A Story of Squeaky Brakes

…or “How I met Michael Dukakis”

Do you ever get jealous of car horns? Do you ever just want to make some loud noise that says “Watch out!” or “Get out of my way” or “You fucker, stop texting and look before you cross the street!” I do.

But I try to make do with a chirpy little bell. I’m not a yeller. I won’t ever say “On your left!” or “$@#% you $##%ing @$$hole!” I’m the quiet doe-eyed type that can only muster a very cross look while ringing my sprightly bell “ding ding ding ding ding!” I dream of someday being able to offer something more emphatic to the noise of the streets.

Well that dream was answered in the form of frikkin’ annoying squeaky front brakes. At first I was embarrassed because I couldn’t get to fixing them right away. But that was until I biked around one of the many local universities that, while fostering knowledge, seems to also cultivate stupid pedestrians in large groups.

They’ll stand on the curb waiting for all the cars to pass and step out directly in front of a bike flying along at pretty much the same speed of the cars.  Well bikes exist as much as cars and are also subject to the laws of physics. This is not to say I don’t stop for pedestrians, I do whenever possible. Meaning, when my “vehicle” can safely come to a stop. But I discovered that in tricky surprise pedestrian moments squeaky brakes can be an asset. When I saw someone stepping directly in front of me at the last minute:



I laid on that front brake…



And they jumped back in realization that I was braking hard and hoping to avoid hitting them.

However, I also learned a squeaky brake squeals at every stop and will scare people unintentionally. Such as when you’re stopping at a red light just as a gray haired pedestrian is crossing. SQUEEEEEAAAAAAK! And as he leaps back and turns to see what’s about to hit him, you see it is Michael Dukakis looking at you with terror in his eyes.

However, not being trapped in a car-shaped-box, you can laugh and say “Uh, sorry, Governor, didn’t mean to startle you.“ and when he still looks nervous as he crosses the street you can shout “Hey, I love Greek food!” which undoubtedly clears up any remaining tension of the situation.

After that I opted to do a little brake maintenance to save everyone’s ears some pain.

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12 Comments on "A Story of Squeaky Brakes"

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Love your posts. You rock.


My brakes start to squeak when I bike in the rain, and I love the car horn effect!! Particularly because the loud, alarming noise is “not my fault.”


Get yourself an AirZound. Perfect for clueless pedestrians and especially oblivious joggers with headphones, works pretty well for cars too


Enjoyed catching up on your posts. Keep it up!


Fantastic illustrations.
And yes, I’ve purposely put off brake fixing just to use the sound to alert pedestrians 🙂