When commuting to work, I ride a single-speed, single-brake, slick-tired mountain bike named Ginger. She gets me through the West Bottoms with nary a snag. (My road bike, Amelia, can barely make it to the West Bottoms with seeing a flat tire).
So Friday after work, I’m cycling home, heading north on Delaware, right after it splits from Main, just over I-70, coming down the hill into City Market when my right trigger finger gets into position to brake for the stoplight at Independence Avenue. One gentle squeeze, I’m ready for a yellow light. Another gentle squeeze, to keep my speed down – SNAP! – my brake line is gone though my trigger finger instinctively squeezes again and again to confirm pure breakage.
Act. My right foot down on the ground, hard plastic-shoe sole eaten alive by pavement. Lift. My left foot down. I’m not going to be able to stop for the intersection – come what colored light may. Quick right down, left down, can I jump off the bike if need be? Is there anyone behind me? What’s coming westbound on Independence Avenue? Anything? Can’t see…fuck it…yellow light!
And I’m through. Off the bike and onto the sidewalk. On the phone to the wife: “Sarah, my brake broke and not in the way you want your brake to break. I’m in City Market. Come in the back way. There’s a show going on tonight.”
Are there really that many people that still listen to Taking Back Sunday, The Used, or The Offspring? I’m glad none of them happened to blow through that intersection about 4:45 Friday PM.