Why You Should Leave Your Bicycle in the Rain

While Japanese bicycles still do use calliper brakes for the front wheel, most are equipped with disc brakes for the rear, even a regular ママチャリ (mama chari), which is a bicycle homemakers use to run errands with. It is an abbreviation of the term mama chariot.

When I had my bicycle caught in the rain back when I was still in Aichi, my disc brakes started squeaking each time I press on the brake handles. It was a little annoying for me for the very simple reason that it was noisy and that it was fairly new when it happened. So when I moved to Tokyo, having no way to bring my bicycle along, I decided to sell it and buy a new one after I arrive.

When I finally got a new bicycle, I took care not to let it get caught in the rain. Even though the apartment I stay in doesn’t provide a sheltered bicycle parking area, I figured that if I parked it nearer to the building, the brake wouldn’t get wet enough to turn squeaky. It went well for a couple of months until I left it in the open area one day on the night it rained. It then turned squeaky and I was resigned.

Some time later, however, I found a new life to the squeak. And this would be why exactly you should leave your bicycle in the rain. While bicycles are definitely equipped with a bell, it is usually impolite to ring it, what more in a society like Japan. I have never sounded the bell at anyone to give way but I’ve mostly still managed to get people noticing I’m coming from behind, thanks to the squeaky brakes. With it, I no longer have to cycle quietly behind people hoping they would notice my presence and open up a tiny path for me to pass. All I have to do is to hit the brakes for the squeak. The best part is, to those people, I was being nice pulling on the brakes to slow down.

The conclusion is, stop taking good care of your bicycle. Just leave it in the rain. It’ll serve you well.


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