Alex Chiri's Blog

Make sure your breaks are well calibrated

At the beginning of this year, I got a new hybrid bike (combo between speed and city bike). Without making any customizations other than adjusting my seat, I started riding it around the city, either to do the shopping or go to work in the center of Stockholm, and back home. Several months later, I had a small accident on my way home through the busy city center. No-one was hurt, except (my pride and) my front brake plate, which was bent from the impact with the bike in front.

It was my fault mostly, I got distracted (which doesn't happen often) and also the flow of bicycles stopped abruptly because someone decided to not run a red light (wise choice!) like some of the people in front of them. So I didn't hit the brakes in time and the accident happen. The man in front of me (whom I hit) called me an idiot without even turning to me and started cykling further.

At this point, you might start wondering where am I going with this story. Fair point. Let me explain.

Now being close to the end of some of the financial years and before Black Friday and Christmas there is a rush 🚀 to do more, finish more, achieve more. I am sure you all feel it. At the same time, there's less sun light 🌃 here in the northern hemisphere of the globe, depression is on the rise, physical health issues (hello, winter viruses) are on the rise, maybe speeding up in our professional life is not the wisest thing to do right now.

But if we do, we should make sure we have mechanisms in place to keep us safe from going too fast 🚤, too far.

Going back to my bycicle story. When I was installing my new brakes, I learned also how to calibrate them to be snappier, to be a bit tighter, so I can hit the brakes faster and with bigger impact. I realized this way that previously my brakes were calibrated in such a way that it took quite a long time and effort to stop at higher speed. Which is great for beginners when you are taking it easy, but not so great when you increase the speed and you need to react faster. (It was still my fault for the accident, with or without snappy brakes)

In the same way in our real lives, if we don't setup ways to keep us from over-working, especially when the world might not be the happiest place, we might reach places it will take a lot of effort to get back from. Usually, our body is pretty good at letting us know when we are pushing it too far, but in those moments, we should not ignore the issues and pump some pills just to get us to the next milestone. We should also hit the brakes. And when we do, those brakes should be well calibrated.

P.S. Some other months later, I was riding to work in the morning and some tourists were riding some rented bikes recklessly. But this time, I saw them and was able to break switfly, just in time.