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colleen
01-08-2015, 07:59 AM
Yesterday I decided to bike to the metro since I wasn't ready to tackle the MVT with all the snow and ice on the ground. Something happened I had never experienced before: about half a mile in, my rear brake got stuck in the shut position, like it was frozen. The brake lever just went loose, like it wasn't connected anymore. So, I forced it the rest of the way to the metro, but the same problem on the way home last night. Plus, the handlebars could barely turn. I'm thinking this is a problem with freezing lube. Does anyone have suggestions or recommendations for cold weather bike lube? Any cold weather bike care recommendations in general would be great. I'm really missing those balmy 35 degree days we had throughout December and the first days of January. I want to get back into commuting all the way to work, to help out my Freezing Saddles team (whoever they may be!)!

worktheweb
01-08-2015, 08:25 AM
I had a similar problem with my front derailleur on Tuesday, what happened was the cables froze into place where they route under the bottom bracket. Even with fenders, I still get some spray from the front wheel down there. When I got home I brought the bike in to let the ice melt and then gave that area a healthy hit of WD-40 to displace the water and make it less likely to return. Worked for yesterday's ride.

chris_s
01-08-2015, 08:32 AM
Let me also add - if you get a bunch of snow all stuck up inside your fenders, and being a lazy person you leave it there and store your bike outside in the polar vortex...it will turn to solid ice and your tires won't turn at all.

Don't be me. Don't do that.

jabberwocky
01-08-2015, 08:49 AM
Its probably contamination in the cables. Water seeps into the housing over time, and when its super cold, it freezes and prevents the cable from moving. Squeezing the brake lever is doable because your hand is exerting a lot of force, but the return spring on the brake isn't strong enough to open it back up afterward. Solution is new cable and housing.

Handlebars are likely the lube or contamination in the headset bearings. Solution is to clean them and lube with a thinner grease for the winter.

Crickey7
01-08-2015, 08:57 AM
If your cables are nekkid down there, you can have the next set installed with housings that go around the bottom bracket and part of the way up the tubes. It won't prevent contamination, but it will reduce it and ensure your cables don't get caught in a block of ice.

Steve O
01-08-2015, 09:45 AM
Its probably contamination in the cables. Water seeps into the housing over time, and when its super cold, it freezes and prevents the cable from moving. Squeezing the brake lever is doable because your hand is exerting a lot of force, but the return spring on the brake isn't strong enough to open it back up afterward.

This happens to me with my rear derailleur sometimes (including this morning). I live up a hill, so my bike is in a low gear when I get on in the morning. The spring wouldn't pull the frozen cable through, so I couldn't shift into a higher gear (maybe good for spin class, but not good for actually going somewhere).
For a temporary fix, you can manually pull the brake open or pull on the cable. Then work it open/shut a few times to see if it will loosen enough to get you where you need to go. With my derailleur I only need to pull it through once to get it working usually.