Some of you may remember that I went out in the snow on the 27th december. That was the day I broke my chain, and then found out that the salt and slush with the cold weather meant that the brakes were not too efficient. Thats the trouble with having two bikes to ride, as I don't ride the solo very often nowadays. A couple of hours before the new years day ride- I put a new chain on the solo. Now some of you may not realise that a new chain on worn cassettes is not the best thing to do. The new unrun chain, with no play in it, rides over the worn Casssette sprockets so you have a slipping chain. I thought that my cassette was in good condition but I was having chain slip on the 11 and 13 t cogs. Just goes to show which cogs are the ones I use most I suppose. In extreme cases, if you have worn front rings worn, it can also cause chain suck, where the chain gets held onto the sprockets and just goes round and jams up the crankset. Did not have that but it can happen
Luckily- If you have enough foresight to do it before hand- there is a remedy. That is to have a worn in chain always to hand in the garage. I normally do but could not find it- probably its in the same place as the spare tubes I keep buying and put in a safe place somewhere in the garage. Then on the other hand- the remedy once you have put on a new chain and it slips, and cant find the run in one, is to fit a new cassette. So that simple job of fitting a £20 chain has now gone up in price with the addition of a £40 cassette.
Now onto the brakes- I use V brakes and the same applies to cantilevers or whatever you have that uses brake blocks. Once they are contaminated, the best thing to do is to change them- However- unless it is oil contamination, it is possible to clean the surface with a bit of a scrub with a file or Emery paper. then clean the wheels with soapy water, and finally use a methanol or alcohol based cleaner to finally clean the blocks and wheels. I did not do this- well it was a week since I rode the thing- and it did make for a slow ride dodging the walkers- dogs- kids and other things left on the trail with ineffective brakes.
I know bikes are going to be worn out with use, and I normally prepare for it, but the joys of christmas and the bottle of cognac I traditionally get bought at this time of year- nearly ruined a good ride.