The novelty of frozen brakes
A disconcerting novelty happened to me a few weeks ago: my front brakes froze solid. As far as I can tell, I mean that literally; not just that they seized up, but that they seized up because they were frozen. As you might imagine, it was more than a bit disconcerting to squeeze the front brake lever and have it have no give at all, especially since the front brakes are the more powerful ones where you do most of your braking.
(This is not always the case for me, but that's another entry. Someday.)
My best theory on what happened is that in previous days some water had worked its way onto the brake cable and into the front cable housing (perhaps from spray thrown up by passing cars) and had not drained away. When I took the bike out in sub-zero temperatures with significant windchill, the water froze and locked the cable and the ferrule together. Exposing things to warmth and working the front brakes improved the situation by melting things a bit and breaking the binding action, although they were not entirely better.
Ah well, winter biking can be interesting. (If it was easy and painless, everyone would do it.)
Written on 31 December 2009.