After changing my brake pads a month ago on my ‘grocery getter’, my front brakes started to feel a bit gummy (The brake cable wouldn’t retract as nice as it used to). So for my 2nd Let’s Go Ride a Bike Summer Games challenge I decided to tighten up my brake cable.
The frame on the ‘grocery getter’ is actually a road bike frame, but instead of drop handle bars I have upright ones and a basket. It’s my sleeper bike because, it looks quite unassuming and heavy but in fact it’s pretty fast!
… but back to the task at hand. Adjusting your brake cable is quite easy. If you have a sidepull caliper brake like me, all you need is a 5mm allen key to loosen the bolt that holds the brake cable in place, hold your brake pads at a distance that you like with one hand, pull the cable through a bit and tighten it back up.
What would have made this even easier was if I had a handy-dandy 3rd hand tool (which apparently they don’t make anymore because of the 4th hand tools on the market?), but I made do.
A small adjustment made such a big difference!
Then since I had my bike out and it was such a nice day, I decided to pull my rear wheel back a bit to tighten up my chain (it’s a single-speed, but not fixed) and give the chain a quick clean up and some lube. I didn’t even break out the degreaser. I simply took an old rag and cleaned off the grime and then lubed up.
Don’t mind the rust! I rode this bike through the winter and rust started to form, but you’ll notice there is none on my chain or cog.
The past couple of months there has been a tonne of Toronto city hall drama thanks to our new Mayor. When the Mayor’s Bike Plan was presented to council for approval it divided the city into 2 groups: pro-bike or pro-car. Sadly, during the Bike Plan decision making process bike lanes in the downtown core were on the chopping block and 2 bike lanes were motioned to be removed this summer in an east-side neighbourhood. During this time cyclists of all types mobilized and tried get council to vote to keep the bike lanes. None of them survived.
The Mayor’s Bike Plan calls for separated bike lanes to be installed, but when you read the fine print the lanes aren’t guaranteed. The Plan only calls for studies to start on the installation of them. So basically, we probably won’t be seeing separated bike lanes in Toronto anytime soon.
During this time, I did my part to try to save the bike lanes. I called and left a message with the Mayor, I went to my councillor’s open office hours and chatted with her Constituency Assistant and also Executive Assistant. I also participated in a group ride to protest against the demise of the downtown lanes.
So for my 3rd challenge, I thought I’d try to look at the positive side of all these bleak bike decisions that were voted on and write a thank you letter to my councillor for her vote to keep the downtown bike lane. Here it is:
Dear Councillor Bailão,
With everything that has been going on at City Hall, I just wanted to send you a quick note to thank you for voting to try to keep the Jarvis bike lanes and also to support Councillor Wong-Tam’s motion to wait for a study to be completed before the removal of the lanes.
Despite the outcome, I appreciate your support of downtown cyclists and look forward to seeing the extension of the West Toronto Railpath coming to fruition. If there is anything I can do to help expedite the start of construction for the second phase of the Railpath, please let me know!
Ward 18 resident,