Monday, April 06, 2020

brake problems

I was in Mumbai, at my parents' place. Sitting astride Vicki, in Carly's usual parking spot. It was a bright sunny day. I did my usual check (brakes, lights). Everything seemed fine. I fired up her engine, and rode out on to the street. My brother was walking alongside, and I kept a slow pace with him (yes, that was one of the skills I had to demonstrate during my off-road manoeuvres test last August). We were discussing the list of groceries that needed to be purchased. And then, abruptly, he said, "let's go get them", and made as if to hop on.

I panicked and said "wait! don't hop on while the bike is moving! let me stop!", but it was too late. He hopped on nimbly, and the bike didn't so much as twitch! Reminded me of school days when he was so good at hopping on and off the bicycle (we had axle extensions that he would stand on) that I wouldn't know if he had hopped on or not. At that point, I realized neither of us were wearing a helmet. As I thought about which route would be least likely to have cops waiting around, I also thought to myself that two guys on a large motorcycle like Vicki would be rather conspicuous in these days of social distancing.

I made up my mind about which direction I wanted to go, and rounded a turn, when I came almost head to head with a speeding car (it was a white honda, I remember!) driving on the wrong side of the road!I slammed the brakes, and strangely enough, the front brakes didn't engage at all! The car swerved past me, and in that split second I figured the only plausible explanation was that this road had changed to a one-way during these months (years!) I've been away. I gingerly took a U turn, feathering the rear brake (another skill I had to demonstrate during the off-road manoeuvres test), hoping nobody noticed I was riding the wrong way. As I took the turn, I noticed a long queue of people waiting for a bus at the stop. The bus got around the corner, exactly the way I had ridden seconds ago, just as I was getting to it. The corner was a really tight one, and I had to brake again as the bus did not leave enough room to pass. Another hair-raising stop, thanks to the front brakes not working.

Made it around the corner, and Kevin got off - I decided to not take any more chances and ride the 100 metres or so home by myself. Tested the brakes now, and they worked perfectly, just as they did when starting off.

Got home, parked, and checked if there were bubbles visible in the brake oil reservoir. None.

That's when I kinda woke up. Heart still pounding from the dream.

The dream continued - I checked the CBS system by pushing one of the pistons of the front brake in, and then pressing the rear brake to check if it activated. It did. Really strange.

That's when I was conscious of the sun falling on my face, and woke up.

Checked my watch, it was two hours earlier than usual.

Tried to go back to sleep, but my pounding heart wasn't letting me.

As I got out of bed, I remembered Vicki does not even have CBS.

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