Having the words ‘Guaranteed World Finest Bicycle Precision Mechanism’ emblazoned proudly on the down tube of my Bridgestone town bike doesn’t mean the brakes work in the rain. The combination of crap side pull brakes, old pads and (the major factor) steel rims means that no amount of brake pumping will work once the rims are wet. It’s bad enough that I recently had to jump off the bike on a gentle downhill and run along it to stop.
I got a set of the pads shown above after learning about the magic of the leather insert. Of course, my LBS didn’t have these since nobody has needed them since the 70’s. When I placed the order, I imagined some British pensioner getting an urgent call: ‘Nigel – can you make 2 more sets of leather brake pads? We have an order on Amazon and they need to go out tomorrow before tea’. Surprisingly, they arrived in just a couple days. We had a bit of drizzle the other day and I got to test them out – not epic rain, but enough to confirm that braking is better. It’s nice to know that this old bike will work for me a bit longer.