Wet Weather Braking (or not)
One of the things about living on the East side of the country is that we’re in the rain shadow of the Pennines. Over the other side is the Lake District - lots of lakes made by lots of rain filling up the valleys. But over here, it hardly ever rains.
When it does, however, you need to pay attention when you’re riding. I’ve fallen off five times in the last five years, and two of those have been due to trying to corner too fast on wet roads. So now when it rains, I ride like I’m walking on eggshells, on tip-toes, wearing ballet pumps.
There’s another problem of course - brakes can behave very oddly when they get wet. Our tandem, Daisy, has her original steel-rimmed wheel on the front. When you try to brake in the wet, I swear that the bike actually speeds up .
Modern alloy rims tend to perform better - especially if they have a machined surface, but even they suffer from poor wet weather performance. Typically the stopping distance is at least doubled. Scotland’s Magnatom demonstrates this as part of his on-going record of life as a cyclist on Britain’s roads:
Hub brakes (like those on Siegfried and Daisy’s rear wheel) don’t suffer from this problem. True, they’re not as effective as rim brakes in the dry, but they perform just as well in a downpour, so you don’t need to adjust your riding to compensate.
As for disk brakes? I’ve no experience of them! I’m probably prejudiced against them in fact - I look at them on bikes, and think to myself, "Don’t know how they work", and so shy away . . . If you have experience of disk brakes in the wet though, please do let us know how they perform. Just leave a comment: