New brakes, new year

Happy 80th birthday, Joe McDonald! I wasn’t going to write a new year post, but this seems a fitting question to start the year.

It was time to change to the studded tires for winter. The day I would have spent doing that, I was working on my daughter’s bike. Its needs were more pressing. Ice arrived this week. Since the wheels were coming off anyway, I checked the brakes. The front disc pads were worn so I put on a fresh set. There was no space between the pads. I lubed the hydraulic pistons and reseated them. There was barely space for a putty knife, much less the brake rotor.

I decided to sand the pads to try to make space. Hand sanding had no effect. I wore the first pad on the power sander smooth with no effect so I switched to a coarser grit. I could almost mount the wheel. I moved on to a mill bastard file and could mount the wheel but not turn it. The angle grinder finally removed enough material for the brakes to work. The space was still minimal, but I was tired of futzing. A test ride was in order.

I started out thinking I might ride around the lake. I realized it was 56 years ago today that I started my first every day job. 358 days later I had my first day off. To commemorate the day, I rode to my childhood home, then to the start of my paper route. I rode the route, surprised by how much quicker it was without having to deliver 100+ papers along the way. I found one of the streets had been renamed. To come home I completed the circumnavigation of the lake. The shallow bays are frozen. Tundra swans swim in the open water. While I had filled my bottle with warm water, it was frozen before I got home.

I’ve replaced pads on these brakes a few times. This was the first time that the pads were the same brand as the brakes. I don’t think I’ll make that mistake again.

By the way, I did celebrate the new year with a glass of champagne at midnight – GMT.