Bart Busschaert is a retired semi-professional racer who moved from Belgium to NYC a few months ago. Since them he has opened an innovative mechanical services company called the Bike Doctor NYC. His site allows you to schedule the good doctors time, and he will even pick and drop off your bike, or do your work at your house so you can learn from him. Dont forget to pepper him with questions about racing the pros while he is there, he has some amusing stories.
Bart still manages to get on his bike a few days a week and rip the legs off unsuspecting lunch time cyclist who might just assume they can hold his wheel, or thats what this guy I know told me happened to him. This is Bart’s first submission to the site, he will try and answer any follow up questions you have. You can also find him on Facebook where he frequently communicates with his clients.
Don’t let your brake pads rub on your rims
A part of the bike that is often neglected or overlooked is the brake cable. Most of us know that the brake is a crucial device to prevent us from crashing but only few realize that it can also have a tremendous impact on your performance as a competitive cyclist.
Any friction in the brake cable may cause the brake to prevent to return properly to the ‘neutral’ position. The decreased distance between the brake shoes and the rim increases the chance of friction while riding. When riding at a steady pace you probably won’t notice much, but sometimes – and that’s why it is especially important for racers – the wheel tends to slightly move sidewards as a you will put your wheel in danger of rubbing u the brake shoe. This is especially true when you are in a break away, in a sprint or when you are riding on bad roads.
There are several reasons the smooth movement of a cable can be inhibited. The most important ones are dirt and a lack of lubricant, but also corrosion or of the inner cable and/or outer casing.
So what can we do about it?
1. Always check your brakes before you go out of the door! This is basically a matter of safety, but it also helps detecting problems in an early phase.
2. Inspect the cable for cracks or cuts after a crash or any other potentially harmfull event (e.g. transport,…).
3. Include the cables in your ‘maintenance schedule’ or ask your mechanic for it. Keeping the cables clean and regularly lubing the outer casing helps preventing sluggish movement or even seizure.
- Replace the cable is it is broken, frained, getting stiff or whenever you notice visible damage on the cable or outer casing.
- We would generally recommend to replace the cables at least once a year.
Tip: If you want to spend a little more to help reducing some of the maintenance described in this article, you may consider installing a coated cable set. This type of cables has it’s own coating and needs no lubricating.
Enjoy your rides !
Bike Doctor NYC