Jan Heine photo bro
Once upon a time in a small nonprofit bike shop warehouse I refurbished 1,987 used bikes and stripped or recycled or hacksawed into cheater bars many thousands more. When I replaced the cables and housing on a bike I also replaced the straddle cables. When the inventory of straddle cables ran out I would use a brake cable. Just like I do on my own bikes. However I soon stopped cutting this corner on the job when the shop mechanics told me of customer complaints claiming they couldn’t get their wheels off because they couldn’t release their brakes because they couldn’t get a grip on the straddle cable because it was actually just a brake cable and had no place to grab on.
The other day after a day of riding in the rain I met my old lady for a couple beers and then she offered me a ride home. I said hell yes I’ll take a ride up the hill. I walked my bike over to the car and started to take off the front wheel so I could fit the thing in the hatchback over the kid seats but I couldn’t release the front brake. I couldn’t get the fucking straddle cable out. All I could hear was Steve Maluk’s voice saying “don’t do that” with Homer and Kellen in the background frowning and shaking their heads.
I ended up riding my bike home.
I plan to continue to use an old brake cable to straddle my cantilever brakes when I replace the cables on my own bikes. I recently replaced my brake pads on my daily commuter and the brakes are so tight right now even with the finest straddle cable in the world there’s not enough slack to release the calipers. But in a couple weeks there will be.