The All About Brakes Mechanics' Class

This past Thursday we learned all about brakes in mechanics’ class! After Ben led a stellar lecture we got a detailed analysis of sidepull brakes with Dave, cantilever brakes with Justin, v-brakes with Matt and disc brakes with Ben. Then we all got to hone our skills working on shop bikes.

Ben starts off class with a great lecture on brake systems.

Types of cable housing.

Dave going over sidepull brakes.

…more on sidepull brakes…

Sidepull brakes on different cycles…

Justin and Jack get into cantilever brakes.

Ian works on a set of cantilever brakes with Justin.

Ben…hydraulic disc brakes!

Explaining disc brakes for myself, Ian & Jack.

Close up on Ben’s disc brakes.

Matt hones in on v-brakes.

Matt and Ian talk v-brakes.

At the end of class we get a chance to work on bikes. Here Derek and Ian explore brakes further.

Molly repacks a hub.


Justin addresses the class.


Biking through the winter

Cycling through the winter can seem daunting! Northern Colorado brings more than its fair share of  icy roads, blizzards, blowing snow, freezing rain and more. Add to this that the sun goes down by 5pm every day and it’s easy to see how a lot of cyclists find it simpler to garage their bikes than brave the winter riding.
Riding in winter can be so much fun, though, and in Fort Collins I’ve found that often the bike paths are plowed before the roads are! Cycling in Northern Colorado can also be perfectly safe . . . as long as the proper precautions are taken.
Cycling safety in the winter is fairly common-sense: use front and rear lights (at least!) to ensure maximum visibility. Wear light colored and/or reflective clothing. Keep a sharp eye out for traffic and try to use bike paths as much as possible.
Running your tires at lower pressure can increase traction (but don’t go below the recommended minimum)! Maintain your bike after every ride to keep brake and shifting systems functioning smoothly, and make sure to dry and lube your chain after wet rides.
Safety is only part of the equation: staying warm and comfortable is important too, especially in maintaining safety. Our friends over at REI, who kindly helped sponsor our 10th Anniversary Party with a generous donation of cycling accessories, have a vast offering of comfortable, warming underclothes, pants, fleeces, sweaters, jackets, hats, gloves and specialty items, like balaclavas and scarves and neck gaiters, to help keep your ride as comfortable as possible.
Cycling throughout the winter can be fun and adventurous. As long as the proper precautions are taken, you can cycle all year round.

Tips For Cycling In Winter Time

Winter Biking
Well it looked like we might be in for an early thaw here in Northern Colorado, but despite the local groundhog’s best efforts, it looks like we’re in for a few more weeks of cold.  But ice and snow don’t have to mean your bike must stay tucked away in the garage.
Here are some helpful tips for first time winter bikers, and timely reminders for those who’ve been riding ice for years!
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