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Tuesday, August 1, 2023

The Rusty Brake Cables Story

Someone (a bike mechanic) emailed me this story:

I was elbow-deep in a tune-up when a disheveled customer walked into the shop, looking like he had seen a ghost. I greeted him and asked how I could help.

He replied, "I had a gnarly accident on my bike yesterday. I was cruising down a steep hill when I went to apply my brakes, but they didn't work. I couldn't stop, and I crashed into a fence."

I couldn't help but raise an eyebrow and ask, "Did you forget to check your brakes?"

The customer looked sheepish and admitted, "I haven't had a tune-up in years. I guess I forgot to check my brake cables for rust."

I couldn't resist the opportunity to tease him and quipped, "Well, now you know what it feels like to be a human cannonball!"

After the initial shock wore off, I got to work inspecting the bike. Sure enough, the brake cables were rusted and needed to be replaced. I also noticed some other areas of the bike that needed attention and recommended a full tune-up.

The customer agreed, and I set to work repairing and tuning the bike. As I worked, I joked with the customer about his daredevil stunt and stressed the importance of regular maintenance and safety checks.

Finally, the bike was ready, and the customer took it for a spin around the shop. He returned with a grin on his face and exclaimed, "It feels like a brand new bike! Thanks for fixing it and for the laughs."

I gave him a wink and replied, "No problem. Just remember, if you're gonna be a human cannonball, you better make sure your brakes are in tip-top shape!"



So yeah. You can tell this story is completely fabricated. Nobody says "gnarly" any more. I see this anecdotal story as being a bit like a fable that is supposed to teach a lesson, and that is the true lesson of this story.

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About the Author

Charles Moffat is equal parts bicycle mechanic, cyclist, painter, sculptor, fantasy writer, poet, website designer and pun maker. For more details see



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