The middle of this week really turned blue, in more ways that one. It felt cold on Tue night and when looking out the window on Wed morning there was a hard frost on the ground and cars. “Ha! No need to scrape the car”, I thought to myself. Weetabix was finished so I subbed in some Shreddies for a quick breakfast.

With 2 base layers and my best winter gloves on, I headed out feeling smug as I cruised past the neighbour who was warming the car up and scraping the windows clear. After a few miles it became apparent that it was actually really, really, really cold! My Garmin cycle computer read -4.5C and my ears were feeling the icy chill (why did I not put the balaclava on?). I had to keep wiggling my fingers to warm them up. This had limited success…

After about 3 or 4 miles I was coasting towards some traffic lights and went to pull my rear brake. IT WAS FROZEN SOLID!!!

Now this had happened to me 3 or 4 times last winter, but there is still a panicky sensation when you realize that you might not be able to stop before that Transit that’s stopped at the lights. I’m sure by this point my neighbour was sitting nice and warm on his heated seat with the radiator blasting out hot air. Anyway, after pulling the front brake it was thankfully fine. I carried on a bit more cautiously and made it to work, with many tugs on the brake lever to check it was still OK. At least it took my mind off feeling cold.

Beautiful Blue

When it came to the return journey, the mercury had thankfully crossed 0 and the bike had 2 working brakes again. It was another lovely ride home, with little wind and a crisp freshness to the air. Continuing the blue theme I stopped at Gogar for the above shot. All the drivists must have thought I was a bit mad while they saw me framing this as they were clogging up the roundabout. I knew that they were the crazy ones though: what better way to finish the working day? Fresh air, exercise and clear the head.

Anyway, I now have 2 things to sort out on the bike this weekend. Chain/cassette and new brake cable. I think the cable must have some moisture in it which expands and seizes the brake when it freezes. Change it and then see what happens the next time we have a cold snap like this…

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Comments (2)

  1. Andy Fraser


    Liking the new Blog and the bike looks great.
    When replacing the brake inner – after removing the old inner cable, flush out the outer cable with WD40 or GT85 or similar. That will get rid of any water in the outer. Then before you insert the new inner cable pour some thicker oil (type you use on the chain – finish line or muc-off) into the outer cable. This will help keep the cable lubricated and stop it freezing in the outer. Also using good cable end ferrules (ones that have seals on them) will help reduce water getting into the outer cable – might not be essential if you have one long outer cable that runs from the brake lever all the way to the rear brake caliper. If you have cable stops on the frame then you have more points where water can enter the outer – more common on older bikes.
    Happy commuting!

    • CycleCommute.CC


      Great info Andy, thanks. I always run a bit of oil down the cable when inserting a new one but have never replaced the outers on this bike. Guessing it’s about time to do that now.

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