes. Larry is right.
        Did you switch to all SPD pedals Patrick? What model did you pick?
        Just got the Niner from the shop with a new drivetrain. Went from 3×9 SRAM to 2×11 Shimano SLX. That 24×42 low gear will climb walls. And, no, I am not dyslexic.

      • larryatcycleitalia Says:

        While I hate to admit liking anything sold by the Big-S, SPD pedals make a lot of sense. We got some freebies back-in-the-day but it took me awhile to switch over to a MTB shoe on the road and ditch the slippery soled road shoes forever. It seems our favorite road pedal, their A520 is going the way of the dodo so I ordered up a few pairs for the future just last month.
        In the dirt with MTB shoes any of ’em, including the really cheap Wellgo versions seem to work just fine for me.
        Regarding shoes, you can read more here
        I hope to go to my cycling grave without ever owning any disky-braked or electronically-shifted bicycles. This last bit typed with one hand while the other shook a fist at the clouds, Abe Simpson style!

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Pat, I’m running A520s, A600s, M520s, M540s, and Deore XTs. And I’m gonna snatch me up some more A520s if they’re going away. That’s a very nice SPD pedal for people who like riding in shoes they can walk in.

        And congrats on the new drivetrain. You’ll be able to climb flagpoles with that low end.

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